D2L Brightspace: Semester Startup Checklist


This knowledge base article starts after the Course Copy Request has been completed in which content has been copied from a previous course. Now what? What should I be concerned with about semester start up and getting my D2L Brightspace course ready for the semester?


Utilize Ally to find ways to improve your course's accessibility.

  • Are the course videos captioned and/or transcribed? If you need YouTube or MediaSpace videos captioned, request the service and we can help you get those in place.  

  • Are images used within the course properly described and Alternative Text in place? Need help understanding what Alt Text is, try WebAIM’s article on Alternative Text

  • Are the pdf files within the course accessible? i.e. are the pdf displaying OCR (Optical Character Recognized) text or are they displaying an image. An image will not work with most assistive technologies used for screen reading.  

  • Are your documents well-formed using headings?  

  • Are your tables accessible? 

Course Dates 

  • Confirm course start and end dates and times.

    • By default, courses will open on the first day of the semester.

    • If teaching a first half-term course, instructors should check end dates and make sure it is accurate. It is may be recommended to push out the end date a week or two.

    • For full term and second half-term courses, toward the end of the semester, the closing dates will be changed for all courses to be the 31st day of the final month of the semester.(I.e. Spring course sites will close to student consumption on May 31; Summer, August 31; and Fall, December 31.)

Course dates can be adjusted by going to the course, accessing Course Admin and then Course Offering Information. Adjust the Start Date or End Date as needed.

University Dates 

  • Ensure course dates have been offset for known holidays and breaks (e.g. spring break and thanksgiving break) and make sure to make adjustments that may be available on the university's academic calendar

D2L Brightspace Tool Dates 

  • Check and update all primary dates: announcements, discussion boards, quizzes, and assignment folders. 


  • Add a welcome message to your course homepage. 

  • Announcements are a great way to welcome your learners. Post a picture, record a video note or leave an audio clip to engage your participants. Consider adding replace strings to personalize your welcome message.   
  • Make sure to properly clear your old announcements. Do not just dismiss announcements. And there is a huge difference. See Clear Announcements knowledgebase article for more information on the difference. 


  • Update your syllabus and schedule for the upcoming semester. If we have converted your documents to HTML, use the Edit HTML feature inside D2L to edit the content. If you are using Word Document or PDF, you will have to edit your documents outside of D2L. 

  • Make sure everything is working within your course (e.g. links to websites). You are responsible for going through your course to ensure the links work.  

  • If you are using third-party integrations, make sure all third-party integrations are working.

  • Are the technology requirements for the course noted in your Syllabus? Have they been noted in the academic course schedule so students, upon registration, understand the needs of technology? 

Check in with your Library Liaison

  • Contact your library liaison if you need help linking to or embedding library resources, including ebooks, ejournal articles, and streaming videos.

  • If you upload book chapters, article PDFs, or other resources to your course site, consider reaching out to your library liaison to discuss copyright compliance.

  • Contact your library liaison to see if any of the resources you ask your students to purchase are available in the library's electronic collections.

Group Setup 

  • Enroll students in any groups that are needing manual enrollments. 


  • Ensure consistency in naming conventions, especially between the course schedule, tool, and gradebook. E.g. What is called Reflection Paper in the course schedule should be the assignment submission folder name which should also be the grade item name. 

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Article ID: 99594
Mon 3/2/20 5:21 AM
Fri 1/12/24 2:32 PM

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