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?

Course Dates 

  • Confirm course start and end dates and times. By default, courses will open on the first day of the semester. Toward the end of the semester, closing dates will be changed for all courses to be the 31st day of the final month of the semester. (I.e. Spring courses will close May 31; Summer, August 31; and Fall, December 31.) 

University Dates 

D2L Brightspace Tool Dates 

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


  • 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? 


  • 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? 

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. 


Article ID: 99594
Mon 3/2/20 5:21 AM
Wed 12/29/21 8:17 AM

Related Articles (3)

FACULTY: Step by step instructions on how to copy course content from one D2L Brightspace course to another.
This article is for faculty. It explains what to do to set up Respondus LockDown Browser and Monitor in a course in D2L Brightspace following a course copy.
This article is for faculty. It explains how to set up VoiceThread links following a course copy in D2L Brightspace.