Activities and Assessments in Brightspace

Adding activities and assessments to enhance your students' learning experiences in Brightspace. The following section provides guides on how to build activities and assessments into your Brightspace environment. 

Well-designed activities and assessments provide instructors with information about student learning, allowing us to see what students have learned, how well they have learned it and where they struggled. Brightspace offers a wide variety of tools for assessing student learning. For example, if you teach a STEM course, Brightspace includes an equation builder tool, reducing the need for an external program and ensuring the equations are accessible. Using the Class Progress tool, you can verify whether your students are keeping up with the material. You can also create learning paths in your course which personalize and optimize the students' learning experience, ultimately improving their engagement and satisfaction.

On this page:

Accessibility Considerations for Activities and Assessments

As you begin creating activities and assessments in Brightspace, keep in mind that these items must maintain accessibility and inclusion requirements. To learn more about how this can be accomplished, please refer to the SUNY OSCQR Content & Activities and Assessment & Feedback Standards. 

Choosing an Activity

Building activities is another key part of the online component of your course. To engage students as active learners, you can use the Discussion and Quizzes tools in Brightspace. Discussion boards can be used as pre-class activities, a place to ask questions and solicit help from peers or for post-class activities to keep the conversation going.

When creating activities and assessments in Brightspace, add the pertinent dates and times to each item to link them to the course schedule. This step further organizes your course and helps students monitor important deadlines.

Which activity is right for you?

Assessments can be used diagnostically (what do the students already know?), formatively (for learning) and summatively (of learning). Brightspace has options that allow you to customize the settings for your assessments, enabling you to find solutions that work for your circumstances. Respondus LockDown Browser and Monitor will remain available for instances when exam security is paramount.

Diagnostic Assessments

Diagnostic assessments use multiple measures and reports to identify student strengths and needs in skill-specific areas that directly guide academic, curricular and instructional decisions. These are generally conducted before a class topic to assess a student’s prior knowledge and experiences to actively make meaning of new experiences by building upon past experiences. Examples of diagnostic assessments include:

  • pre-class discussions
  • journals
  • quizzes
  • surveys
  • mind maps

Formative Assessments

Formative assessments identify misconceptions, struggles and learning gaps throughout the class and can help determine how to remedy them. Examples of formative assessments include:

  • in-class and post-class discussions
  • clicker questions
  • low-stakes group work
  • tests
  • quizzes
  • homework assignments

Summative Assessments

Summative assessments evaluate student learning, knowledge, proficiency or success at the conclusion of an instructional period. These assessments are formally graded and heavily weighted. Examples of summative assessments include:

  • instructor created exams (end of chapter; end of unit; midterm exams; final exams)
  • final projects
  • final essays
  • final presentations
  • cumulative portfolios
  • final project reports

Assignments, Quizzes and Discussion Forums

Availability Restrictions

​Instructors can set date restrictions for deadlines and availability on modules or topics in Content to indicate when students can access materials or when assignments are due. Items can also be hidden so they are present in the course but not accessible to students until instructors enable students to view them. 

Additional Activity and Assessment Resources