Madison Hopkins and Arianna Caruso use brightspace in the dinning hall to get homework done between classes. (Photo Credit: Ryan Barrett)

Brightspace is the new interface that students and faculty use for all online documents and assignments. It officially launched this fall for most of the student body, but had some trial groups last spring.

Before SNHU was taken over by Brightspace, students and faculty used a platform called Blackboard, which is what they used to keep track of assignments. Since the university has transitioned from one interface to another, there have been multiple views and takes on how everyone likes Brightspace so far and what may need some improvement for the future.

The class of freshman that started this fall had not been introduced to Brightspace until the start of the semester.

“[Brightspace] is very user friendly,” said Kyle Eno (’22). Though the freshman may find this easy to use, the other students have another story.

Lindsay Harper (’21) said, “It was not hard to transition to. I feel like it is easy to use, but it is not easy to navigate. You can’t find the syllabus. Then once you find it you are like, ‘Oh, that’s not bad,’ but [professors] can put assignments in the table of contents or under content modules so it can be a little confusing.”

For both new and returning students, trying to navigate Brightspace without any training or assistance before the start of the semester seemed like a bit of a jump. “There should have been some type of training,” Harper said. “Even if there was a little online video… like a YouTube video or something… that could be helpful.”

Professors have shared some of the same struggles that students have had. There have been many cases where they have had issues with Brightspace. Dr. David Swain, a professor and the chair in the English department said, “I have an analogy. If I assigned every student to do a blog, I could tell everybody that they were going to use Google Blogger which is wicked easy to use. Brightspace is a little bit like telling students everybody is going to be using WordPress, which is powerful, but has a steep learning curve.”

Brightspace will take a while to get used to. Since the university was so used to using Blackboard and not Brightspace, the transition was a bit rocky. Dr. Marlyn Tadros, an associate professor for the school of arts and sciences said, “We, as professors, did get training on Brightspace, and there were multiple opportunities for people to attend – which made it quite easy.”

This training should have given professors everything they need to use Brightspace, but there still have been many issues that need to be figured out. Some professors still need to learn how to use the website, but nothing a little time won’t be able to fix.

Since the start of the semester, both students and professors have had issues with Brightspace. There is help around campus for those who still need some guidance. Tadros said, “The support for Brightspace is now very accessible because, as you saw, it is in Robert Frost, and the people there are just awesome and helpful.”

Guidance is available for anyone who needs it.Whether you want help from a peer or even from IT help in the library, there are many places to go. Though Brightspace may not be everyone’s favorite platform, it is something that we all need to get used to. Swain said, “There are teething pains, but we will get there.”

(Image Credit: Hannah Cohen)

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