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Instructional Technology Spotlight – Assignments in Brightspace

Posted by on Tuesday, January 30, 2024 in Features, Spotlight.

This time of year many instructors are sitting up Assignments in Brightspace for a variety of uses. While many people know the basics of what you can do with Assignments, there are important options that some instructors may not know about. Below are some resources that we think would be helpful for those instructors looking to get the most out of Assignments in Brightspace.

  • While most Assignments are designed for students to upload and submit files, that isn’t actually the only submission type available. Other options like Text submission or On-paper submission allow students to be evaluated in other ways while still giving instructors the ability to give personalized feedback and grades via Brightspace. To learn more about these options, review this part of our guide on Creating Assignments.
  • The majority of Assignments in Brightspace are designed to provide a grade for student work. In order for those scores to appear in the Brightspace gradebook, Instructors have to link their Assignments to a Grade Item. If you aren’t sure how to do that, or just need a refresher on the options available, check out our guide on” Linking your Assignment to the Gradebook.”
  • Do you ever have a situation where a student needs an extension on an Assignment, or maybe you are teaching two sections of the same course and what to give each their own due date? Using the Special Access feature in Brightspace, Instructors can accommodate individual students (or groups of students) with specific start, due, and end dates. Take a look at our guide on Providing Alternate dates to an Assignment to see how to set this up in your course.
  • Are you using Turnitin to check for similarities between your students’ writings and other sources? Be sure to review our guide on “How to use the similarity report tools on Turnitin” to make sure that you are using Turnitin’s resources the best way possible.
  • Lastly, did you know you can easily email all students who have not submitted a specific assignment? This option, available on the Assignment Submissions page, is a helpful way to keep students engaged and reminder about upcoming deadlines. Click here to view our guide on “Contacting students who have not submitted an assignment.”


The options and guides linked above are only a few of the resources we have available on Assignments and other tools in Brightspace. For more resources, be sure to check out our On-Demand Resources for Instructors online. If you have any questions about these resources, or have other questions about Instructional Technology, be sure to reach out to the Vanderbilt Brightspace and Instructional Technology Support team


  • Bridget Rogers

    February 7th, 2024

    What would be REALLY helpful is if I could assign different due dates/accessibility based on section enrollment. Yes, I can sort by section, select all the students in that section, and assign the accessibility criteria. By the end I have 150 students listed, alphabetized by their first name (why?), with their individual access criteria. It would so much easier to create and check if all that was listed would be the 14 sections and their accessibility criteria. Errors would be so much easier to spot and correct!

  • Michael Coley

    February 7th, 2024


    This is actually something you can do through the special access tool within Assignments. We have a guide here that outlines how to do that, but the key part is an additional step at the very end. When you get to the list of students, you can click where it says “View By” and change that from User to Sections. That will then give you the ability to select your desired section, select all students, and then add whatever specific dates/times you want for that section. If you run into any issues with this, or have any further questions about this, please reach out to our support team for more help. We’re glad to be of assistance if we can.

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