Acceptable Use Policy
Most Brightspace courses are associated with credit-bearing courses that exist in YES. However, there are occasions for students, staff, and faculty to use Brightspace other than a typical credit-bearing course. These are called Non-SIS courses and are accessible to anyone on campus with a VUNetID. If you would like your own Non-SIS Brightspace course, this page details all the acceptable scenarios. If your Brightspace course fits one of these descriptions, contact Brightspace Support to begin the process of setting up your Non-SIS course shell.
Brightspace’s primary role is to support credit-bearing courses at Vanderbilt. It provides a secure platform for faculty and students to conduct course business online, including file distribution, private and group communication, testing and quizzing, and grade management, among other functions.
Note that Brightspace allows for management of grades and other student information in a FERPA-compliant environment. FERPA is the Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act, the federal law that governs the privacy of student educational records. In a physical classroom, FERPA provides guidelines for maintaining student privacy. Brightspace provides a virtual extension of your physical classroom and allows for secure, private, online communication of FERPA-sensitive information. Restrictions that apply to your classroom teaching also apply in the Brightspace environment, such as not allowing students to see others’ grades or graded work and not using external email to communicate FERPA-sensitive information. For more information on FERPA, please visit the University Registrar’s website.
Courses Not Listed in Vanderbilt’s SIS
Courses not listed in Vanderbilt’s student information system (SIS), such as the non-credit courses offered by the English Language Center and the Center for Science Outreach and non-SIS courses offered by Vanderbilt’s schools and colleges, may be offered on Brightspace. Since these courses are not generated in Brightspace through the SIS integration, they must be created on an ad hoc basis by Brightspace Support at the Center for Teaching. Course creation request, as well as requests for batch enrollment of participants, should be submitted to email@example.com. Note: Only courses organized by units at Vanderbilt University can be hosted on Brightspace. Non-Vanderbilt courses cannot be hosted on Brightspace.
Student Cohort Communities
Colleges and schools are welcome to use Brightspace to create shared learning spaces for cohorts of students. For instance, a space might be created for all students entering a program in a given year and used for communication and collaboration with those students while they are in the program. For assistance using Brightspace for student cohort communities, please contact Brightspace support at the Center for Teaching, firstname.lastname@example.org.
Instructor and Teaching Assistant Communities
Instructors and/or TAs interested in sharing lesson plans, learning activities, and other instructional materials are encouraged to use Brightspace to do so. Brightspace offers several collaboration tools of potential use to such groups, including Learning Repository, a content library instructors can use to share learning resources. For assistance with Learning Repository or other Brightspace collaboration tools, please contact Brightspace Support at the Center for Teaching, email@example.com.
Research Groups and Seminars
Research groups, such as those organized by a faculty member for their lab, or research seminars, such as those organized by the Warren Center for the Humanities, are welcome to use Brightspace as a collaboration platform. Requests to create research groups and seminars on Brightspace, as well as requests for batch enrollment of participants, should be submitted to firstname.lastname@example.org.
Note that in some cases, organizers of research groups and seminars might consider Box, Vanderbilt’s cloud storage system. See https://it.vanderbilt.edu/services/box/ for information on getting started with Box. See also https://it.vanderbilt.edu/services/box/box-data-policy.php for information on the kinds of data that can be securing shared on Box.
Research Participant Communities or Data Collection
While research groups are welcome to use Brightspace for collaboration, the platform should not be used for research activities like data collection or research participant communities.
Faculty Searches and Tenure, Promotion, and Reappointment Reviews
Departments, programs, and schools interested in sharing files securely for faculty searches and for faculty tenure, promotion, and reappointment reviews are not allowed to do so on Brightspace. Brightspace is not intended for use at Vanderbilt as a general file sharing platform.
Those interested in sharing files for faculty searches and reviews might consider Box, Vanderbilt’s cloud storage system. See https://it.vanderbilt.edu/services/box/ for information on getting started with Box. See also https://it.vanderbilt.edu/services/box/box-data-policy.php for information on the kinds of data that can be securing shared on Box.
If a student organization is interested in structuring a learning experience for its members in a course-like way, they are welcome to use Brightspace to do so. Requests to create such courses on Brightspace, as well as requests for batch enrollment of participants, should be submitted to email@example.com. Requests to use Brightspace as a general file sharing platform, however, will be denied.
Student organizations interested in file sharing or communication tools might consider Box, Vanderbilt’s cloud storage system, or AnchorLink, Vanderbilt’s student org management system. See https://it.vanderbilt.edu/services/box/ for information on getting started with Box, and https://anchorlink.vanderbilt.edu/support for AnchorLink support.
One category of Non-SIS courses in Brightspace allows any Vanderbilt user with access to Brightspace to self-enroll in a course as a student user. These courses are best suited to well-designed, interactive courses with an undefined user group. Since self-enroll courses are available to everybody, only courses that have the potential to garner interest across campus will be approved. Courses that consist primarily of file and link sharing will not be approved as self-enroll courses and are better suited to Box or another file-sharing tool. Courses with a defined user group will not be approved as self-enroll courses since these are better suited to individual or bulk enrollment options.
Courses designated as self-enroll courses in Brightspace should:
- Have a designated course designer assigned to maintain the course and coordinate with the Center for Teaching;
- Be approved by a supervising department chair, director, or similar where the course will be hosted;
- Complete at least two course design consults with a CFT Assistant Director, one at the start of the course design process and one as a checkpoint just prior to the course going live;
- Include interactive elements, guidance for users, and a plan for ongoing maintenance; and
- Re-certify every year through the CFT.
If you think your course might be a good fit for a self-enroll course, contact the Brightspace support team at Brightspace@vanderbilt.edu.
Policy approved by the Brightspace Advisory Committee spring 2017. Updated August 24, 2017. Updated July 22, 2021. Updated August 25, 2021.