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End-of-Semester Course Management

At the end of the semester, instructors at Vanderbilt record their final grades in YES to close out their courses. However, since Brightspace courses are not available indefinitely (see the Course Availability and Deletion Policy for more details), instructors may also want to follow the four steps outlined below to finalize their Brightspace courses at the end of the semester and ensure that they will have ongoing access to important course content, student submissions, and records of grade calculations. This would be essential, for example, in the case of a grade dispute, recommendation letter request, or if the instructor will be teaching the course again in the distant future after the course is no longer available in Brightspace. 

The four recommended steps to end-of-semester Brightspace course management are:

  1. Add or hide content for students who may want to revisit the course.  
  2. Download major assignments, quizzes, or other student work to your desktop that may be needed in the future.
  3. Download the finalized gradebook as an Excel spreadsheet.
  4. Export a copy of the course content to your desktop to facilitate future teaching.

1. Add or Hide Content

For one year after the end date, students can return and revisit the course at will unless the instructor deactivates it. To deactivate a course completely prior to the scheduled end date and make the course unavailable to students, you reverse the steps you take to make the course active at the beginning of the semester. Most instructors leave their courses available to students, but may consider adding or hiding content as needed. 

Adding Content

End-of-semester additions may include a final farewell announcement or a Content module with guidance and links for students who want to pursue independent study of the course topic.

To do this, click the dropdown menu next to Announcements on your course homepage, and select New Announcement:


Hiding Content

In some cases, instructors may want to hide certain content, assignments, or quizzes that they prefer students not access after the semester is over. On every content module/item and in every tool, there is an option to either hide that item or to make the item visible to students.

Follow the steps in this guide to hide Content items and modules from students

You can also hide tools activities. For example, the Assignment tool also has the same Hidden/Visible toggle option as you would find in any Content item.

To hide an assignment, click on the dropdown menu next to the assignment, and select Hide from Users:

For a year after the end of the course, students will continue to have access to the course and course content. However, instructors can add and hide content as appropriate to ensure the desired level of access.


2. Download Major Assignments

Some instructors may need ongoing access to major assessments. Both in the assignment tool and the quiz tool, instructors can bulk download student submissions to a folder on their own computer. 

Download Assignments

The option to download assignments in bulk can be found on the main grading screen at the top of the submissions table. Submissions will be downloaded as a zip file. 


Export Quiz Results

Quiz results can be downloaded as an Excel file from the “Grade” screen by clicking Export to Excel:


Once the assignment submissions or quiz results are on your computer, you can keep them indefinitely as a record of student performance, even after the course has been removed from Brightspace.

3. Download the Finalized Gradebook

All Vanderbilt instructors must turn in their final grades via YES. However, there may also be occasions where a more detailed version of the course gradebook will be required. An important step in the end-of-semester process is to download the finalized gradebook as an Excel file to your local device. 

Follow the steps in this guide to download your grades as an Excel file to your computer.


4. Export a Copy of the Course

Finally, it is possible to download an entire copy of your course as an export package. You may already be familiar with the process of copying a course into a future iteration so you do not have to recreate the course from scratch each time you teach it. When you download an export package, a file containing all of the content and settings for your course is saved on your computer and can be uploaded to a future Brightspace course shell to recreate your course minus the student contributions. Functionally, it is much the same result as a course copy, but does not depend on Brightspace to maintain your course records long-term.

To export your course package, follow the steps in this guide to copying course content. Then, in step 4, instead of choosing the option to copy, choose “Export as Brightspace package.”