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Brightspace Purdue: An Overview of Brightspace by D2L at Purdue University

Brightspace is the official learning management system (LMS) used by Purdue University. Developed by the company D2L, Brightspace allows Purdue to deliver online courses and supplement traditional in-person classes. In this article, we’ll explore the history of Brightspace at Purdue, its key features and tools, student perspectives on using the platform, and the future of the LMS.

The History of Brightspace at Purdue

Purdue first adopted Brightspace, then called Desire2Learn, back in 2009. The university was looking to update its outdated WebCT LMS platform and wanted a more modern cloud-based system.

After evaluating options from Blackboard, Moodle, and Desire2Learn, Purdue selected Desire2Learn as its new LMS. The university cited Desire2Learn’s user-friendly interface and advanced e-learning tools as reasons for the change.

By 2012, Purdue had fully transitioned from WebCT to Desire2Learn. All courses and course materials were now offered through the new LMS, which was rebranded as Brightspace in 2014.

Key Features and Tools of Brightspace

Brightspace provides a robust set of features and tools aimed at enhancing learning and course administration for both students and instructors at Purdue.

Course Delivery

Brightspace allows instructors to share syllabi, lectures, assignments, quizzes, and multimedia content with students in an organized online environment. Courses are optimized for access on mobile devices.

Assignments and Grading

Instructors can create assignments, set due dates, upload rubrics for grading, and give feedback within Brightspace. Students can submit assignments and track grades directly through the platform.

Discussions and Messaging

Students and instructors can engage in threaded discussions visible to the entire class or in private messages. This allows for class participation and help.

Multimedia Integration

Brightspace enables embedding video, images, audio, games, presentations and more into course material. HTML editing tools allow multimedia integration.

Analytics and Reporting

Instructors get access to analytics on student engagement, participation, assignment performance and more. This data can inform teaching strategies.

Mobile Support

The Brightspace mobile app allows students to complete assignments, view grades, read course content, join discussions, receive notifications and more on iOS or Android devices.

Plagiarism Detection

Brightspace integrates with Turnitin to check student assignment submissions for plagiarism by comparing writing against its extensive database.

Student Perspectives on Using Brightspace

Student experiences using Brightspace at Purdue are somewhat mixed. Here are some common pros and cons from Purdue students:


  • Convenient central hub for all course activities and materials
  • Accessible on computers, tablets and smartphones
  • Useful tools like the calendar, notifications, and document markup
  • Allows revisiting lectures and course material anytime
  • Provides clear expectations and organization for classes


  • Interface can sometimes be unintuitive and confusing to navigate
  • Uploading and submitting assignments can be buggy
  • Discussion boards aren’t always conducive to engagement
  • Technical issues like videos not loading properly or crashing
  • Can feel impersonal compared to in-person learning

While opinions vary, most students agree that Brightspace provides essential services even if the tools have room for improvement. Students appreciate the flexibility and convenience of an LMS while acknowledging there are still challenges with user experience.

The Future of Brightspace at Purdue

Looking ahead, Brightspace will continue to be Purdue’s primary LMS for the foreseeable future after over a decade of use. However, the university is exploring ways to evolve and enhance the platform.

Integration with Course-Specific Tools

Some Purdue colleges supplement Brightspace by integrating third-party tools specific to their discipline like Top Hat for active learning. This adds more customized functionality.

Increased Multimedia Capabilities

Purdue aims to expand Brightspace’s multimedia and simulation capacities as virtual reality, video lecturing, simulations and other technologies advance.

Analytics to Inform Teaching

Increasing Brightspace’s analytics capabilities can provide data to help Purdue instructors identify student needs and adapt teaching methods accordingly.

User Experience Improvements

Feedback from student satisfaction surveys will help shape future UX enhancements to simplify navigation, streamline workflows, and optimize for mobile.


Ensuring Brightspace remains accessible and compliant with ADA regulations will be an ongoing priority, including captioning for hearing impaired.

How to sign in to Brightspace Purdue?

Here are the steps to sign in to Brightspace at Purdue University:

  1. Go to purdue.brightspace.com or access Brightspace through the Purdue app.
  2. Click on the Sign In button in the top right corner.
  3. Log in using your Purdue Career Account credentials. This is the same username and password you use for Purdue email and other Purdue services.
  4. Enter your username and password and click Sign In.
  5. If prompted, you may need to enter your Duo two-factor authentication by approving a push notification on your smartphone or entering a passcode.
  6. After successfully authenticating with Duo, you will be signed into Brightspace and taken to your homepage.
  7. Your Brightspace homepage will display tiles for the courses you are enrolled in. Click on a course tile to access materials like the syllabus, assignments, lectures, grades etc.
  8. If you have trouble signing in, contact the Purdue Learning Technology helpdesk at itap@purdue.edu or 765-494-4000 for assistance.
  9. Once signed in, you can access Brightspace on your smartphone by downloading the Brightspace Pulse app and logging in with your Purdue account.

Let me know if you have any other questions! Signing in with your career account credentials is all it takes to access your Brightspace courses.

Frequently Asked Questions

What is Brightspace?

Brightspace is the learning management system (LMS) used by Purdue University. It’s a cloud-based platform that allows instructors to deliver course content, assignments, grades, and discussions online. Brightspace was developed by the company D2L.

When did Purdue start using Brightspace?

Purdue adopted Brightspace (then called Desire2Learn) in 2009 to replace their old WebCT LMS. The full transition to Brightspace was completed by 2012.

How do I access Brightspace as a Purdue student?

You can login to Brightspace using your Purdue career account credentials. Just go to purdue.brightspace.com or access it through the Purdue app. Your courses should appear on your Brightspace homepage.

What features does Brightspace offer?

Key features include online assignment submission, multimedia integration, mobile app access, threaded discussions, analytics, plagiarism detection, calendars, notifications, and more.

Can I access Brightspace materials offline?

The Brightspace mobile apps for iOS and Android allow you to download course content for offline access. You can read materials without an internet connection.

How do I submit assignments on Brightspace?

Navigate to the Assignments tab in your course, select the appropriate assignment, attach your file(s), provide any notes, and click Submit. You can submit various file types.

Are Brightspace discussion boards graded?

Participation in discussion boards may be mandatory and graded by some instructors. Check your course syllabus for expectations and grading policies for discussions.

Where do I find my grades and feedback on assignments?

Your grades and instructor feedback for assignments will be visible under the Grades tab. Click into each assignment to see your grade and any notes from your instructor.

How do I get the Brightspace mobile app?

Download the Brightspace Pulse app from the App Store for iOS devices or Google Play Store for Android. Log in with your Purdue account to access your courses.


Since adopting Brightspace over a decade ago, Purdue University has seen the LMS evolve from an early learning platform to a mature system that serves as the digital learning hub for the institution. It provides essential tools for course delivery, engagement, grading, multimedia integration, mobility and more.

While there are still areas for improvement, Brightspace helps both students and instructors optimize blended and online learning at Purdue. As virtual learning continues to expand, the university will aim to build upon Brightspace’s capabilities to match those needs while improving user experience. With ongoing development, Brightspace is positioned to be Purdue’s LMS platform for years to come.

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