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Sakai Tools

Brightspace Equivalent


Overview – Displays site information (course title & description, etc.); Displays recent announcements and events, updates automatically. 

Course Home & Homepages – Widget based page where all courses, announcements, and more can be found. 

See Choosing a Course Homepage for more info on Homepage options on Brightspace.

Announcements Create, edit, delete, and share announcements with site participants.

Announcements Same functions as Sakai.

On Brightspace the announcement widget is accessible on some Course homepage types. The Announcement tool is also accessible via Course Tools > Course Admin.

Assignments Text, and attachment-based assessment tool; linkable to gradebook. 

Assignments – Same functions as Sakai.

Read more about Assignments. There are important changes to how the Turnitin Integrity Checker works.

Calendar – Create, edit, delete, and share the class schedule and events. 

Calendar – Same functions as Sakai.

By default all release and due dates for all content and assessments are automatically added to the calendar in a Brightspace course site.

Certification – Provides certification after an exam, assignment, or entire course is completed. 

Awards – Includes both Certification and Badges. Qualification and awarding can be set for automatic release or manual release.

Certificates can be personalized with replace strings. The list of replace strings can be found in D2L’s documentation.

Chat Room – Chat with all or selected site members in chat rooms.

Chat – Real time, scheduled text-based collaboration tool, but outside of class context. 

The Chat tool can only be added through modify the Navbars and Banners

Commons – Open forum with live feed of site user posts.

Activity Feed – Open forum accessible to all site members.

The Activity Feed widget is only accessible on some of the homepages. (See Choosing a Course Homepage for details).

Contact Us Contact the Sakai community for help.

Brightspace Help – Opens the Brightspace Help website in a new window. 

We suggest contacting if you have any Brock-specific questions.

You can use Brightspace help for FAQ questions.

Course Experience Survey Links to Explorance Blue survey platform to manage or complete your Course Experience Surveys. 

Course Surveys - Same function as Sakai.

On Brightspace the Course Surveys link is accessible on the organization-level homepage. Click the Brock icon in the top, left corner of the screen, and select Course Surveys in the navbar.

Forums Asynchronous online discussion tool, linkable to gradebook.

(Forums > Forum Topic > Conversation > Thread > post)   

Discussions - Same function as Sakai, slightly different layout/hierarchy.

(Forum > Topic > Thread > Posts)

Read more about Discussions.

Gradebook Track and manage student course grades.  

Grades Same function as Sakai.

Read more about Grades.

Lessons Build and manage course content. 

Content – Same function as Sakai. Can only display 3 levels worth of content.

Unit > Lesson > Folder

At Brock we are using the New Content Experience, if you read D2L documentation with content images that don’t look like our version of Brightspace that is because they are employing the Classic Content Experience. Read more about Content.

Library Research External Library LTI tool.

Library Research Guides – Same function as Sakai.

Read more about External Tools.

Messages – Send and receive mail via the Sakai course site. 

Message Alerts & Instant Messages – Real time informal messaging, not course specific.

Instructors can send email to students through Brightspace, but students can only receive, not send email. Students can Instant Message each other but need to add their peers as Friends to do so.


No Brightspace equivalent.

Order Textbooks – LTI tool that connects the Campus store website, and potentially your specific course readings, directly to your Sakai site. 

My Course Materials – Linked in the main navigation bar on the Brock Brightspace homepage. Shows a student all of the course materials they need to purchase through the Campus Store for the current term.

Podcasts Tool allows instructors to distribute audio, video, and PowerPoint files to their students either manually or via a RSS feed. 

Audio/Video Note Editor  – Manage Brightspace recorded audio files. Linkable in all text boxes and tools. You can also share a link to a podcast in any HTML Document in Brightspace.

All Brightspace users can record audio directly on the Brightspace platform. All recordings and transcripts are editable via the Audio/Video Note Editor.

Polls – Tool allows instructors or students to post multiple choice survey questions on their site.  

Surveys Tool to collect information from students.  Similar to the Quizzes tool but can be made anonymous and cannot be connected to Grades. 

Resources Manage,add, edit, and delete uploaded course files. 

Course Files Manage, add, edit, and delete uploaded course files. Only site Instructors can view the Course Files tool, not students.

Resources that should be accessible to students must be added to content pages, announcements, user links, in an assessment or in discussions.

Roster View site member list, profile cards, emails, names etc. 

Classlist View site member list, profile cards, emails, names etc. Through the Classlist you can also manage site enrolments, search for and add users. Only site Instructors and Teaching Assistants can view the Classlist tool, not students.

Rubrics Build, manage, share and grade assessments. 

Rubrics Same function as Sakai.

Read more about Rubrics.

Sign-upTool allows students to sign up for office hours, meetings, review sessions, and other events in one convenient place.   

Groups The group self-enrolment option allows students to sign up for different options, mimicking a sign-up sheet. 

Sign-Up Tool Alternatives

Site Info Manage course access, tool list, site members, as well as import content features.   

Functions Accessible via Site Info: 

  • Manage Tools – Edit Tools in the site 

  • Tool Order – Edit order of tool list in course Navigation Menu 

  • Date Manager – Manage dates for all assessments, events, announcements  

  • Add Participants  

  • Manage Participants – View full site member list, remove users, change roles and statuses 

  • Manage Groups – Create and manage site groupings 

  • External Tools List of external LTI tools  

  • Manage Access (Publish)  

  • Import from Site  – Import content from other Sakai sites that you are an instructor of

Course Admin – Links to tools and other related site information (edit/manage course access, descriptions etc.), site resources (import content), learner management, assessments, and communication.  

Brightspace Equivalents for Site Info Functionality:

  • Course Admin – Edit Tools in the site

  • Navbar – Edit the order of tool list that appears in the red navbar at the top of your site. Hover over the navbar to select “...” and Edit this Navbar 

  • Course Admin > Manage Dates – Manage dates for all assessments, events, announcements 

  • Classlist – View site membership, add users, change roles, view user profiles, view participant class progress 

  • Groups – Create and manage site groups 

  • Content > Add Existing > External Tool Activity – View list of all external tools integrated to Brightspace 

  • Course Home > Activate – To publish the site

  • Course Admin > Import/Export/Copy Components – Import/export content from another Brightspace site that you are an instructor of

Read more about Course Administration.

Read more about Classlist.

Read more about adding a user to your site.

Read more about External Tools.

Read more about activating a course site.

Read more about Import / Export / Copy Content from Site to Site.

Statistics – Site user data. 

Class Progress - Stats on student progression through the course, data includes stats on content reports, completion of assessments, and general course site visitation.  

Content Reports – Stats on student progression through course content.

Intelligent Agents – Create and manage student alert notification system, based on set criteria.

Read more about class progress.

Read more about Intelligent Agents

Use Intelligent Agents to keep your students accountable! It can be integrated with the gradebook, assessments, and content pages.

Tests & Quizzes – Create, manage test settings, and edit test scripts. Participate, and submit test attempts.  

Quizzes – Same function as Sakai.

Question Pools in Sakai live in your Question Library in Brightspace and are course specific. Read more about Creating your Question Library in Brightspace from Sakai Question Pools

Web Content – Tool that redirects, and/or embeds external websites to the course site. 

Links Add live links to content pages, and in any textbox in Brightspace.

Videos – Echo360 embedded website tool. 

Video Note – Videos recorded on the Brightspace platform. 

Yuja Videos – Videos recorded and uploaded to Echo360 are now in YuJa & Online Video

Echo360 videos can be accessed through Content > Create New > HTML Document > Insert Stuff > YuJa Video Chooser

Course Waffle 3x3 square icon, shows list of course sites. Star courses that you frequently visit.

Site Selector – 3x3 square icon that shows a list of course sites. You can pin courses that you frequently visit.

Let’s agree to keep calling it a course waffle.

Course Tabs – Can be categorized as a favourite site, active site or archived site. 

My Courses Widget – Courses can be pinned. Organized by term and by preference.

The My Courses Widget is only accessible on the Brock Homepage.

Worksite Setup or Sites – Create a new site.  

Only accessible to site administrators.

Course offering sites are created for each course roster, and are automatically released to the Instructor of record before the start of term (instructors do not create sites like they did in Sakai).

Email for inquires on merging course offerings or use SIS Course Merge (new, Winter of 2024).

Profile / User Profile Edit pronouns, preferred names, profile image, email etc.  

User Profile – Same function as Sakai. Information also feeds to the Single Instructor Profile widget.

Only share information in the profile that you are comfortable sharing with your students.

Checklists – Instructor created checklists manually managed by students. Accessible only via the Lessons tool. Progress is tracked for all users per checklist.

Checklists – Same function as Sakai. They open in a new window in Content, and the progression for each individual user through a Checklist can only be tracked by the Instructor through Class Progress, but tracked per user for each checklist.

The leaner to checklist relationship is inverted for tracking progress on a checklist. Brightpace dose not have a perspective on all students progress on one checklist in one spot (yet!).