Intelligent Agents

Intelligent Agents allow instructors to generate reports and automate communication with students in regards to various tasks and activities completed on a Brightspace course site. Intelligent Agents can track criteria such as log-in activity, course activity, and any options offered by release conditions (learn more about Release Conditions from our documentation). While this can be helpful for keeping track of student activity in a large course, intelligent agents should not be misconstrued as a way to monitor student engagement within a course, as number of clicks or logins to a site does not necessarily mean increased engagement.


Creating an Intelligent Agent

The Intelligent Agents area can be accessed by clicking Course Tools on the navbar, and selecting Intelligent Agents from the drop-down menu. From here, new Intelligent Agents can be created for the course site. A good starting point when using Intelligent Agents is to start in the “Settings” area in the top right corner of the screen. In Settings, the default under Use the system defaults sets the Name that emails come from as the Brock University Brightspace Team and the Reply-to address for responses as Be sure to set an appropriate Set custom values for this course, including Name that emails come from and Reply-To address for responses. These should reflect course and instructor specific information. Unlike other parts of messaging within Brightspace, the reply-to address is active and all responses will go to that address.

  1. Click the New Agent button.

  2. Choose a name for the agent.

  3. Add a description and give the agent a category at your own discretion. Both are optional and used for organization purposes.

  4. Enable the agent by checking the checkbox under Status.

  5. Under Scheduling, choose whether the agent will run on a certain schedule, or have no schedule (the instructor chooses when to run it).

  6. Select the criteria required for the agent to follow. Options are explained below:

Criteria Options

Role in Classlist - Instructors can choose whether the agent checks every person in the classlist, or can specify a role for the agent to check (i.e., every student in the class or every TA).

Take Action on Activity - This is where instructors decide what they are having the agent check and report on. The two main options are Login Activity and Course Activity.
Login Activity refers to when a user last logged into Brightspace.
Course Activity refers to when a user last visited the specific course site the agent is in.

Release Conditions - On top of login and course activity, agents can track progress in specific areas of the site by making use of Release Conditions. For example, agents can be paired with the No submission to folder release condition to gather a report of students who haven’t submitted to a particular assignment. To learn more about Release Conditions and their options, please see

  1. Select the Actions that the agent will take. There are options to set whether the agent records users who repeatedly meet the criteria, or whether it only tracks the first time someone meets the criteria, as well as the option to send an email to the user when the criteria is met. The criteria can be set according to log in activity, course activity or release conditions:

    1. Login Activity: This option refers to whether the student has logged into Brightspace LMS, not your course specifically. Enter the number of days since the student last logged into Brightspace before they receive an agent email.

    2. Course Activity: This option refers to whether the student has accessed your course page in Brightspace. Enter the number of days a student can be inactive/active before they receive an agent email.

    3. Release Conditions: Select this option if you want the intelligent agent to run only when the student meets certain requirements (e.g., student belongs to Group A, student receives 50% or less on Quiz 3, student receives a certain grade on a grade item, etc). Click the Browse button to search for any Release Condition you have already created. Click the Create button to program a new one. For more information about using Release Conditions in Brightspace, refer to our support site on Creating Release Conditions.

Sending an email can help students understand what criteria they are meeting or not meeting in the course. If sending an email to students note that the To field should contain the replace string: {InitiatingUser} to have Brightspace autofill student’s email addresses who fit the criteria. It is also recommended to use a replace string in the address that will use the student’s first name: {InitiatingUserFirstName}. Including their last name can also be a separate replace string: {InitiatingUserLastName}.

If identifying students who may be struggling or potentially at risk of not meeting program standards, including those with zero grades, it is important to have zeroes entered in the grade item. If the gradebook is set to Treat all ungraded items as zero please note that the zero is visual and not entered as data. All grades must be entered in the Enter grades field or in the assessment tool (Assignments, Discussions, Quizzes). If, however a student has a known exception they should not receive the message, ensuring that the grade is a “-”, that the grade field for that student is empty or null will ensure they do not receive the message.

  1. Click Save and Close to complete the agent.

A few examples of how to use Intelligent Agents can be found in article by D2L: .

Manually Running an Intelligent Agent

Instructors have the ability to create an intelligent agent that they can run at their own discretion as opposed to scheduling the agent on a particular schedule. Additionally, agents that run on a schedule can be triggered at any point in time from the Intelligent Agents area, found by clicking Course Tools on the navbar and selecting Intelligent Agents in the drop-down menu.

  1. Select the drop-down arrow next to the agent that will be run.

  2. Select Run Now, this will send a request to run the agent. It can take a few minutes for the agent to run depending on server load, connection, etc.

  3. Upon refreshing the page after a few minutes, the agent will have run and generated a report, which can be selected under the Results of Last Run column.

Viewing a History of Reports

The history of reports generated by an intelligent agent are accessible from the Intelligent Agents area, found by clicking Course Tools on the navbar and selecting Intelligent Agents in the drop-down menu.

  1. Select the drop-down arrow next to the agent.

  2. Select View History, this will open a list of all the previous times the agent has run. The reports can also be exported from the drop-down menu by clicking Export History instead.

Intelligent Agents and Engagement

While Intelligent Agents can provide helpful information to instructors for how students are interacting with the course site, this should not be misconstrued as a method of tracking user engagement with a site. For example, an intelligent agent can check to see if a user has clicked on a certain content item, but it does not know how long the student spent looking at that item, or what their takeaway from it was. Please keep this in mind when using Intelligent Agents. Please reach out to with any questions about engagement resources or to discuss Intelligent Agents further.

Please contact CPI at with any questions or comments about the contents of this site.