Opinion: NYU should make professors use Brightspace

Brightspace was created to simplify the lives of professors and students. Professors should use this platform instead of other websites.


Manasa Gudavalli

NYU transitioned from NYU Classes to their new platform Brightspace for students to view their syllabi and assignments. While Brightspace is designed to be a schoolwide system, many professors still choose to use other independent websites. (Staff Illustration by Manasa Gudavalli)

By Neha Magesh, Staff Writer

In Spring 2021, NYU transitioned from NYU Classes to a new system called Brightspace. Brightspace is an easy-to-use, clean-looking interface that enables students to submit assignments and view files, grades and more. Professors, however, are shying away from using Brightspace, due to a fear of technology. This causes confusion among students, and ultimately makes students’ lives more difficult. At a cutting-edge university, we can do better. NYU should mandate that professors use Brightspace instead of other websites. 

I have a professor who insists everything be submitted by email. Papers are returned with feedback written in bold, making it confusing and hard to read. I have another professor who only accepts submissions through Brightspace. On Brightspace, papers can be returned with online feedback, such as tabs above words which professors can use to share comments and criticism. Additionally, on Brightspace, online comments can be left on the overall assignment. It’s easy to receive feedback through Brightspace. It’s simpler to read, and you can click from assignment to assignment to see how you have grown over the course of the semester. 

Exclusive use of Brightspace won’t just make our lives easier, though — it will make our professors’ lives easier too. They can move seamlessly from one student’s assignment to the next’s, instead of having to search through their inboxes. Additionally, they can give feedback within Brightspace instead of downloading documents that take up their computer storage. With a simple change in policy, NYU could simplify the lives of both students and professors. 

Professors consolidating their assignments to Brightspace would also help students stay organized. It’s difficult to remember that Professor A only wants emails, Professor B wants both email and Brightspace submissions, and Professor C wants a submission on a completely different website. If professors were required to accept submissions through Brightspace exclusively, it would remove the organizational nightmare of flipping through our planners to remember where to turn something in. Brightspace was created to be a place where students can access their coursework and grades all at once in one place. It should be utilized as such. 

Why do professors refuse to adapt to technology that not only helps their students, but helps them too? A faculty and staff training guide to setting up Brightspace exists. There is no reason for professors not to use it. NYU even offers Zoom workshops where faculty and staff can “get ideas on how to use features in NYU Brightspace for teaching and learning.” The resources NYU is offering are abundant and can help even the least tech-savvy individual. With the kind of help NYU is providing, anything can be figured out. 

With all of the effort that went into developing Brightspace, NYU students ought to be able to use it. The alternative options cause confusion and missed assignments. NYU has an opportunity to improve the lives of students and professors alike. It’s time to get with the times and make Brightspace the campus standard.

Contact Neha Magesh at [email protected]