“Add/Remove Tools” gives tool customization abilities to instructors in terms of what tools show up in the Course Navigation bar and Course Resources drop down list. Instructors who do not not intend to use certain tools can elect to deactivate them which will render them invisible to users.

How to do it:

Login to Brightspace and go into the appropriate course.

When in the course, take these steps:

  1. select the "Course Admin" link in the upper right-hand corner of the course nav bar
  2. select to sort by either "Category" or "Name" - in this case the sort is by "Name"
  3. select the "Tools" link

D2L 20.19.06 screenshot - select "Course Admin" link; select "Category" or "Name"; select "Tools" link


A list of available tools will appear.

D2L 20.19.06 screenshot - the list of available tools is displayed - it is a long list

Status of tools can be determined at a glance:

By default all tools in the list are set to a status of 'on' if changes have not been made.

If a tool's status is 'on' (blue/green checkmark) the tool is active in the course rendering it visible and functioning to all course users.

If a tool's status is 'off' (gray 'x') the tool has been deactivated in the course rendering it invisible to users (though still functioning).

D2L 20.19.06 screenshot - description of the status indicators

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To set a tool's status to 'Off':

Start with the tool status set to 'on' and select the button.

D2L 20.19.06 screenshot - example of selecting to turn a tool off

To set a tool's status to 'On':

Start with the tool status set to 'off' and select the button.

D2L 20.19.06 screenshot - example of selecting to turn a tool on

Before disabling (deactivating) a tool, be aware of the following:

  • Release Conditions based on tools that have been turned off are not enforced as long as the tool remains disabled.
  • Competency activities associated with the tool are hidden, but are still associated with any learning objectives to which they are attached. Users cannot complete these learning objectives while the tool is disabled. Detach or delete any activities associated with a tool before disabling the tool.
  • Grade items associated with the tool remain, but must be manually updated in the grade book.
  • Generally: Quicklinks to a tool’s items persist but a “No Resource Found” message displays when the quicklink is followed. Remove any related Quicklinks when deactivating a tool.

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Tool Notes:

Changing tool status acts on a tool to make it visible (activated) or not visible (deactivated, disabled).
Generally: For instructors, when a tool is deactivated it will typically disappear from the 'Course Admin' area, the 'Course Navigation Bar' and the 'Course Resources' area. For learners, deactivated tools will typically disappear from the 'Course Navigation Bar' and the 'Course Resources' area.

Some tools are only seen/used by instructors and will have no effect on the learner experience (tools like: Manage Dates, Import/Export/Copy Components).

For Instructors, setting tool status to "off" on certain tools may cause unexpected behavior. Caution should be exercised and testing of behavior is advised.

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Additional Notes:

It takes time for any changes made to propagate through the Brightspace system. The change is NOT instantaneous. Instructors using this tool must have patience for any tool related changes to appear and be reflected in the course offering.

Deactivating a tool does not delete any items or user data inside the tool, it simply hides the tool from a course offering. If the tool is turned back on, it restores the data.


  • Instructors should have an explanatory document available to learners describing purpose of all tools they are electing to use in the course as part of a course information module.
  • Caution should be exercised when inactivating major course tools.
  • Timing issues should also be taken into consideration - generally speaking, instructors should make changes prior to the beginning of a new semester as opposed to during the semester UNLESS they notify learners prior to making the change(s).

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NOTE: What dialogue box windows look like and how dialogue box windows and browsers interact is dependent upon the operating system and browser being used. The screenshots in this tutorial may differ from the screen that the user is viewing when performing the actions described in this tutorial.

CD 201906