Adding Article Links to Brightspace Modules using the Course Reading List Tool (Library Electronic Catalog System)


You are going to create a set of articles for your class in Brightspace. You want to add the links to the articles directly into the specific modules in Brightspace that address the topic. How do you do that?

Well, the biggest problem with just using the URL of the article at the top of the browser that you find in the library is that with some of the databases that store these articles, those links expire after several hours. The databases do that to preserve the security of the article to ensure that only those allowed to see the article can see it. This means if you post an article using the URL now, when you students click the link to the article in Brightspace the next day they may very well hit a login wall where their login credentials will not work. In short, they won’t be able to see the article. Now some databases do not use expiring links but many do and that list is growing. Keeping track of how each database handles  these permanent (unexpiring) links, called Permalinks, is a confusing and daunting task. The Course Reading List Tool solves this problem by giving you a permanent link the same way regardless of the article, journal, or database the article is housed in. (NOTE: simply logging into the VPN does NOT solve this problem, but the Course Reading List Tool does.)

Your first step is to log into the library and search for your articles. When you find an article you want to post, copy/paste the title and authors of the article into a Notepad or Word file. You will use this data to search for the article in the Course Reading List Tool.

Once you have your article list created you will log into your class in Brightspace. (NOTE: the class must be an official class in YES. Sandbox classes will not work.) You will then create a new module. Call it something like Readings. In that module you will create a Course Reading List Tool reading list. Your students, however, will never see the list because you will keep that list in Draft. That will be space for you to find the permalinks . Instead, you will use the URLs you get from that list to create permalink links in each of your Brightspace modules to the articles you want them to see while in that module.


If you have not already done so, collect a list of the article titles and authors in a Notepad or Word file. Keep it open because you will copy/paste from that into Leganto to search for the articles in the Course Reading List Tool environment.


Bring up Brightspace. Click the Content tab at the top. At the bottom of the content list below the table of contents, click Add a Module””. Take the defaults but call that module Readings.


Change the module to Draft mode.


Click on the Readings Module, click “Existing Activities”, scroll down, find, and click “External Learning Tools”.



Click “Course Reading List”.


Click “Course Reading List”


After clicking through some informational screens (check the boxes to not show again when you see them) you will be here.


Scroll down and click the “Create It” button.


The title will be the course identifier. I would keep the default. You may add a description of you want but the students will not be coming here so I would leave it blank. Click “Create”.


Now you need to select how you want your articles organized in the Course Reading List Tool. The Course Reading List Tool allows you to divide your articles into modules that the tool refers to as Sections. You may create a section list that parallels your module list in Brightspace or you may decide to create something else. If you are just going to move articles directly into your Brightspace modules and are not going to create sections, then I would select the Blank option. You can always change it later to create sections.

This would probably be a good time to decide how you want to organize your articles. You have a variety of choices and of course can change and redesign things later. Your choices are:

  1. Keep all the articles from the class in one module and make that module available to students. This is the traditional way of creating a readings list where all the readings for the entire course are in one place.
  2. Put the articles in, one by one, into the modules in Brightspace. This treats each article as a learning object, much like a URL, PDF file, quiz, or discussion board that you would post. The article(s) related to a particular module are found inside that module in Brightspace.
  3. Create sections in the Course Reading List Tool that parallel your modules in Brightspace and provide a link to that section in the Brightspace module. This technique will save you development time if you have more than one article per module. Instead of creating separate links to each article, you create one link to the the Course Reading List Tool section and inside that section are all of the articles related to that module.

For the purposes of this document, we will select choice 2 above. I will show you how to create a link to a specific article and place that inside your Brightspace module, but, at the end I will explain how to do 1 and 3 as well.

Since we aren’t interested in sections per se, select the first choice “Blank” by clicking it.


We are required to create at least one section since all articles must appear in a section.



Give the section a Title (required). Since students won’t be seeing this you may give it any title you want. I would leave description blank since students will not see that either. (NOTE: if you are going to create sections parallel to your modules in Brightspace, you should create section titles that correspond to your Brightspace module titles and you might want to add a brief description. If you decide not to do that now you can always come back here and add them later.)

Click “CREATE”


We will now add specific items (articles) to your list. Click the plus sign.



Copy/paste the article title or author name into the search box on the right.

NOTE: this may bring up a variety of choices that come close to matching the words in your title. Typically the exact match should be first in the list but if it is not, you can force an exact match by embedding the title in quotes before you click the search button.


I prefer to copy/paste because it reduces the possibility of a typo.  Click the blue magnifier glass icon to initiate the search.


The Course Reading List Toolwill display all of the objects it has that meet your search criteria. If there are multiple choices, select the one you want then Drag/Drop it below the title Class Article list.


Roll your mouse over the article and click it.


You will see that in this example there are three databases that have copies of the article. The students will see this list as well. You and your students may click any of the “View online” links that they want. If one is broken, select the next one and report the broken link.


Unfortunately at this time, the Course Reading List Tool implementation does not recognize your Brightspace login for authentication so you will have to type in your VUNetID and ePassword again to continue. Once you are logged in, however, it will preserve those credentials until you completely end the session by closing all copies of your browser. So you will only have to login in once per session, not once per article link.


You will now be brought to the full text area for the article. Depending on which database you selected, the organization of the screen content may vary.  You may be asked, for example to download the PDF file before viewing.

You will repeat this entire process for every article you want to add. Just click the plus button to add an article.




You now have articles in the Course Reading List Tool section that you want to add to specific Brightspace modules.  Go into your Reading List and find the article you want from your list.  You will see 3 dots in the upper right corner of the article link. Click them.



Scroll down and click the Permalink choice.


This link will be permanently maintained.  Unlike URLs at the top, they won’t disappear in a few hours. This assures the students that whenever they come back to that article link anytime in the course, they will be able to access the article.



Then click CLOSE.


Now go to the module in Brightspace where you want the article to appear.

Click “Upload/Create”. Then click “Create a Link”


In the URL line click CTRL-V (Windows) Command-V (Mac) to paste the URL there. Add a title. Check “Open as External Resource”. The link will now be available directly inside the module.


You now may treat the link as any module object.



If you have multiple articles that are going to appear in a Brightspace module, it may be easier to organize your articles, in the Course Reading List Tool into Sections. Then you will add the section to the module instead of the individual articles. This will save you time (since you are only creating one link per Brightspace module) and space inside of the Brightspace module. If you would rather link to an entire section, find the section name and click the 3 dots associated with the section (not the 3 dots associated with the article). Find the permalink choice, Click it.


Click “COPY TO CLIPBOARD” and then “CLOSE”.


Navigate to the module you want to add the link to and add it as a link in Brightspace


Copy/paste the link in the URL line, add a title, and check “Open as External Resource”.



You see that I now have two sections, Class Article List and Section 2.  We want a generic permalink that links to both in one list. This way I can have all of the articles for the class in one place in Brightspace.. To find the permalink to the entire list click the 3 dots on the extreme left and select Permalink.


Clicking the Permalink choice opens up To List and To Course. While both will eventually take you to the same place, selecting To List saves you a mouse click.


Click “COPY TO CLIPBOARD” and then “CLOSE”.


Now open or create a module in Brightspace for the link to reside in. Go into the module, Click “Upload/Create” and select “Create a Link”.


Create a title, paste the URL you copied into the URL line, and check “Open as External Resource” Then click Create.


When you go out and come back you will see this link. If you click it you will see a list of all of the sections and readings associated with the class.


This is what you will see. You can slide up and down and click on the article you wish to view.


Publishing Your Permalinks

Publishing Your Permalinks

After you have created your links you will need to publish (in the Course Reading List Tool sense NOT the Brightspace sense). If you do not complete this step, when the users click on the permalink you have created they will get an OOPS page that tells them the article is not available. You may publish before or after you have created your links and put them into Brightspace.

Go into the Course Reading List Tool screen. Click the 3 dots on the left and click “Publish”

Then check “Anyone”.

***NOTE: if you publish to “Course students” or All students at the institution”, the faculty member will not be able to access the article this way since they are not a student.***

Click Confirm.


You will now see that it is published when you look at the main screen for the Course Reading List Tool.

When your students click on the permalinks they will eventually be able to see the article. They may have to log in using their VUNetID and ePassword to authenticate into the class properly (even if they already logged into Brightspace). This re-authentication is due to the fact that the Tool and Brightspace do not share the same login utility. If you are off campus you may also have to log into the library as well. Make sure on all of these logins that you use your MAIN CAMPUS VUNetID and ePassword and not your Medical Center one if you have that.


NOTE: when you copy the class over, all of the permalinks will come over to the new class and continue to work.





in BrightspaceDigital Library

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