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Desire2Learn Major Components

D2L  Major Components                                                                                      Printed, this document is about 5 pages


The “Course Home” page is the first page that you and your students will see when you enter your course. It is comprised of widgets that provide news and information to your students. Using the Homepages tool, you can customize what widgets appear on your “Course Home” page. You can also set your homepage to redirect to another course tool such as Content or Discussions or even to an external website. Students will then be taken to that page when they click the name of your course in the “My Home” page.


The Content tool is the primary place students will access course materials in your course. In the Content tool, you can upload, create, link to, and organize your course materials. Content is made up of “Modules,” which are used for organization, and “Topics,” which are actual content. Topics can be files you upload from your computer, HTML pages you create within Desire2Learn, or links to external websites or other items in your course. All Topics must be contained in a Module. Note that you can also build your course content using the Course Builder tool.

HTML Editor 
The D2L HTML Editor allows you to input content in Announcements, Widgets, Content topics, Assignment instructions, and other areas. In addition to entering text, you can insert images and hyperlinks, upload files, and even embed flash content like YouTube videos. The options available for inputting content are the same in all these tools.

The profile tool allows you to upload a picture and provide information about yourself that your students can access through the Classlist.

The Import/Export/Copy Components tool lets you copy Content, Quizzes, Grade Items, Discussion Forums, Dropbox Folders and nearly every other type of component from one course to another. Copying components saves you from having to recreate your course’s resources from scratch and can significantly reduce the amount of work required to create or re-offer a course.

You can use the Import/Export/Copy Components feature to reuse components created in a previous course offering, to add components created by your peers into your own course offering, and to set up standard components inside a master course and copy them into a new course offering each time a course is re-offered.

The “Course Home” page of your course contains a number of widgets such as the “News,” Updates,” and “Calendar.” Instructors can use the Widgets tool to customize the appearance of Desire2Learn system widgets and create custom widgets to place on the “Course Home” page. Custom widgets can contain any information, multimedia, or quicklinks you want to display to students as soon as they enter your course.

The navbar is the set of links across the top of your course site. When your course site is created, it will automatically have the default navbar, but you may wish to create your own navbar to provide links to other course tools or external websites. In general, you should add links to your course navbar for all tools that you want students to use to complete course work and communicate with each other. You should always leave My Home, Course Home, and Logout links your course navbar.

Manage Dates          
The Manage Dates tool allows you to view all due dates and date restrictions for your course materials in one location. You can edit date restrictions individually or change all the dates in your course at once when you teach the course in a new quarter.

This tool allows you to manage dates for Content, News Items, Discussions, Dropbox folders, and Quizzes. For other tools, like Checklists, you will need to adjust dates manually within the tool itself. Note that the tool will only adjust availability restrictions and due dates for the Desire2Learn system. It will not affect dates you have typed into assignment descriptions, content topics, or discussion-board prompts.

Manage Files
The Manage Files tool allows you to organize and upload files associated with your course. In Manage Files, you can upload content to your course, and then you can access this content from the Course Builder tool to organize your course. You can upload files individually or as zip files that can be unzipped within Desire2Learn. Your students will not have access to the files you upload here until you either place them in the Content structure using Course Builder or create a Quicklink to a particular file.

Intelligent Agents    
Intelligent Agents send an automated email when instructor-defined criteria are met. For example, instructors can email students who have not logged in recently, whose grades have fallen below a certain level, or who have viewed a specific content topic.

Course Activation    
When your course is automatically created before the start of the quarter, students cannot access it. This is so students do not try to access the course before you have finished building it. At the beginning of the quarter, you must manually activate your course for students to be able to see it in their “My Courses” list when they log in.

Finding Your Course           
At the start of the semester, if you do not see your new courses in the “My Courses” widget, it may be because you are listed as an instructor for more than twenty-five courses. If you are an instructor in more than twenty-five courses (counting both current courses and past courses), you will not see a full list of your courses. Rather, you will see a search box and the last ten courses you have accessed. Use the instructions provided here to access your courses.

Learn to create online discussion forums, create student groups, and set up real-time chat.

Discussions can be used to encourage peer interaction and conversations in your course. In discussions, students interact with one another by posting messages to discussion topics and reading and replying to messages posted by others.

Discussions in Desire2Learn are organized into categories, called Forums, and specific prompts, called Topics. You must create both a Forum and a Topic in order for students to post.

The Groups tool is used to create group work areas for students. Groups can be assigned automatically, manually selected by the instructor, or chosen by the student. Students can belong to many groups in the same course, and each group can have its own discussion forums, dropbox folders, and locker area to exchange files. Members of groups can be graded as a team or individually.

Chats enable students and instructors to interact with each other in real time. You can create chats for the entire class or only for specific students. All chat sessions are archived so you and your students can review them later

The quizzes tool allows you to create, manage, and grade online quizzes. Desire2Learn allows for quiz questions that can be graded automatically, like multiple-choice questions, and more qualitative questions, like long-answer questions.

Question Library      
The Question Library is a central place to create, store, and edit questions that can be used in Quizzes, Surveys, and Self-Assessments. It is helpful for keeping large numbers of questions organized. For example, you might create a “Multiple Choice” section where you would put all your multiple choice questions or a section containing all questions related to a specific topic, such as “Chapter 1 Questions.

Survey tool   
The Survey tool allows you to solicit feedback from students regarding any aspect of your course. For example, it can be used as a method for delivering general course evaluations, mid-year reviews, or surveys associated with learning styles and preferences.

Self Assessments tool        
The Self Assessments tool allows you to create ungraded sets of quiz questions for students to use to gauge their knowledge. It also allows students to see instructor-created feedback to their answers instantaneously. Self Assessments are most effective when they are linked in the Content section of your course immediately after the material students are being quizzed on.

Learn to send email through the classlist, post news announcements on your course homepage, and set up checklists for students.

Announcements Tool    
The Announcements  tool enables you to communicate updates, changes, and new information to your students quickly and effectively.  Announcements postings appear in the Announcements widget on the “Course Home” page. Since this is the first page that students see when they enter the course, it is a good way to display important information such as weekly updates or reminders of assignment due dates.

The Attendance tool allows you to track your students’ attendance in class sessions. You can create separate attendance registers for each course section if you have had those sections combined into one Desire2Learn course site. The attendance register will tell you a student’s attendance percentage, but note that there is no integration with the Desire2Learn Grades too

A checklist is a way to highlight important or required assignments, readings, or other items students need to complete. A checklist may list all the items students need to complete at once, or it may have items appear as they complete other items. Each checklist contains one or more categories in which checklist items are grouped. For example, your checklist might include categories like “Written Assignments” and “Quizzes,” with several assignments and quizzes to complete in those categories

The Classlist tool is a central area for managing information about users. You can use the Classlist to send email to your students, view user profiles, add teaching assistants to your course, and print the Classlist. You can also use it to see a list of all students enrolled in your course and which students are online.

In D2L, you use the Classlist tool to email students in your course. The videos below provide information on sending emails from the Classlist and adjusting other email settings in your Desire2Learn Preferences. For more information on the Classlist tool, please reference the Classlist section

Schedule system     
The Schedule system allows you to create a calendar of course events that your students will see on the Calendar widget in their “My Home” page and on the Calendar or Events widget on your “Course Home” page. You can create an event automatically when you are creating a course object, like a Quiz or Dropbox due date, or you can create events manually using the Schedule tool.

Assignments Tool
The Assignments tool is what students use to submit their assignments online. You can set up separate Assignments folders for each assignment and choose when students can submit assignments. Once assignments are submitted, you can download assignments, check submission times, grade assignments, leave feedback, and return submissions with comments, all from within the Assignments tool. You can also check for plagiarism through the Assignments tool using TurnItIn.

The Grades tool allows you to enter assignment grades, track a student’s progress, and calculate final grades. You can set up your gradebook to calculate final grades based on points or with assignments as percentages of the final grade. Students can access the Grades tool to see all their grades in one place

In D2L, Rubrics allow you to grade your students based on set criteria. Students will be able to see the Rubric before they submit their assignment and how many points they were awarded in each criterion after you have graded it.


Page last updated: January 10, 2017