Desire2Learn Quick Start
How to get up and running quickly with D2L to enhance your classroom delivery
Access – It is simply … simple!
1. Every course instance created in Banner automatically creates and empty shell in D2L.
2. When an instructor is added to a course in Banner, they are automatically added to the D2L shell.
3. You log in to learn.bcit.ca with your BCIT login credentials.
What You Are Seeing
After log-in you are taken to your My Home page that:
• Main area – Gives access to your courses, grouped by term and by role (tabs).
• Upper right – Beside your name access your Profile (add your picture) and adjust personal settings.
• Help Centre –Access a growing list of self-help job aids on all of BCIT’s educational technologies.
• News – Where you will find out about important system issues such as planned upgrade dates/times.
• Need Help – All you need to know to access all the support you will even need!
• Critical Term Start Tasks – We post this at each term start just to remind you. They are step-by-step job aids for 3 critical tasks you must perform each term. They take about 5 minutes to complete.
Into Your Course
What You Are Seeing
Navigation Bar (NavBar)
Upper Area – Back to your My Home page / Search for other instances of yours / Notifications (e-mail, etc) / Your Profile
Middle Area – Your course name / Access to your My Tools (personal tools that are independent of any single course instance) / Link to the all-important Help Centre
Lower Area – The course tools being used in this course instance – student focused tool on the left, instructor focused tools on the right. These are controlled by the tools you chose to use in your course, but generally include the following:
Course Home – Always visible to return to the Course Home page
Content – The table of contents with links to all your readings, learning activities, assessments, etc.
Activities – Access to the interactive student tools:
Discussions – Asynchronous (not in real time) text-based class discussion form
Dropbox – Assignment creation, delivery, submission, grading/feedback, archive
Quizzes – A powerful testing tool driven by a question databank with multiple question types and dozens of configuration options
Self-assessments – Easy to create self-test
Surveys – Survey / polling tool
Checklist – Activity, skills, knowledge checklist. Student focused, but can be used to release other elements of the course (release conditions).
Online Rooms – Synchronous (real time) desktop conferencing tool. Great for presentations, guest lecturers, brainstorming, collaboration, recording sessions, demonstrations, etc.
Reference – Resource type tools are grouped here
FAQs – Frequently Asked Questions, and answers, are added here. Can be coaching or direct in nature. Can be technical or content related. A versatile tool you can use to meet your needs.
Glossary – Alpha listing of subject related terms and definitions.
Links – External web resources.
Course Tools – What shows up here depends, to a degree, on how your course is configured and what tools you have chosen to use.
Groups – Create, access and manage groups for class activities. Groups can be used in advanced ways to create collaboration and communication activities, but also for some very creative learning role-play and case study type activities.
Attendance – Can be used both as a simple attendance tool, but also as a level of performance or participation type tool.
Competencies – A strategic course design option for curriculums that are competency based (see the LTC for assistance in using this feature).
Rubrics – Grading matrix tool that can be integrated into assignments (Dropbox), testing (Quizzes) and class discussions (Discussions). Enables faster, more accurate and more consistent grading. Empowers learners by outlining achievement criteria in advance.
Classlist – A list and access to all participants in this D2L instance. Students are automatically added to the classlist when they register for you course in Banner.
Grades – The gradebook that integrates with all the assessment tools in D2L. You can also add manual grade items and use the Gradebook to calculate final grades. Student can, if you choose, see their grades and get access to feedback directly from the Gradebook.
Edit Course – All your high-level course management features such as (a few key features):
Course Offering Information – Where you can change the displayed name of your course or extend the start date (it comes across from Banner) or set an end date (so student won’t have ongoing access to your course).
Copy / Export / Import – One of your critical term start tasks. You need to Copy content from a past term’s delivery instance if you don’t want to have to recreate it all. All settings and resources come across to your new term’s shell.
Manage Dates – All dates you set in D2L, such as start, end and due dates, can be quickly and easily reset to align with the dates of the new term – it’s like magic!
Manage Files – Access to the File Manager for your course. You can setup and manage folders, upload/download files, etc. Files can be added to the table of contents in the Content tool, linked to from other tools, or just reside in the File Manager for your private storage or access.
View User Progress – See what your students have been up to. Track their progress through the course, see how much time they have spent viewing content, see how many discussion post they have read and/or posted. Should be used as a guide to help course improvement and when students are in trouble. Should not be used as a Big Brother type tool.
Intelligent Agents – Through this tool, D2L can notify you, or someone else, when certain things happen or don’t happen in your course. For example: You could receive and e-mail when a learner doesn’t log in for 5 days so you can be proactive in helping that learner not fall behind.
Learning Activity Library – A great instructional design resource to help any instructor design learning activities for face-to-face or online delivery.
Tools – Enables you to activate or de-activate 40 of D2L’s tools and features for your course.
Main Screen Area – below the NavBar
• A “widget” you use to post messages for your students. For example: Welcome to the course; weekly reminders to keep learners on-task; important announcements and updates; etc.
• Can include special code called a “replace string” to automatically embed the user’s name in the message so that is appears to be personalized for them.
• Can be programmed to appear and vanish by date and time – great for pre-written weekly reminders, write them once and never do it again.
• Can be programmed to appear to individuals when and if they do or achieve something in the course. Example: “Congratulations Sue, I see you did well on your exam. Good work!”
• Can automatically list all dated activities in your D2L course – start dates, due dates, end dates, etc.
• Can include manual entries – reminders
• Automatically displays upcoming (within the next 2 weeks) events
• Can be configured by the user to display according to their needs.
• Consolidates all individual course dates for individual users.
There are many other widgets that can be added to your homepage, or widgets can be created to meet a specific need you might have. Almost any web-based programming code/functionality can be used in a widget.
What You Can Do Now
While D2L is an incredibly powerful (feature rich) distance education tool, it also shines as a web-based resource to enhance face-to-face delivery in the following ways, to name just a few:
• Post announcements, reminders and direction in the News tool. It hits users right between the eyes every time they log in being front and centre on the course homepage.
• Upload and add your digital handouts to the Contents area. Not only can this save thousands of trees and BCIT up to $400,000 per year in printing related costs, it ensures your students have a digital archive of your handouts, enables you to keep them current and ensures you have an easy to access web-based repository.
• Use the Dropbox not only as an assignment submission tool, but to actually write and deliver assignments to your learners. It is also a fast and easy way to track and access submissions for grading and to provide feedback. The Dropbox also takes care of BCIT’s legal archiving requirements for you. There is also a grader app for your mobile device.
• Use the Quiz tool to develop a database of questions. Even get your learners to assist in this exercise. This question bank can then be used to create self-tests, quizzes and/or exams that are delivered online and automatically graded.
You will find a detailed step-by-step job aid for each of the above listed features in the Help Centre in D2L. Remember, it’s in the upper right corner of your My Home page.
If you want some one-on-one assistance, give us a call or drop in anytime, the ETS group is available M-F 7:30-5:00:
• SE12, 101
• 604-412-7444 (option 2)
• email@example.com (just put D2L in the subject line or body and it will get to us.