LMS Update

Desire2Learn 

Preparing for the Purging of Courses in D2L (April 21, 2014)

Preparing for the D2L Upgrade (May 10, 2014)

What's New in D2L 10.3

Online Rooms (Blackboard Collaborate)

D2L Quickstart (PDF)

D2L FAQ

D2L Goes Mobile

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Instructional Design & Web Technologies Workshop Schedule

Instructional Design & Web Technologies department offers a wide variety of workshops. Please  let us know if you have a specific topic you would like covered!

REGISTRATION REQUIRED
Register via email at idwt@ship.edu. Please include the name and date of the workshop in your email.

We're available for individual consultations!

Need help? Please call and we will schedule a session with you.

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Setting Up Discussions

The Discussions Area in D2L allows instructors and students to communicate with each other asynchronously. Creating areas to discuss course topics is slightly different in D2L than in our previous course management system.


Forums_Topics

A Forum is created that will hold Topics, the area where the discussion will occur. A Forum cannot be graded however, each Topic can be graded. Instructors must create a Forum and add a Topic(s) to the Forum.  

Creating a New Forum

  1. From the My Home page in the My Courses widget click on the course in which you would like to add a discussion forum. The Course Home page appears.
  2. From the red Navigation bar click on the DISCUSSIONS link. The Forums & Topics List pane appears.
  3. Click on the NEW FORUM icon. The New Forum pane appears.

    Discussion 1
  4. In the Title text box type the name for your new forum.
  5. In the Description text box type a short description of the forum. The description will be displayed under the forum title.
  6. To allow anonymous posts to the discussion select Allow anonymous messages. The Anonymous posts option allows students to choose to make their message anonymous. Use this feature with CAUTION it has been reported that it is not reliable and is a known issue with D2L.  If you have questions or concerns please contact the IDDS office.
  7. To hide the forum from student view:
    • In the Availability section click on the Show forum visibility options toggle switch.
    • Click on the radial button next to Hide this forum option. Hiding a forum hides the forum and all topics within the forum from student view. The Hidden icon discussions 3 displays in the Forum and Topic list indicating that the Forum is not available to students.
  8. To specify the time period in which the forum is available: 
    • Click on the radial button next to Forum is visible for a specific date range.
    • To specify the start date select Has Start Date use the Month, Day, and Year pull-down menus to specify the starting date or to select a start date from the calendar click on the SELECT DATE calendar
    • To specify an end date use the Month, Day, and Year pull-down menus to specify the ending date or to select a date from the calendar click on the SELECT DATE calendar icon. 
  9. To terminate the discussion but keep the forum visible:
    • In the Locking Options section click on the Show locking options toggle button.
    • To lock the forum indefinitely click on the Lock forum radial button.
    • To set a date range during which the forum is unlocked, click on the radial button next to Unlock forum for a specific date range and select the appropriate dates.
  10. To immediatley add a new Topic, click on the SAVE & ADD TOPIC button.
  11. To save the Module without creating a Topic, click on the Save button. The forum is created and is visible to the instructor.

Creating a New Topic

There are two ways to create a Topic inside a module. Instructors can create a Module using the Save & Add Topic button directly after you've created a Module as mentioned above or by clicking on the New Topic Button after clicking on the Discussions link in the red navigation bar.

discussion 2

In the New Topic Details section:

  1. Select a Forum if the correct forum is not selected from the Forum dropdown box.
  2. Type the topic heading in the Title text box.
  3. In the Description text box type a short description of the topic. The description will be displayed under the topic title when the Discussions page is viewed. Instructors can type the topic question(s) and/or describe any criteria for responding to the question.

    discussions_description

  4. To hide the Topic from student view:  
    • In the Availability section click on the Show forum visibility options toggle switch.
    • Click on the radial button next to Hide this topic option.  The Hidden icon discussions 3 displays in the Forum and Topic list indicating that the Forum is not available to students.
  5. To specify the time period in which the topic is available: 
    • Click on the radial button next to Topic is visible for a specific date range.
    • To specify the start date select Has Start Date use the Month, Day, and Year pull-down menus to specify the starting date or to select a start date from the calendar click on the SELECT DATE calendar
    • To specify an end date use the Month, Day, and Year pull-down menus to specify the ending date or to select a date from the calendar click on the SELECT DATE calendar icon. 
  6. To terminate the discussion but keep the topic visible:
    • In the Locking Options section click on the Show locking options toggle button.
    • To lock the forum indefinitely click on the Lock Topic radial button.
    • To set a date range during which the topic is unlocked, click on the radial button next to Unlock topic for a specific date range and select the appropriate dates.
  7. Click on the Save button or to save the Topic, click on the Save button. The forum and topic(s) have been added.

Modifying Forums & Topics

Once your forum and topic have been created instructors can modify the settings.

Modifying the Order of Forums or Topics

  1. From the Course Home page on the Navigation bar click on the DISCUSSIONS link. The Forums & Topics List pane appears.
  2. Click on the RE-ORDER 2 arrows button. The Re-order pane appears. 
  3. Use the Sort Order pull-down menus to change the numbers for the forums or topics you wish to reorder. 
  4. Click on the SAVE button. The order of the forum(s) or topic(s) is modified.

Removing Forums or Topics

A forum or topic can be removed at any time. When you remove a forum all corresponding topics and messages are also removed.

  1. From the Course Home page on the Navigation bar click on the DISCUSSIONS link. The Forms & topics List pane appears.
  2. Click on the DELETE trashcan icon. The Delete pane appears.
  3. Click in the checkbox next to the forum(s) or topic(s) you wish to remove then click on the DELETE SELECTED button. A confirmation dialog box appears.
  4. Click on the YES button. The forum(s) or topic(s) are removed.

Modifying Forum/Topic Names and Descriptions

After the forum or topic is created,you may want to change its name and/or description.

  1. From the Course Home page on the Navigation bar click on the DISCUSSIONS link. The Forums & Topics List pane appears.
  2. For the topic or forum you want to rename click on the EDIT edit button  button. The Edit pane appears. 
  3. Make the desired changes to the forum or topic.
  4. Click on the SAVE button. The forum or topic is  updated.

Grading a Topic and Connecting it to the Grades Area

Set topic properties for assessment

Grading Discussions

  1. Click on the Edit button next to the Topic and select the Assessment tab.
  2. Choose the Grade Item from the dropdown list or create a new grade item by clicking on the New Grade Item link.
  3. Enter the out of score. (This score must match the score you placed in the Grade Item.)
  4. (Not Recommended) If desired, choose whether to assess every message (you will enter a score for EVERY posted message and the system will calculate the score) and the calculation method. Choose whether unscored messages will be counted as 0.

    If you do not choose this, you will only enter a grade for the entire discussion topic.

 Assess messages 

To grade a message or an entire topic:

  1.  Navigate to the Discussions area by clicking on the Discussion link in the red navigation bar.Click on the Assessment icon next to the appropriate Topic. assess button
  2. Click on the Topic Score link under the student's name.

    Topic Score
  3. In the Message area, read student responses.

    sendgradesarea
  4. Enter a score in the Topic Score text box then, click on the checkbox next to the word Graded to send the Topic Score to the Grades area.
  5. Click on the Save button.

Reading and Responding to Posts

Discussion Viewing Options

There are two viewing options available to instructors and students [shown below]--Grid Style and Reading Style.

Grid Style

discussions_grid

Reading Style

discussions_readingstyle

  1. From the Course Home page click on the DISCUSSIONS link. The Forums and Topics List pane appears.
  2. On the Topic bar click on the SETTINGS button. The Discussion Settings dialog box appears. 
  3. Choose the appropriate setting.
  4. Click on the SAVE button. The changes are applied.

Composing Messages in the Discussions Area

Instructors cannot create a Topic without creating a Forum all discussions take place on the Topic level. Grading of student posts takes place on the Topic level only.

discussions_compose

  1. The Back to Forum & Topics Lists link provides easy access to the main Forum and Topics page.
  2. The Compose bar performs the following functions:

     Button

     Description

    compose

     Composes a new message within the topic

    refresh

     Refreshes the window

    mark all read

     Marks all messages as having been read

    hide search

     Shows or hides the Search bar        


    Drop-down Menu

    Threaded

    When messages are viewed as threaded they appear in the order of their posting date.  Replies to messages are indented under the message to which they are replying.
    Unthreaded When messages are viewed as unthreaded replies are not indented but appear flush with all other messages.  They are sorted by date regardless of whether the message is a reply or an original post.
    All Messages Displays all messages read and unread.
    Unread Only Displays only messages that have not been read.
    Flagged Only Displays only messages that have been flagged for importance.

  3. The Message Actions bar performs the following functions:

    Button

    Description

    envelope

    Marks selected messages in the topic as read

    envelope with star

    Marks selected messages in the topic as unread

    trashcan

    Faculty Only: Deletes selected messages

    Printer

    Allows instructors to view selected messages in a printable format (Grid View Only)

    flag

    Click on the gray Flag button to flag selected messages

Compose and Reply to Messages

  1. From the Course Home page click on the DISCUSSIONS link. The Forums and Topics List pane appears.
  2. Enter the desired Topic by clicking on the Topic link.
  3. Click on the Compose button. 
  4. Compose a new message by clicking on the Compose button.
    • Fill out the Compose form.
    • If desired, click on the Pin checkbox. Instructors can "Pin" the message to the top of the Topic area. A "Pinned" message will transfer when the Discussions area is copied to another course (ORG UNIT).
    • Click on the Post button.
  5. Reply to a message by clicking on the Reply link. Notice that

Discussions: Using the Search Feature

The Search feature allows the instructor to search all forums and topics in the course for messages pertaining to specific terms.  This feature is specifically useful if you want to see how many students wrote about a specific subject.

  1. From the Course Home page on the Navigation bar click on the DISCUSSIONS link. The Forums & Topics List pane appears.
  2. Click on a Topic. The Topic pane appears.
  3. Click on the Show Search Options link or in the Search For text box type the appropriate search word(s).

    showsearchoptions
      
  4. SHOW SEARCH OPTIONS:
    • Select Start date - Use the pull-down menus to specify the appropriate time constraints
    • Select End date - Use the pull-down menus to specify the appropriate time constraints
  5. Click on the SEARCH button. The Search results are displayed.
  6. To read a message from the results list click on the message title. The message appears in a new window.
  7. Click on the Clear Search button to clear the search and view all the Topic messages.

Linking to a Discussion in Course Content

Desire2Learn allows you to link to discussions right from a course content area.  This allows users to easily discuss the topic with just one click, instead of having to access through the Discussion area.

Understanding the D2L Platform: Restrictions

Restrictions placed in the Content area do not automatically update the restrictions in the Discussions area. Although students will not be able to access the Forum or Topic from the Content area they will be able to view the Forum or Topic from the Discussions link. Therefore, placing restrictions on a Forum or Topic is a two-fold process. First, instructors need to create a link to the Discussions area using the steps listed below.  Second, instructors need to go to the Discussions area to place restrictions on the Forum or Topic level.

  1. From the Course Home page on the Navigation bar, click on the CONTENT link.The Manage Content pane appears.
  2. For the desired module click ADD TOPIC page plus icon. The New Topic pane appears.
  3. Click on the QUICKLINK quicklink button icon. The New Topic - QuickLink pane appears.

    course content 1
  4. From the Parent Module pull-down menu select the desired module.
  5. In the Title text box type the topic title.  If the title is long, instructors may want to add Short Title (Optional Step)
  6. Click on the QUICKLINK quicklink button 2  icon. The Insert QuickLink dialog box appears.

    insertquicklink
  7. From the Category pull-down list, select Discussions. The dialog box refreshes.
  8. From the Discussions pull-down list, select the desired discussion topic.
  9. Click on the INSERT button. The Insert Quicklink window closes.
  10. Click on the SAVE button.  The Content Manager pane appears.
  11. Click on the Manage Content link to view the link in the Content area. When students click the link, they will be taken directly to the linked discussion.

Viewing Statistics

Viewing discussion statistics provides the instructor with information to help him or her keep track of the class' discussion activities. These activities include the number of messages authored or read by a specific student.

Viewing Statistics by Users

Viewing statistics by users allows the instructor to view each student's activity in discussions.  This is helpful if discussion participation is required and students are being graded on their activity.  Desire2Learn provides a statistics graph showing how many messages a student has read and how many he/she has posted.

  1. From the Course Home page on the Navigation bar click on the DISCUSSIONS link. The Forums & Topics List pane appears.
  2. In the Discussion Areas widget, click on the STATISTICS  discussions_statistics button. The Statistics pane appears.
  3. From the View By pull-down menu select User.

    discussions_stats
  4. To view more detailed statistics for each user click the desired name
  5. When finished in the Discussion Areas widget click on the DISCUSSION LIST link. You are returned to the Forums & Topics List pane.

Viewing Statistics by Forums and Topics

Viewing statistics by forums and topics allows the instructor to view how many posts exist in each topic.

  1. From the Course Home page on the Navigation bar, click on the DISCUSSIONS link. The Forums and Topics List page appears.
  2. In the Discussion Areas widget click on the STATISTICS button. The Statistics pane appears.
  3. Select the Forums and Topics tab. A list of Forums and Topics is displayed. To view more detailed statistics for each topic click the desired topic.
  4. When finished click on the DISCUSSION LIST button. The Forums & Topics List page appears.

Discussions: Working with Message Flags

Flagging messages set them apart from other messages in a discussion.  Flags serve as reminders or to signify a message's importance. Flags are a personal setting; only the person flagging the message sees it as flagged.

Flagging Messages

Flagging Messages: Toolbar Option

  1. From the Course Home page click on the DISCUSSIONS link. The Forums & Topics List pane appears.
  2. From the list click the topic you wish to view. The Discussion Topic pane appears with all messages posted within that topic shown. 
  3. Next to the message you want to flag, click on the FLAG flag button. The message is now flagged.

Flagging Messages: Preview Pane Option

  1. From the Course Home page click DISCUSSIONS
    The Forums & Topics List pane appears.
  2. From the list click the topic you wish to view. The Discussion Topic pane appears with all messages posted within that topic shown. 
  3. Click the subject of the message you wish to view.
  4. In the Preview pane to the left of the message, click on the FLAG flag button. The flag turns red indicated that the selected message is now flagged.

Removing Flags

If you have flagged a message that is no longer important the flag can easily be removed.

Removing a Single Flag

  1. From the Course Home page click on the DISCUSSIONS button. The Forums & Topics List pane appears.
  2. From the list click the topic you wish to view. The Discussion Topic pane appears with all messages posted within that topic shown.
  3. Click on the message you wish to view
  4. In the Preview pane to the left of the message subject, click on the UNFLAG flag button. The flag turns white indicating that the Flag has been removed.