30 April 2013

Dropbox Draft Feedback

Feedback for dropbox submissions can be saved in draft status. This makes it possible for instructors to publish feedback simultaneously for an entire class. The Save Draft button is the first part of this process. Once ready to make the feedback available to students, the Folder Submissions page can be used to publish the feedback for all students (first click in the check box to Select all rows, then click the Publish Feedback link).

Compose and Reply in Discussions

A discussion topic (this is not an option for a discussion forum) can be set up to require that students must compose a message (i.e., start a new thread) before they can read anything else that their classmates have written inside that topic. By turning this option on, instructors can more readily assume that students have not read what their classmates have posted prior to writing something in that topic. If this is turned on, the student can read and reply to other other messages after writing a new one.

The discussions statistics section of the User Progress page (accessed from the Classlist, not the Discussions Statistics page) shows a different count for messages that were original ("Authored") and responses to classmates ("Replied")

24 April 2013


The content tool includes a feature called Course Overview, which instructors always see but students do not unless it is empty. Also instructors can drag and drop files directly into the browser window, and there is a file viewer so that students do not have to have a local desktop application to see certain files*. These features and more are demonstrated in the video for D2L content.

*: The following file types can be viewed with Desire2Learn's inline file viewer (all other types must be downloaded before they can be viewed):
  • Images:
    • Graphics Interchange Format (.gif)
    • Joint Photographic Experts Group (.jpg, .jpeg)
    • Portable Network Graphics (.png)
  • Text:
    • HyperText Markup Language (.htm, .html)
    • Microsoft Word (.doc, .docx)
    • Plain Text (.txt)
    • Portable Document Format (.pdf)
  • Presentations:
    • Microsoft PowerPoint (.ppt, .pptx)

23 April 2013

One Dropbox, Different Due Dates

In a multiple-enrollment course offering, you may have an assignment that has a different due date for each of the classes. For example, the paper for your MW class may have a due date of April 18 and the same paper for your TTh class may have a due date of April 19. There is a one-to-one relationship between a dropbox folder and a grade item, so using the same dropbox folder for both classes requires use of "Special Access" to give students in one class a different due date. Students will see the correct due date when they visit the dropbox folder inside the course offering but (as noted in the video), the automatic calendar entry for the folder will only show the "main" due date. [VIDEO DEMO]

Another option for this is to create different dropbox folders for each section, which could have different due dates and could each be conditionally released so that they are visible only to students enrolled in that section. However, this would complicate the Grades tool. Individual grade items can be conditionally released, but then the final grade item would include both of the items. So then the Grades calculation setting to drop ungraded items should be selected.

Here are some images of a sample involving Frodo Baggins and Bilbo Baggins, who are enrolled in different sections in the same course offering:
  1. The Manage Grades page. Note that two of the grade items are set to be conditionally released and that their maximum points differ:
  2. Frodo's Grades page (he is enrolled in the TTh section). Note his maximum points for his Final Calculated Grade do not include the item Quiz 2, which is not yet scored.
  3. Bilbo's Grades page (he is enrolled in the MWF section):

17 April 2013

News Tool and the Text Editor

The News tool allows instructors to post important course information in a conspicuous place. The text editor includes options for linking to web sites outside of Desire2Learn and a handy tool to include multimedia.

Course Homepage and the Course Selector

The Desire2Learn course homepage includes several widgets that provide useful information to students and instructors. The persistent minibar allows easy navigation between course offerings and can be organized to make it more efficient.

04 April 2013

Color Codes Used on CRC Course Offerings

Here are the color codes to match the defaults in CRC's course offerings:

Color Code Where Used
Navbar text, widget titlebar, CRC logo
Bottom of page background
Navbar links (hover color)
Background behind navbar links
Background behind course homepage and name
CRC logo, border at bottom of navbar