D2L in the Faculty of Arts: 4 Supports

[A message for teaching faculty in the Faculty of Arts. If you’re a Teaching Assistant, click here.]

As we approach the Fall term, the Faculty of Arts wants to help you use Desire2Learn: the system that has — as you know — replaced Blackboard. It gives you the ability to manage courses, email students, collect and grade assignments, run online discussions, track student grades, and more.

You have at least four types of support:

  • Training: 1-hour introductions & more focused sessions
  • References: in print and online
  • Coaches: dedicated experts in the Faculty of Arts
  • Course Administrators: dedicated supports in every department

To expand on each in turn:

1 /  Training

[UPDATED 2014-08-22]: There are eight dates (not four, as previously reported) exclusively for faculty members in Arts. All are in MB 203B (MacKimmie Block). 

There are also 3 different topics. Choose a topic, and click on the date below to register. Each workshop has 20 spaces, so some will already be full.

TOPIC 1  |  Getting Started in D2L: 1-hour introductions to the system: activating courses; navigating around; building your course content (modules, files, links, descriptions, &c.); contacting students; and so on

TOPIC 2  |  Setting up Your Gradebook: An orientation to D2L Grades, and adding items to the gradebook to reflect your course assignments. Time permitting, it will also cover the basics of Dropbox, the assignment-submission system that integrates with your gradebook and/or rubrics, and allows you to return feedback to students. You can even grade on your iPad [see this video].

TOPIC 3  |  Open Work session: A drop-in session for those looking for more details on specific tasks and capabilities.

There are also a wealth of longer, university-wide workshops focusing on specific tasks, like quizzes/surveys, assignments & grades, modules & calendars, &c.

2 / References

{ a } Print

Watch your department mailbox for a ‘cheat sheet’ on these topics, or click here for the PDF:

  • Making courses available to students
  • E-mailing students
  • Combining course sites for multiple lectures/sections
  • Copying course materials
  • Enrolling TAs, or other staff assistants

{ b } Online

  • These five YouTube videos, created specifically for the U of C, cover the basics.
  • D2L’s own Resource Center [sic] is more comprehensive, and searchable.
  • Finally, an internet search for questions like “how do I create modules in D2L?” offers plenty of resources outside the university, though their interfaces will look different from ours.

3 / Coaches

To complement the IT Support system, the Faculty of Arts will offer in-house coaches trained in the system to offer dedicated advice and help for instructors. Coaches will be housed here in the Program Information Centre (SS102) in August/September and again in January 2015. Details are in this separate post.

4 / Course Administrators

Your CA is a dedicated support person in every department, and will already have been in touch. The CA can add users to courses (e.g. your Teaching Assistants); export grades for Peoplesoft; and provide other department-specific support. He or she complements the coaches, and can direct you to the support you need.

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