Updated Course Information Module

The use of the “course information module” has been identified as a best practice.   See the post, and podcast episode, for more information about this best practice.

The Course Information Module contains 5 files (Instructor Information; Syllabus, Books, and Materials; Course Objectives, Evaluation, and Structure; Policies; and D2L Help) that provide learners with all they need to know about the course and the instructor.  The Import/Export/Copy Tool in D2L is used to import the Zip file.  It will import as a module and show up below all the other modules in the course site.  The module can them be moved up to the top of the list of modules.

If you already have the Course Information Module imported, but need to add the D2L Help page, then you need this zip file to import that page.

Rick W. Burkett runs the John A. Logan College Teaching and Learning Center, teaches history, and heads an educational nonprofit. He publishes blogs on a wide variety of topics, including history, teaching and learning, student success, and teaching online.
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Best Practices: Course Information Module

Best Practices -- Course Information Module 640

I created the course information module to replace the old Course Information Book that had become so popular in Moodle.  It was designed to create an organized place for all of the important information required by the Online Assessment Rubric, i.e., instructor contact information, syllabus, required textbooks and materials, policies, learning objectives.  While much of this information is also in the syllabus, it is important that this information appear in multiple places in an online course.  Students have now become accustomed to seeing this module in courses.  I would encourage the use of this module in all of your classes, not just the completely online courses.

The course information module is available as a zip file for download in this post:  http://learningd2l.com/2016/11/16/updated-course-information-module-2/

 

Rick W. Burkett runs the John A. Logan College Teaching and Learning Center, teaches history, and heads an educational nonprofit. He publishes blogs on a wide variety of topics, including history, teaching and learning, student success, and teaching online.
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Best Practices: Email Settings In Desire2Learn

Best-Practices-Email-Settings-300x168

This video shows best practices for email in Desire2Learn, including how to have the system save copies of all messages sent and setting up an email signature.
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Rick W. Burkett runs the John A. Logan College Teaching and Learning Center, teaches history, and heads an educational nonprofit. He publishes blogs on a wide variety of topics, including history, teaching and learning, student success, and teaching online.
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Desire2Learn Course Information Module

The “Course Information Module” is a module meant to be the first module in a Desire2Learn course site. The module is designed with 4 pages: Instructor Information; Syllabus, Books, and Materials; Course Objectives, Evaluation, and Structure; and Policies. Those pages are designed to contain all of the information required by in Section One of the college’s “Online Course Assessment Rubric.”  Some of the pages contain some “boiler plate” text that can be either used by instructors or replaced with their own information or policies.

The module can be downloaded from the link below and then imported into a Desire2Learn course site using the import/export/copy tool.

Rick W. Burkett runs the John A. Logan College Teaching and Learning Center, teaches history, and heads an educational nonprofit. He publishes blogs on a wide variety of topics, including history, teaching and learning, student success, and teaching online.
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Updated Course Information Module

The course information module for D2L has been updated to include new URLs for some of the resources listed on the various pages in the module.  Those  URLs changed when the new website was deployed.  If you have the pages in your course your should update the link on the policies page under plagiarism.  The link to the Student’s Rights and Responsibilities should now point to: http://www.jalc.edu/files/uploads/global/rights_responsibilities_manual/pdfs/article4.pdf.  The link to Netiquette on policies pages should now point here: http://www.jalc.edu/online-learning/netiquette.

I have updated the import package that is in the D2L Users Group with these new URLs.  If you would like to import this package into your courses, go to the D2L Users Group site, click on “Content”, click on the “Course Information” module, and click on the Package (it is a zip file).  To import the files into your course site, just click on the zip file and download it.  Go to the D2L course site where you would like the files to reside, then go to the “tools” menu and select “edit course”, and then select “import / export / copy files”.  Use the import function to import the zip file into your course.

Rick W. Burkett runs the John A. Logan College Teaching and Learning Center, teaches history, and heads an educational nonprofit. He publishes blogs on a wide variety of topics, including history, teaching and learning, student success, and teaching online.
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Best Practices: Assignment Grader App (iOS)

Best Practices Icon

Among the best practices I have found for the Assignment App are:

  1. Never logout: You do not want to log out of the app.  Instead enable the “Pin Lock” to protect the privacy of the files you have downloaded.
  2. Enable the “Pin Lock”: Use the “Enable Pin Lock” switch in the settings (the settings gear is in the upper right-hand corner of the app.  The 4 digit pin will provide privacy for the app without having to logout of the app itself.
  3. Synch early and often: Make sure to synch your app regularly, and especially when you think you might be loosing wireless access or moving to another network (i.e., boing between your office and the classroom, or school and home, etc.).
  4. Make sure to have a stable wireless connection before synching: Make sure you have a stable connection before synching to the server.  You can do this by connecting some other app or webpage before synching your Dropboxes.  It is possible for you to have a wireless connection, without being able to pass Internet traffic though that connection.  (I tested this and had an issue which caused me to receive a message that my credentials had expired, requiring me to logout of the app and log back in.  It was an issue with my wireless router, which I had to reset.  In the process, I lost the grades I had not synche–but not the feedback.  Although I have not tested it yet, this could be an issue on public wireless networks where you have to agree to their terms by opening a webpage before you can connect to other Internet based resources.  So test your connectivity before synching.)
  5. Don’t grade more documents between synchs than you are willing to loose:  There is a small chance you could loose the grades, feedback, and annotations you have added to assignments you grade if your “credentials expire”.  This is something we are trying to isolate and identify the causes.
  6. After grading a group of documents in a dropbox, synch the documents while still on the Class List page:  If you go back to the list of dropboxes and happen to click the download icon to the left of the dropbox’s name, it will re-download the documents and overwrite all of the assessments you have done since the last synch.
Rick W. Burkett runs the John A. Logan College Teaching and Learning Center, teaches history, and heads an educational nonprofit. He publishes blogs on a wide variety of topics, including history, teaching and learning, student success, and teaching online.
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Best Practice: Open Websites that Require Login or Require Enabled Cookies Into a New Window

In Desire2Learn, if you are linking to a website that requires students to login or that requires “cookies” be enabled, then you need to have that website open in a new window.  If the website is opened within the Desire2Learn environment (like in the content viewer), then students will most like be unable to login to the site.  This also applies to sites that include forms or surveys that must be filled out.  Most of these sites require that cookies be enabled so that the user’s session can be tracked throughout their progress through the form or survey.

Please note: The errors generated by these websites might not always point you to this issue.  A textbook publisher site that requires students to login or enter a code could return an error that cookies must be enabled.  If the browser is checked it will show that in fact cookies are enabled.  The problem is that the content viewer in Desire2Learn does not handle the cookie information sent by the website.  The website returns an error, because the website’s server expects that behavior when cookies have been disabled.  However, that is not the issue in this case.

The video below demonstrates how to open a website in a new window, rather than in Desire2Learn’s content viewer.

Rick W. Burkett runs the John A. Logan College Teaching and Learning Center, teaches history, and heads an educational nonprofit. He publishes blogs on a wide variety of topics, including history, teaching and learning, student success, and teaching online.
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D2L Best Practices: Opening Content Outside of the Desire2Learn Content Viewer

When linking to outside websites and to some documents in your files area in Desire2Learn, it is a best practice to have that content open in a new browser tab or window. There are a couple of reasons for this.

  • First, web browsers often block or give warnings when you try to open “mixed content” on a single webpage. (Mixed content blocking or warnings happen when you are on a secure site–one with a secure certificate and an “https” in the URL–and some elements displayed on that page are from a “non-secure” site–or one that does not have an “s” after the “http” in the URL.) Both FireFox and Chrome browsers block this kind of content by default. (See the links below for more information on these browsers.)
  • Second, documents (Word, PowerPoint, and PDF formats) with active hyperlinks in them have the links blocked by the Desire2Learn content viewer.  This post addresses this issue specifically.

The video below shows how to open items in a new browser window to avoid these things from happening.

Post and video on Google Chrome blocking mixed content.

Post and video on Mozilla FireFox blocking mixed content.

Rick W. Burkett runs the John A. Logan College Teaching and Learning Center, teaches history, and heads an educational nonprofit. He publishes blogs on a wide variety of topics, including history, teaching and learning, student success, and teaching online.
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Best Practices: Opening A Document In A New (non-D2L Content Viewer) Window

For those wrestling with the issue of Desire2Learn blocking links in documents displayed in the D2L Content Viewer, there is one workaround that seems to work across web browsers and computer operating systems.  The workaround makes use of D2L “Documents” to link to files and then display them outside of the D2L Content Viewer.  Please note that this workaround requires the use of PDF documents to work properly.  However, Word and PowerPoint documents are easily saved in the PDF format by using the 2007, 2010, 2013 versions of Word and/or PowerPoint on Windows-based computers. All Apple Macintosh computers can save files in the PDF format. Continue reading “Best Practices: Opening A Document In A New (non-D2L Content Viewer) Window”

Rick W. Burkett runs the John A. Logan College Teaching and Learning Center, teaches history, and heads an educational nonprofit. He publishes blogs on a wide variety of topics, including history, teaching and learning, student success, and teaching online.
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