August’s Continuous Delivery Updates

(This list is not all-inclusive. It only shows those changes that will impact faculty the most. The date the updates will take place changes from month to month. You can expect the following updates to be in place by the end of the month.)

Content – Organizational Shared files

Instructors can now view and add files from the Shared Files area when using the Upload/Create button and choosing Add from Manage Files. If instructors try to edit a file in the Shared Files area, they are prompted to save a copy of the file in the Course Offering Files area.

Add a file to Content from Shared Files

Add a file to Content from Shared Files

Intelligent Agents – Tool Improvements

  • A new history page allows users creating Intelligent Agents to see each time the agent runs, which users it identifies, what emails have been sent, and details on any errors that occurred during the agent run. You can view this page by clicking View History on the Edit Agent It is also available from the context menu of the agent on the Agent List page. You can view the history of the most recently executed run directly from Results of Last Run in the agent list. This lists how many users were identified, and/or error information.
  • A new mode for running Intelligent Agents allows users to select Practice Run from the agent context menu on the Agent List This runs the agent, and reports back a list of users who met the specified criteria. Users identified in a practice run are not notified or emailed. A practice run does not count as an action when using the Take action only the first time the agent’s criteria are satisfied for a user type of agent. As with existing Intelligent Agents, the agent must be turned on to trigger a practice run. In conjunction with the new history page, users can also now see the history of all practice runs.
  • In Intelligent Agents Settings, instructors can now set custom values for the Name that emails come from and Reply-To address for responses so that the automated emails can appear to come from the instructor instead of from a helpdesk. Learners can reply directly to the agent emails and replies are directed to the instructor. If instructors want their emails to continue to come from a helpdesk and do not want to have a reply-to function, they don’t have to take any action to maintain the existing behaviour. The course values for Name that emails come from and Reply-To address for responses are not copied during copy course components and instructors need to update these fields post-copy.
    When an instructor uses custom values, the Name that emails come from displays to learners as the person from whom the email is sent, both in the email header and in Messages alerts in the minibar. When learners reply to an email, responses route to the email address specified in Reply-To address for responses.
  • There is no longer a 4000-character limit on email text from Intelligent Agents. This is now unlimited.
  • The Agent Name field in an Intelligent Agent previously truncated to 50 characters. It now has an available length of 128 characters.
  • Existing Intelligent Agents without any conditions attached to them (“empty” agents) no longer run and spam all users. When an empty agent is triggered, it fails with an error and is automatically turned off. This error info is available on the history page.
  • Users can now copy Intelligent Agents within the same course from a new context menu item for each agent listed in the Agent List. The copy is called “Copy of <name>” and is turned off by default.
The results of agent runs can now be viewed on a history page

The results of agent runs can now be viewed on a history page

Users creating Intelligent Agents can now test them with a Practice Run option

Users creating Intelligent Agents can now test them with a Practice Run option

Instructors can now customize the From name in Intelligent Agent emails

Instructors can now customize the From name in Intelligent Agent emails

Instructors can now also receive replies to Intelligent Agent emails directly

Instructors can now also receive replies to Intelligent Agent emails directly

July’s Continuous Delivery Updates

(This list is not all-inclusive. It only shows those changes that will impact faculty the most. The date the updates will take place changes from month to month. You can expect the following updates to be in place by the end of the month.)

Discussions – Copy discussion thread replies

An update was made to the Discussions tool and now users can optionally select discussion thread replies when copying a discussion thread from one discussion topic to another.

Discussions - Copy dialog box

Discussions – Copy dialog box

Discussions – Show forum description in child topics

The Display forum description in topics check box has been added in the Edit forum details page and it provides instructors the option to display a discussion forum description within a discussion topic description.

Some instructors add assignment instructions as the description of the discussion forum, but this information is not available within the discussion topics, only on the discussions list page.

Allowing the discussion forum description to appear within discussion topics helps avoid duplicated effort by the instructors who might post common instructions or codes of conduct in each discussion topic’s description. This is especially helpful in group discussions, where the topic description is usually duplicated (manually) for each discussion topic.

Discussions - Edit Forum Details

Discussions – Edit Forum Details

Discussions Topic Description

Discussions Topic Description

June’s Continuous Delivery Updates

(This list is not all-inclusive. It only shows those changes that will impact faculty the most. The date the updates will take place changes from month to month. You can expect the following updates to be in place by the end of the month.)

Grades – Automatically set the grade item score based on a rubric score

When you click Save and Record in the rubric pop-up window, the Overall Score of a numeric rubric transfers automatically to the learner’s grade. Click Save if you do not want to transfer a numeric rubric score to the learner’s grade.

A score transfers automatically only when the rubric has an Overall Score.

Groups – Automatic creation of discussion topics

When instructors create a new group category and choose to setup group discussion topics, if they add a new group later because of additional learner enrollment, the associated discussion topics are automatically created. This applies to groups instructors manually create at a later date. Instructors no longer need to manually create group discussion topics if they add a new group to a group category after the setup steps.

Groups – Group enrollment category: Single user member-specific

There is a new group category type called Single user, member-specific groups. Using this group category creates a group with a single user where the first name and last name of the learner is the name of the group. When a new learner is enrolled in the course a group is automatically created for them. Instructors no longer have to rename groups of one.

Image of the New Category options

Image of the New Category options

Groups – Descriptive naming for discussion topics

When instructors create a group discussion topic in the Groups tool the name of the group is now the same as a topic created from the Discussions tool. The topics are created with the format <group category name> – <group prefix>#. For example, Final Project – Group 2.

April’s Continuous Delivery Updates

(This list is not all-inclusive. It only shows those changes that will impact faculty the most. The date the updates will take place changes from month to month. You can expect the following updates to be in place by the end of the month.)

Awards – Added to Release Conditions

Awards have been added to existing release conditions

User Progress – Course Access progress indicator

A Course Access progress indicator is now included in the User Progress tool, indicating the days on which a course was accessed. The progress indicator is available from the Course Access Progress Indicator page and the Course Access overview page within the Summary. Download States for content modules, course files, and for all content are available within Content Progress.

Learners and instructors can review a summary view of the Course Access for a learner.

Course Access Summary indicating when a user last logged in and accessed the course.

Course Access Summary indicating when a user last logged in and accessed the course.

The Course Access progress indicator provides a more granular login history:

The Course Access indicator in the User Progress tool

The Course Access indicator in the User Progress tool

Administrators can include the Course Access progress indicator in the User Progress report:

Specific progress indicators that are selected by Administrators appear in the User Progress tool.

Specific progress indicators that are selected by Administrators appear in the User Progress tool.

Grades Export

Desire2Learn instructors have the ability to export their grades directly from their course’s Grades area into Washburn’s student information system (Banner). This process, Grades Export, transfers the Final Calculated Grade or Final Adjusted Grade for each student from Grades to that student’s corresponding transcript location.

This process is available to all instructors at the end of each term. It is also available at midterm to those instructors that are required to submit midterm grades for their students. Instructors who are required to submit midterm grades are notified by administration.

Both midterm and final Grades Export are available to instructors for several days following the end of the term (or midterm). Announcements are sent to instructors regarding this window prior to availability.

Two sets of instructions are provided for Grades Export:

Exporting Final Grades from D2L to Banner describes how to submit final grades from the Desire2Learn Grades area.

Exporting Midterm Grades from D2L to Banner describes how to submit midterm grades from the Desire2Learn Grades area.

 

Master Syllabus Addendum to Course Syllabus

Instructors are encouraged to include additional Washburn University information with their course syllabus. This Master Syllabus is located at this link off of the VPAA webpage: http://www.washburn.edu/faculty-staff/faculty-resources/policies-forms/forms/master-syllabus.docx

The updated Master Syllabus is also available for Desire2Learn instructors to link to from within their courses. Linking to the Master Syllabus provides the benefit that any changes made to the original will appear the next time a user selects the link. Additionally, if contents are copied from one course to another course, the copied link will continue to point to the most up-to-date material.

The steps to link to the Master Syllabus from with a D2L course are:

  1. Go to the module where you place your course syllabus
  2. Click the New button
  3. Select New Link from the menu
  4. Type University Syllabus Additions in the Title box
  5. Delete http://from the URL box
  6. Copy and paste the following text into the URL box: https://d2l.washburn.edu/shared/Master-Syllabus/master-syllabus.html
  7. Click the Create button

 

Instructor Dashboard and Course Setup Checklist

The Instructor Dashboard and Course Setup Checklist is a landing page and workflow for instructors that provides a welcome tour and task list for a quick and easy way build out upcoming Desire2Learn courses.

The Instructor Dashboard is part of a Personal Dashboard tool. The dashboard displays an instructor’s full course list, with the ability to set current courses as favorites for easier access. Instructors can also view a notification if their courses are not visible to students yet and access their own profiles from the Dashboard view. If an instructor needs to access their organization landing page, they can select the Classic Homepage link. Instructors can also choose their default landing page to be either the Classic Homepage or the Instructor Dashboard by clicking the Settings link. This will change which page they see when you log in to D2L Learning Environment. The Settings Link also allows you to reset the Welcome tour to view it again.

Instructor Dashboard

The Course Setup Checklist contains a list of suggested course setup tasks with shortcuts to the tools. Tours appear on those pages to demonstrate how to get started on the task. The Checklist lets instructors keep track of completed items. The Course Setup Checklist can also be accessed from the top of course homepages when there are still items to complete. This tool is ideal for new D2L users, as well as for experienced instructors, as it helps fast-track the process of setting up a course in D2L Learning Environment. The Instructor Dashboard must be enabled first for the required Course Setup Checklist permissions to appear. Administrators must set the permissions for instructors to view the Course Setup Checklist.

Course Setup Checklist

Only Desire2Learn instructors will have these two homepage options. Students only see the classic homepage.

 

October’s Continuous Delivery Updates

(This list is not all-inclusive. It only shows those changes that will impact faculty the most. The date the updates will take place changes from month to month. You can expect the following updates to be in place by the end of the month.)

Copy Course Components – improved copy content settings

The Content Display Settings copy the settings controlled by course configuration, including Content Arrangement and Navigation display options, and completion status tracking. You can access these settings from the Content > Settings popup window. Previously, if you selected Content display settings from the Copy Selected Components workflow, these items were not properly copied. This update ensures that the Content Settings are all copied as expected when you use the Copy Course Components option.

The middle part of this dialog (Content Authoring) contains user settings that are not included in a course copy.

10-5-3-1

Bulk Course Configuration – Content Display Settings

QuickLinks tool no longer inserts http:// by default

The URL field in the Quicklinks tool no longer has http:// automatically inserted to assist users in forming URLs with correct syntax. The field is now blank before you enter a URL.

User Progress – Identify when learners access their courses

In the User Progress tool, instructors can now easily identify when learners access their courses. From the new Course Access indicator, instructors can view detailed course access information such as when a learner last accessed the course and the total number of days they accessed the course.

The Course Access indicator in the User Progress tool

The Course Access indicator in the User Progress tool

User Progress – Identify if learners download content

In the User Progress tool, instructors can now identify if learners download content at the topic, module, or table of contents level. Instructors can view download metrics from the Summary and Content indicators for a specific course. When combined with other content access metrics, this provides instructors with a more detailed picture of learner engagement.

Content Progress showing a download from Table of Contents (all course files), a Module download (Week 2), and individual Topic downloads

Content Progress showing a download from Table of Contents (all course files), a Module download (Week 2), and individual Topic downloads

 

Respondus LockDown Browser & Monitor Dashboard Update

The Respondus LockDown Browser & Dashboard has been moved inside Desire2Learn. This change was mentioned in August’s Continuous Delivery Updates.

This interface is accessible to instructors through Assessments > Quizzes. On the Quiz List, the fourth tab is labeled Respondus LockDown Browser & Monitor.

These options being located where instructors control quizzes will make the Respondus LockDown Browser & Monitor Dashboard widget obsolete, and it will be deprecated and eventually removed.

September’s Continuous Delivery Updates

(This list is not all-inclusive. It only shows those changes that will impact faculty the most.)

Changes to Copy Selected Components

In order to mitigate the risk that large courses may result in a timeout for users, the process is moving to an asynchronous workflow. Moving the selected components workflow into an asynchronous job avoids copy timeouts when you are copying large courses. You are able to start the copy process and check the progress on the History page, which enables you to perform other tasks while the copy process is underway.

Copy Course Components, Import/Export/Copy Components page showing the ability to select View History

Copy Course Components, Import/Export/Copy Components page showing the ability to select View History

Copy Course Components - View History

Copy Course Components – View History

Groups – Usability and administration enhancements

Enhancements have been made to the Groups tool that enable learners to join groups more easily, and give instructors and administrators the option to set up and manage groups more efficiently. The enhancements are as follows:

  • When creating or editing a group category, the Enrollment Type called # of Groups of # – Self Enrollment has been changed to # of Groups, Capacity of # – Self Enrollment to clarify its usage.
  • When creating or editing a group category, a Group Prefix field is now present.
  • When creating or editing a group category that supports self enrollment, a Set Self Enrollment Expiry Date option is now available.
  • When creating or editing a category, and when Set Self Enrollment Expiry Date is selected, the Allocate unenrolled users after Self Enrollment Expiry Date option can also be selected.
  • Once a category and groups with capacities have been created, capacity markers display (in the form x/y where x is the number of enrolled students and y is the capacity).
  • Learners can now see the names of the members of each group before they enroll.
  • Learners can now leave a group after they have self enrolled if they choose to enroll into a different group.
  • When enrolling learners in groups, there is a configurable Advanced Search Options link that opens a custom search and enroll page, if instructors want to use additional data to create groups of learners.
  • New configuration variables have been added that can be turned on to enable enhancements.
Updated Enrollment Type called # of Groups, Capacity of # - Self Enrollment  and Group Prefix field on the New Category page

Updated Enrollment Type called # of Groups, Capacity of # – Self Enrollment and Group Prefix field on the New Category page

Set Self Enrollment Expiry Date option and Allocate unenrolled users after Self Enrollment Expiry Date option

Set Self Enrollment Expiry Date option and Allocate unenrolled users after Self Enrollment Expiry Date option

Capacity marker and Leave Group option on updated Groups page

Capacity marker and Leave Group option on updated Groups page

Configurable Advanced Search Options link on Enroll Users page

Configurable Advanced Search Options link on Enroll Users page

My Awards tool featuring Badges and Certificates

The new My Awards tool enables Instructors to automatically award Badges and Certificates based on release conditions, or to award or revoke them manually.

To add a new badge to a course, the instructor can complete the New Award page (under Assessments > Awards > Add Award to Course > Create Award) and define the name and description of the award, and set attributes for the award type, sharing, expiry, notification, the location of the image library to use to create the badges, and Issuer information. The image library contains some default icons you can use to create badges and default templates for certificates.

Adding an Award. The image shows the New Award page that the Administrator uses to add new awards to the system.

Adding an Award. The image shows the New Award page used to add new awards.

After Badges and Certificates are added, Instructors can click the Edit Properties link under the Award to set the conditions of earning the Award.

Classlist awards page, showing the listing of awards given to Learners in the course

Classlist awards page, showing the listing of awards given to Learners in the course

Learners can see a list of the awards they have received and the available awards by going to Assessments > My Awards.

The My Awards page lets learners view the badges and certificates that they have achieved, or are available if they meet the eligibility requirements.

The My Awards page lets learners view the badges and certificates that they have achieved, or are available if they meet the eligibility requirements.

News – Recover deleted News items

Users can now restore deleted news items.

The Restore option from the More Actions button on the News page

The Restore option from the More Actions button on the News page

The Restore News page showing a News item that was accidentally deleted

The Restore News page showing a News item that was accidentally deleted

User Progress – Better metrics for time viewing topics

In the Summary and Content Progress pages, User Progress contains statistics on the amount of time a learner spends in a content topic. The update to this feature corrects the inaccuracies that can occur when a user session times out or loses connectivity. As a result, the statistics for the amount of time a user spends in a content topic are accurate to the default frequency of 10 minutes. The time spent statistics for other scenarios (such as viewing a content topic and then browsing to the next topic or to another tool) continue to capture the exact duration.

This solution also improves how User Progress tracks time spent in a content topic when the user switches between browser tabs.