eLearning at Camosun College

Tutorials, Workshops, and More!

eLearning Workshops – Fall 2020

Welcome to the eLearning Team’s offerings to support the start-up of the fall term (note: the first day of classes is September 8th, 2020).

These workshops will provide faculty with a basic orientation to Camosun’s core educational technologies:

  • Desire2Learn (D2L) – Learning Management System
  • Blackboard Collaborate Ultra – Web Conferencing
  • Kaltura – Video Streaming Service

We are hoping to offer more advanced eLearning workshops later in the term. If you are unable to attend the workshops and need assistance, contact desupport@camosun.ca and you will be connected with an instructional designer.

Stay tuned for the schedule which will appear in early August on the CETL Event Calendar ,

D2L Overview


This workshop will provide you with an overview of the essential teaching tools available in our learning management system, D2L.

Dates & Times

Monday, August 17, 10:00 am-12:00 pm

Monday, August 24, 1:30-3:30 pm

Tuesday, September 1, 10:00 am-12:00 pm

D2L Course Set-up


This workshop will focus on setting up your course for Day 1. We will demonstrate how to copy course components (from your DEV or MASTER course to your LIVE offering), customize your homepage, apply a course banner, create a welcome news item and streamline your navigation bar.

Dates & Times

Tuesday, August 18,  10:00 am-12:00 pm

Tuesday, August 25, 10:00 am-12:00 pm

Tuesday, September 1, 1:30-3:30 pm

Content Management in D2L


We will begin with an overview of the content tool and the importance of content organization and getting a handle on file management. We will also demonstrate how to upload your course outline and other materials to prepare for your first week of classes.

Dates & Times

Thursday, August 20, 1:30-3:30 pm

Wednesday, August 26,  10:00 am-12:00 pm

Wednesday, September 2,  10:00 am-12:00 pm

Working with Ally and its Accessibility Feedback in D2L


As you add documents, PDFs, webpages, and PowerPoints in D2L course content, you will now receive feedback from Ally on how “accessible” your files are (as defined by the Web Content Accessibility Guidelines – WCAG). The more accessible your file format is, the better the experiences or students will be, including students working with mobile devices, tablets and assistive technologies. In this workshop, we will look at some of the feedback instructors commonly receive from Ally, including what the feedback means and what you can do with it to improve the accessibility of your content.

Date & Time

Thursday, August 26,  1:30-3:00 pm

Setting up Your Gradebook in D2L


This workshop will focus on setting up your Gradebook from start to finish. We will provide you with an overview of key functionality while also sharing some best practices.

Dates & Times

Friday, August 21, 10:00 am-12:00 pm

Friday, August 28,  10:00 am-12:00 pm

Friday, September 4,  10:00 am-12:00 pm

Creating Discussions in D2L


This workshop will show you how to set up and facilitate asynchronous discussions in D2L.

Date & Time

Friday, August 28,  1:30-3:30 pm

Building Quizzes in D2L


This workshop will explore ways to create, customize and grade quizzes, tests and/or exams. We will also demonstrate how to organize your questions in the Question Library.

Date & Time

Friday, September 4,  1:30-3:30 pm

Managing Assignments in D2L


The Assignment tool enables students to submit assignments online while streamlining the grading process for instructors. This workshop provides an overview of creating, managing and grading assignments.

Date & Time

August 21, 1:30-3:30 pm

Introduction to Blackboard Collaborate Ultra


Collaborate is a web-conferencing tool that integrates with D2L. This session will provide you with a basic overview of the tools and functions within Collaborate as well as provide instructors with tips on how to use this tool to connect with students and facilitate effective learning experiences.

Dates & Times

Thursday, August 20, 10:30 am-12:00 pm

Thursday, August 27, 10:30 am-12:00 pm

Thursday, September 3, 10:30 am-12:00 pm

Thursday, September 10, 10:30 am-12:00 pm

Engaging Students and Using Breakout Rooms in Collaborate


Wondering how to engage students during your Collaborate sessions? Not sure how to use breakout rooms? In this session, we will give you some ideas and best practices, as well as invite you to share what you have done yourselves to make those Collaborate sessions work for you and your students.

Dates & Times

Thursday, August 27,  1:30-3:00 pm

Thursday, September 3, 1:30-3:00 pm

Video Basics with Kaltura and D2L


Kaltura is Camosun College’s streaming media service that offers easy-to-use video management and creation tools that integrate directly into D2L. Think of it as Camosun’s own YouTube service. Learn how faculty and students can create and manage their videos from one central location and publish those videos directly into D2L.

Dates & Times

Wednesday, August 19, 1:30-3:00 pm

Wednesday, September 2, 1:30-3:00 pm

eLearning workshop recordings available

Are you a Camosun faculty/employee?  The eLearning team in CETL offered a series of workshops in May and June to support faculty in the delivery of online teaching.

Recordings for the following workshops are available upon request:

  • Intro to the new BB Ally Tool in D2L
  • Intro to Online Learning
  • Facilitating Online Learning in D2L and Collaborate
  • Integrating Blackboard Collaborate Ultra into the Online Classroom
  • Getting started with Kaltura: Streaming Media at Camosun
  • Going Deeper with Videos and Kaltura
  • Accessibility in the Online Classroom
  • Community Building and Student Engagement in the Online Classroom
  • Discover the Quizzes Tool in D2L
  • Online Assessments

Workshops for Fall Start Up

Starting the week of Monday, August 17, the eLearning team will be offering a series of workshops to support faculty in the delivery of their online courses for the fall term. Stay tuned for the schedule which will appear in early August on the CETL Event Calendar!


Introducing the new ALLY tool in D2L course sites.

As you prepare for a more digital Fall 2020 term, wouldn’t it be great if there was a tool that was always on hand to help make to your online course materials more accessible?

We are happy to share some welcome and exciting news with you, in the form of a new tool we will be launching in D2L on Monday, June 29. The name of this tool is ALLY, which is entirely appropriate because it’s going to be one of our new best friends.

Here’s a snapshot of why we are excited about ALLY:

  1. Support for all students.

Many students actually need or prefer to access their text-based content on different devices or using assistive technology. ALLY makes it possible for students to download alternative formats to the Word, PowerPoint, PDF, and HTML files you added to the course site.

ALLY generates the alternative formats as soon as students select the option they need; alternative formats include such options as HTML (web page), MP3 (audio file), ePub (for e-readers), Electronic braille, or Tagged (formatted) PDFs. Any student in a D2L-based course can access these alternative options in Course Content.

  1. Support for all instructors.

ALLY provides instructors with immediate feedback and guidance on how to improve the accessibility of their course content. By extension, this improves the quality of the alternative formats students access through ALLY.

Note that you can gradually work on improving the accessibility of your content; you do not have to do everything ALLY recommends all at once.

  1. General institutional support.

ALLY also provides in-depth feedback through its administrator tools (Course Reports and an Institutional Report). These reports provide data on how technically accessible course content is across all courses in D2L and what we could be doing better as a whole.

When will you be able to meet this new Ally?

  1. You can email the Centre for Excellence in Teaching & Learning [CETL@camosun.bc.ca] to request a copy of the recording from the 1-hour information session Thursday, June 11.

    ALLY tutorials and tips will be added to the eLearning Tutorials site over the summer.

  2. ALLY will be enabled across D2L on Monday, June 29.

eLearning/CETL workshops for May/June!

The eLearning team is offering the following online workshops in May and June:

  • Introduction to Online Learning in D2L
  • Facilitating Online Learning in D2L and Collaborate
  • Articulate 360: An Overview
  • Working with Master Courses
  • Articulate 360: Content Management
  • Articulate 360: Creating Quiz Games
  • Articulate 360: Choose Your Own Adventure
  • Designing for Engagement: Moving beyond Text and Images
  • Setting up Your Gradebook
  • Quizzes & Leveraging Course Analytics in D2L
  • Going Deeper with Videos and Kaltura


The dates and times for each workshop are listed on the registration form. For a full description of the workshops, please visit the CETL calendar.

Note that if demands warrants, we will add more sessions to our schedule, so please check back on the CETL calendar regularly.

For more information about these workshops, or if you are looking for something not covered here, email Monique Brewer or Emily Schudel.

eLearning/CETL workshops for April!

The eLearning team is offering the following online workshops in April:

  • Introduction to Online Learning in D2L
  • Facilitating Online Learning in D2L and Collaborate
  • Best Practices in Integrating Blackboard Collaborate Ultra into Your Online Classroom
  • Getting Started with Kaltura:  Streaming Media at Camosun!
  • Accessibility in the Online Classroom
  • Online Assessments
  • Strategies for Community Building and Student Engagement in the Online Classroom


The dates and times for each workshop are listed on the registration form. For a full description of the workshops, please visit the CETL calendar.

Stay tuned for more online offerings coming up in May and June.

For more information about these workshops, or if you are looking for something not covered here, email Emily Schudel.

Weekly Bulletin from CETL – April 3, 2020

Here is this week’s CETL bulletin we are sending out to our Camosun faculty every Friday.  These tips might be useful to you, and if you have your own to share back, please add them in the Comments!

The Sacred Circle

When the Creator put us on this Earth, he gave us four gifts to help us through troubled times.
The first was the gift of prayer; the second was the gift of sharing;
the third gift was the gift of crying to wash away the pain and the fourth was laughter.
If you are  able to do these four things, it is said that your are on a healing journey.
 (Education is our Buffalo, The Alberta Teacher’s Association, 2016)

Newly highlighted teaching resources and tips

Library resource highlights

  • AskAway online chat: Camosun Librarians have significantly increased the amount of time they spend monitoring this virtual reference service. If you follow the links on Camosun Library pages, chances are greater that you will connect directly with a Camosun Librarian. Not just or students, faculty can use this service too!
  • Google Scholar: Can be accessed via the library’s Databases A-Z . It will connect you with full text content from Camosun research databases as well as free coronavirus-related content from Elsevier, the Lancet, JAMA, Wiley, and many more!

Basic glossary for online teaching

  • Synchronous = “at the same time”. Teachers and students meet online in real time through videoconferencing or live chatting. USE SPARINGLY during previously scheduled class times, or one-on-one office hours, or as an optional chance to connect.
  • Asynchronous = “not at the same time”. Teachers create learning experiences for students to work at their own pace and take time to absorb content.
  • Blackboard Collaborate = Camosun’s web conferencing tool for synchronous learning (similar to Zoom, except Zoom does NOT meet privacy requirements as it is hosted in the USA. ) Contact eLearning for training.
  • Microsoft Teams = another Camosun-supported web conferencing tool. GREAT for staff meetings, but not available for students.
  • Kaltura = Camosun’s tool for recording, storing and distributing video through D2L (similar to You Tube). Contact eLearning for training.

An adjusted syllabus for our time (reprinted with permission from Brandon Bayne UNC – Chapel Hill)


  1. Nobody signed up for this.
  • Not for the sickness, not for the social distancing, not for the sudden end of our collective lives together on campus
  • Not for an online class, not for teaching remotely, not for learning from home, not for mastering new technologies, not for varied access to learning materials
  1. The humane option is the best option.
  • We are going to prioritize supporting each other as humans
  • We are going to prioritize simple solutions that make sense for the most
  • We are going to prioritize sharing resources and communicating clearly
  1. We cannot just do the same thing online.
  • Some assignments are no longer possible
  • Some expectations are no longer reasonable
  • Some objectives are no longer valuable
  1. We will foster intellectual nourishment, social connection, and personal accommodation.
  • Accessible asynchronous content for diverse access, time zones, and contexts
  • Optional synchronous discussion to learn together and combat isolation
  1. We will remain flexible and adjust to the situation.
  • Nobody knows where this is going and what we’ll need to adapt
  • Everybody needs support and understanding in this unprecedented moment



UDL and Moving Online

I am re-blogging this post from Seanna Takacs at KPU, as I think it is very important in this world of sudden shifts from face-to-face to online.  It is not just about putting everything into D2L, but about how to engage with your students and looking at various and flexible modes for doing so.

UDL and Moving Online


Weekly Bulletin from our Centre for Excellence in Teaching and Learning

I thought I would share some of the new CETL bulletin we are sending out to our Camosun faculty every Friday.  These tips might be useful to you, and if you have your own to share back, please add them in the Comments!

“Students do not care how much you know until they know how much you care.”  Anonymous.

 Newly highlighted teaching resources and tips:

Best Practices for recording Blackboard Collaborate sessions:

  • Tutorial for recording a session
  • Tell students up front that the session will be recorded and why.
  • Be clear about why you are recording (e.g. so that students who can’t attend or have technical issues during, can review later).
  • Tell students that the recordings are stored on a Canadian-based server.
  • Advise students up front that they should not share the recording with anyone not in the class.
  • Give students the option of participating through audio/microphones or just via the chat room, etc.
  • Finally – instructors need to know where the recordings are and tell their students how to access them.

Key links already shared:


Assignments versus Quizzes in D2L – what is best for assessment?

Many of you are struggling with how to assess students in these final few weeks of classes after the sudden move to online teaching and learning. While there are no easy answers, other than “it depends…” (because it does depend – on your course, your assessments, your students, what they need for accreditation, etc.) I wanted to take a moment to discuss two of the assessment tools in D2L and how they might support you in your final “exams”, if you have them. Note that throughout this post I link to our tutorial site , as well as to resources contained on the STLHE Teaching & Assessing (Online) site. Both these sites are being updated daily, and I highly recommend reviewing the many resources on alternative assessments on both the STLHE site and our Assessments libguide.

Assignments tool (used to be called Dropbox) is a place students can submit various kinds of assignments including WORD or PDF documents, EXCEL spreadsheets, images, audio, video (with or without using Kaltura). It can also be connected to the Grades tool in D2L. There are other things the Assignments tool can do, but I will stick to the basics.

The Assignments tool can be used for handing in assignments, but can also be used for open book exams. An assignment folder can be opened on a specific day and time, and closed at a specific time. You can attach your exam to the folder so students can download it, complete it, and submit it before the time for the exam is up. Students will need to have a word processing program to access the exam, and you will need to consider how you will handle the thought of potential cheating (and you will think about that). But, especially when you have limited time to prepare, this tool will serve you very well and probably be the less stressful of these two tools to use.

The Quizzes tool allows you to build exams using multiple choice, true/false, matching, short answer, written response (essay) questions. Quizzes can be auto-graded by D2L, except for Written Response questions, and the grades can be connected to the Grades tool. Quizzes can be timed, and questions can be shuffled or randomized.

The Quizzes tool is good for timed assessments (you can use Special Access to support student with accommodations), but I will ask you to consider that your students right now are likely stressed out, dealing with all the same personal issues you are, in addition to trying to finish off their school year, so consider carefully before creating strict time-based assessments. The trick with creating a quiz is that it takes some time to create your question bank, time you might not have when trying to figure out how to teach your students online at the same time.

Whichever tool you choose to use, I recommend creating a practice run – a practice Assignment folder or a practice Quiz – so that both you and your students can feel more comfortable with the tool(s) before a high-stakes final exam.

And perhaps neither of these tools is what you are looking for as you rethink your final assessments.  And that’s where we in eLearning are here to help you make your final online assessments happen in the best way possible for you and your students. Contact desupport@camosun.ca, or contact an instructional designer directly, for more information. If there are additional resources, or specific topics you would like me to cover on this blog, email me at schudele@camosun.ca.

Online Teaching Presence – Letting your students know you’re there!

Today I am going to repeat a post I wrote a few years ago, modified to help you as you move into teaching online when neither you nor your students signed on for this kind of delivery.

Instructor presence

… a sense of presence is “being there” and “being together” with online learners throughout the learning experience. It looks and feels as if ….the instructor is accessible to the learners and that the learners are accessible to the instructor and each other, and that the technology is transparent to the learning process.

Lehman, R.M. and Conceição, S.C.O (2010) Creating a Sense of Presence in Online Teaching, Jossey-Bass, p. 3

Online presence is about engaging with your students in your online course .  This could be as simple as saying “hello!” or answering questions posted in a discussion forum, or posting reminders in the News tool.  Remember that while you may go into your online course frequently to read postings and grade assignments, your students can’t see you there unless you “talk” to them.  And if you don’t talk to them regularly, they will begin to think you are not there at all.

Establishing presence

While we normally talk about establishing your presence in an online classroom as part of how you design your course, I know you simply don’t have time for considering design in the way we would normally recommend.  So, in the short term,

  • Set expectations immediately (for yourself and for students), and place this information in easy-to-access locations.
  • Adjust the tone of your writing voice so you sound like you’re speaking to students.  Writing your course notes in a style that mimics how you would talk to your students in a face-to-face class will help bring you to life even without audio or video.
  • Post daily messages in the News tool in D2L – and I do mean every day, even over the weekends.  I know normally you might not check-in with students on a weekend, but they may very likely be very nervous about being abandoned in their online course.
  • Let your students know immediately where they can expect to hear from you during the course (i.e., is there an Instructor Messages forum they should be checking? Will you be using the News tool to send regular messages?), as well as how often (i.e., will you be checking the site daily? In the morning? Evening? How often will you be replying to student questions, etc.?) Once you’ve established your plan, stick to it. And if it has to change for some reason, let your students know.

In this time of Crisis

  • Integrate messages of care to your students – they are also adjusting to a life online they were not expecting, and may also be caring for children, parents, and themselves.
  • Reiterate in the News tool where they are in the course – what content should they be reviewing, what they should be doing with it, etc. and explain what is coming up
  • Set up places in the course where they can ask questions, or just post messages to each other (for example, using the Discussions tool for Course Questions and a Coffee Shop Topic)
  • Repeat expectations and keep letting them know where they can get help with technical issues, etc.
  • Let them know when they will hear from you next, and stick to your plan.  If you cannot make any deadlines yourself, make sure to tell them!

This is just the beginning – once you establish your presence, you will need to maintain it.  While I am recommending communicating with your students daily, don’t burn yourself out either.  The expectations you set should be for both them and you – it’s ok to let them know what is going on for you in your life right now as well.  We are all human in this!

For more help with ideas on how to engage with your students online, contact an instructional designer in eLearning (by emailing desupport@camosun.ca).


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