Follow-ups from Some of My First D2L Workshops of the Spring

So, we are now in our second week of spring workshops. Workshops are one of my favourite things, giving faculty a place to come and talk about their practice, to find out what others are doing, and to trouble-shoot issues they may be having. I also learn a lot from them, and this term I am trying to take the time to follow up with all participants in the workshops I run with resources, answers to questions, and confirmation of anything I have committed to doing or finding out about for them.

Following-up sounds like a no-brainer, but it’s something I have not done very well over the years. So a new mantra for me is to follow-up now, and again in the fall with faculty who have taken the time to come to my workshops.

This also means I can share some of my following-up with you, so in the post, I will give you a bit of a glimpse into what came up in the workshops I have run so far, and what I have already followed-up on.

Last Monday was What’s New in D2L. In this session, I covered some of the upgrade highlights from the past year, including:

  • The new Dropbox Feedback notification options for students (thanks D2L – this was a huge request by faculty last year!)
  • Quizzes
    • New question creation interfaces for True/False, Multiple Choice, Short Answer, and Written Response question types
    • How to put Initial Text into Written Response questions within the new interface
    • Question Pools which have replaced Random Sections in a quiz
    • The new Dynamic Preview for Question Pools (when you set up a Question Pool in a quiz, you can now see what it will look like to students)
    • How to do static text and image information (for example, when you want a case study text to appear above a set of questions) now using Sections
    • Question Auto Save when students complete a quiz
  • Rubrics
    • The new Rubric Creation interface
    • How they now work in Dropbox, Discussions, and Grades – students can now see them before grading AND after
    • If you put Rubrics in Dropbox and Discussions, they will appear in the Grades tool (if Dropbox/Discussion is linked to the Grades)
  • Assignments
    • Assignment table language changes
    • Assignment submission types (that allow for submissions other than uploads!)
  • Discussions
    • Group threads now available
  • I also did some quick introductions to ReadSpeaker, ePortfolio, Kaltura, and Blackboard Collaborate Ultra which are all now available in D2L.

Lots has changed in D2L, and everyone seemed quite excited by the improvements!

Then Tuesday was Introducing D2L to your Students. Last year, the workshop discussion was around the actual introduction piece, but this year the discussion turned more towards keeping students engaged throughout the term, as well as finding ways to engage them in ethical considerations when working in an online environment. As for my commitments, I confirmed that I will:

  • Continue to build out and organize the D2L Student Guide, especially around the Camosun-related resources, and taking the group’s feedback and suggestions forward as I do so
  • Work on creating some scavenger hunt materials/suggestions, and work on an information site for tips to protect your privacy, etc. while using online tools for students (to support faculty in having those initial conversations with them).
  • Continue to bring up to leadership challenged with access to D2L for waitlisted students, and for students waiting for funding for registration into courses, so that these issues can be escalated as an issue of inclusivity.

Finally, yesterday was D2L Quizzes – How, Why, and the Daylight Experience, covering everything from creating questions in the Question Library, through creating Quizzes, previewing them, and grading them. There are some new features in the Quizzes tool, mainly around the creation interface for some of the question types, importing questions into the quiz from the Question Library, and using Question Pools versus shuffling questions.

My commitment was to find out from D2L when the rest of the questions creation interfaces will change, and to let the group know if (when) I hear something.  And also, I committed to exploring the exemption option in the Quizzes tool and let them know how that works.  Finally, I shared with them a Multiple Choice D2L question converter I showed them during the workshop, which can be found at:

So, off to a good start for workshops and follow-ups. Looking forward to the next!

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