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Category: D2L Tips (Page 2 of 14)

Allow Students to Retake Incorrect Questions Only in a Quiz

There is a new setting available in Quizzes, which allows you to set an additional attempt on a quiz to only show students the questions they answered incorrectly in the previous attempt. New Attempt feature in Quizzes (to only do incorrect answers). And cautions (about grade export and conditions).

When this setting is selected, learners who attempt a quiz more than once can only answer questions that were incorrect on the previous attempt.  You will find this setting under the Assessment tab when editing a quiz, and here is what this setting looks like:

Retake Incorrect Questions Only setting

Some things to note:

First, if you are sending the grade from the quiz to the Grades tool, choosing First Attempt will ensure that the grade does not change when a student completed a second (or third, etc.) attempt. If you choose Highest Attempt, the system will add the grades from the first and second attempt (etc.) together, for example if the student received 2/5 on the first attempt, and answered 2 more questions correctly on the second attempt, they will receive 4/5 in the gradebook. If you choose Average of all Attempts, each subsequent attempt will mean a new average will be generated, for example if the student received 2/5 on the first attempt, then answered 1 more question correct on the second attempt, their grade in the Grades tool will change from 2/5 to 2.5/5.

Second, if you conditionally release other activities to a Quiz grade, that condition will be dependent on how you have set the grading for the attempts. So, if a student gets 2/5 on their first attempt, and the First Attempt is set as the overall grade for that quiz (whether or not it is sent to the Grades), and if a release condition is set for completion of that quiz with a mark greater than 60%, this student will never be able meet that condition, even if they eventually get a 4/5 on a subsequent attempt.

Third, if you include Written Response questions, they will be marked as 0 and included in future attempts until they are graded manually.

Finally, while this may seem like a good setting for self-assessment quizzes, sometimes it’s better to let students do all the questions multiple times as they may have gotten an answer correct accidently the first time, and this setting will not present that question again.

Questions?  Contact eLearning@camosun.ca to book an appointment with an instructional designer

Rubrics in D2L

I wanted to take a moment to update you on where we are at as we begin to create new tutorials for the Rubrics tool in D2L.

Rubrics in D2L can be attached to Assignments, Discussions, or Grades.  When you integrate a Rubric in D2L, the grade you assign on the Rubric automatically becomes the grade for the assessment it is attached to.

There are 2 kinds of Rubrics you can set up in D2L:  Holistic and Analytic.

  • Holistic – Performance is assessed holistically, LEVELS only, with multiple criteria being assessed at once.  For tasks where it is not easy to evaluate performance on one criterion independently of performance on a different criterion. For example, many writing rubrics are holistic because it is not always easy to disentangle clarity from organization or content from presentation.
  • Analytic – Most rubrics are analytic. An analytic rubric breaks performance into multiple criteria. You assess each criterion separately, resulting in an overall assessment score. For example, an analytic rubric for assessing essays could have separate criterion for spelling, grammar, and expression.

Note that once a Rubric has been attached to something (assignment, discussion, grade item) it can NOT be deleted!

So far, we have finished 3 rubric tutorials (which can also be found on our Tutorials site).  Check them out here as well!

Have questions about rubrics, want to know how to add your own rubrics to D2L, or just need some help?  Contact eLearning@camosun.ca to arrange for a consult with an instructional designer.

Some Changes Coming to Camosun’s D2L

Camosun College is updating its integration with the Colleague student information system. Faculty and Students will notice changes to some of the D2L communications tools as a result of this update.  And there are also some exciting (and long awaited) changes coming up!!

January, 2021


As of January 2021, the D2L Email tool will be limited to student-instructor communications only. Students will no longer be able to communicate with each other through this tool. This change has been made in order to protect students’ personal information.

Students will continue to have access to their historical emails but will not have the ability to reply to or forward those messages.


Students will have access to a new Message tool in D2L that will enable students to connect with other students from within D2L. The Message tool has replaced the existing Pager tool.

Audio Note (the Record Audio button)

Audio Note recording time has now been increased to 5 minutes.

March, 2021

“Chosen names” for students and faculty (also sometimes called “preferred names) will be available in Colleague and will cascade into the D2L Classlist.

Data updates between Colleague and D2L will occur in real time (meaning that if a student registers late, they will immediately have access to D2L and not have to wait until the next day).

Summer, 2021

An option to export grades directly from D2L to Colleague will be available.  More information on this change will be available closer to its availability – stay tuned!


The tutorial for how to use the Message tool is now available on the eLearning Tutorials at Camosun site.

For more information or questions, contact eLearning@camosun.ca.

Using Short Answer versus Written Response Questions in D2L

There is often confusion in the world of D2L Quizzes: when to use Short Answer questions, and when to use Written Response questions.

To sort out this confusion a bit, thinking of Short Answer questions as questions with one or two word answers. Not sentences! This is because Short Answer questions are set up to be graded by D2L, and it is very hard to accommodate the number of potentially correct answers if there are more than two words.

In the example here, we have two possible answers listed, one with two words (Justin Trudeau), and one with just one word (Trudeau). Use a Short Answer question for this kind of question.

Short Answer question

Have a question that requires a longer response? Use a Written Response question. The downside is that you need to grade Written Response questions yourself, but if you use a Short Answer question for multi-word answers, you will likely need to grade those questions yourself anyway since students will likely give correct answers you have not accounted for.

In the example here, we are asking a question that would require multiple words which could be presented in any order, making it impossible for the system to grade easily. Use a Written Response question for this kind of question.

Written Response question

If you have questions or want to run a scenario past an instructional designer in eLearning, email elearning@camosun.ca to arrange for a consult.

New feature coming to Quizzes – Import from Question Library into Quiz Section

As some of you may know, the newer Quiz Creation interface has at least one feature that has been driving me personally crazy:   If you create a Section in a Quiz, you can’t import questions from the Question Library directly into that Section. Right now you have to import questions into the root directory (the main page) of the quiz, and then move them into a section. How cumbersome.

Well, no more!

In our next upgrade, happening at the end of this week, you will be able to import questions from the question library into a Quiz Section. Here’s how:

  1. Go to the Quizzes tool in your D2L course, and go to Edit a Quiz.
  2. On the Properties tab, click Add/Edit Questions.

    Click Add Edit Questions

  3. Make sure you have added at least one Section (Add a Section).
  4. Click Import and select Browse Question Library.

    Browse Question Library

  5. Select the questions you want to import into your Section in the quiz, then click the arrow next to Import and select Import to Section.

    Import to Section

  6. Select the Section you want to import the questions to. They will automatically be imported into that section.

    Select section

  7. Finish adding questions to your quiz, then click Back to Settings for Quiz …

    Go back to Settings

  8. Finish creating your quiz, and click Save and Close.


eLearning Tutorials – updates and new tutorials being added this month!

This month is “Update eLearning Tutorials and Add New Ones” month for our eLearning Tutorial site (and the On-Demand Training D2L site). We will be updating and adding new tutorials for the next several weeks, so check back on a regular basis.

For example, this week we have been working on a new structure for our D2L tools tutorial pages, and updating/creating new Assignment tutorials. Find out more at eLearning Assignment Tutorials.

And now, I wanted to showcase one of our new tutorials here, which will introduce you to a new Assignment Creation Experience which is available for opt-in in Camosun’s D2L right now. This interface will eventually replace the current interface, so I encourage you to try it out and let us know if you have any comments or problems that we can pass on to D2L.

Using the New Assignment Create/Edit Experience – D2L Tutorial

This tutorial is for faculty who have previous experience using D2L and will cover the basic steps involved when you wish to create an assignment submission folder using the New Assignment Create/Edit Experience interface (opt-in as of August 2020).. For further information, please contact elearning@camosun.ca for assistance.


  1. Go to the Assignments tool in your course (e.g., through the My Tools drop-down).
  2. Click New Assignment.
  3. You will be given the option to turn on the new Assignment Create/Edit Experience. Click Turn it on to enable it.

    Turn on the new assignment create/edit experience
    If you have previously clicked Leave it off, you can turn it on by clicking the arrow at the top right, and clicking turn it on.

    Click arrow to find the enable settings

  4. The new creation interface consists of a main area, a side panel, and a bottom set of buttons.  We will look at each area in turn.

    New Creation/Edit interface

  5. First, the main area. You will need to give your assignment a Name. You can then choose to add a Score Out Of and a Due Date. When you click Score Out Of, you are given the option to connect your Assignment folder to or disconnect it from a Grade Item (Choose from Grades, Remove from Grades, or Reset to Ungraded). You can then add instructions into the Instructions box.

    Add Name, Score, Due Date, Instructions
    Under the Instructions box are options to add additional items such as an instructional document or a template file (File Upload – the first icon), Attach Link to Existing Activity in D2L such as a Content page (the second icon), Attach a Weblink (the third icon) or Record Audio instructions (note that the Record Video option is currently not enabled at Camosun).

    Upload file, attach activity or web link, record audio instructions

  6. Availability Dates and Conditions allows you to set a Start Date (which opens the Assignment folder) and an End Date (which closes the Assignment folder). As of the August upgrade, you will also be able to attach Release Conditions to the Assignment folder. Special Access is not yet available in the new interface, so if you have students needing special access, you will need to return to the old interface.

    Availability Dates & Conditions

  7. Submission and Completion allows you to set the Assignment folder as an Individual or Group Assignment, and to add your preferred Assignment and Submission Type settings.

    Submission & Completion options

  8. Evaluation and Feedback allows you to attach a Rubric, and select or deselect the Annotation Tools setting.

    Evaluation & Feedback options

  9. Finally, at the bottom you can save your changes, or toggle to make the Assignment folder Visible or Hidden.

    Save, or Hide

Things to Remember

You can turn off and on the New Assignment Create/Edit Experience as needed, but be aware that eventually this new interface will become the default. New features will be added to this interface over the next few months.

Once you have turned on the new experience, any old assignments you have in your Assignments area will open it automatically when you go to edit them.


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.

New Quiz Building Experience in D2L

There is a new “Quiz Building Experience” in D2L. What does this mean? It means you have the option right not to opt a new Add/Edit Questions interface when you are creating a quiz. Here’s how to opt in, and how to navigate this new interface:

  1. Create a New Quiz, or Edit an existing one.
  2. Make sure your Quiz has a Name, then click Add/Edit Questions.

    This new experience brings the Add/Edit Question interface in line with the design you have already seen in several of the Question types, as well as adding the drag and drop option for reordering which is already present in other D2L tools.

  3. At the top, right (right above Settings) you will see a little down arrow – click this.

    Click the arrow at top right

  4. Click Turn it on. If you decide you want to go back to the original experience, you can click the down arrow and the Turn it off button that will appear. Note that eventually, this will be the default experience so it’s a good idea to try it out now!

    Click Turn it on

  5. On the “Ready to begin adding quiz content?” screen, click Import and select Browse Question Library (you could also click Add, but we recommend you create your questions in the Question Library first, then Import them into a quiz.)

    Click Import and select Browse Question Library

  6. Use the arrows to open sections in your Question Library, and the select boxes to select sections or questions to add to your Quiz. Once you have selected the questions you wish to add, click Add.

    Select questions and click Add

  7. If you then click on a question, you will be able to edit it (and you will be asked if you want to save it to all the places the question is being used). And if you hover your mouse on a question, and then hold down your mouse on the dots on the left side, you can drag questions around to change their order.

    Click to edit or drag questions

  8. Once you are done adding and editing your questions, click Back to Settings for “Quiz Title” (at the top left).

    Click Back to Settings for Quiz

  9. You can now finish editing your Quiz (Restrictions, Assessment, etc.) and click Save and Close.

    Click Save and Close

This new experience brings the Add/Edit Question interface in line with the design you have already seen in several of the Question types, as well as adding the drag and drop option for reordering which is already present in other D2L tools.

Any questions?  Send a note to desupport@camosun.ca to book a consult with an instructional designer.

Adding Links to your D2L Course Navbar

A quick tip for you today.

Wanting to add links to your D2L course Navbar (for example, a link to My Media to enable Kaltura for your students)? Here’s a quick way to do that.

  1. Go to your D2L course
  2. Hover your mouse over the Navbar, and click on the three dots that appear at the top, right, and select Customize this Navbar (note, if you have already customized your Navbar, you will select Edit this Navbar).

    Select Customize or Edit this Navbar

  3. In the Create a Copy? box, click Yes! I’ll work with a copy of the navbar. (Note that if you have already customized your Navbar, you will not see this box and can move to the next step).

    Click Yes! I'll work with a copy of the navbar.

  4. Change the Name of your Navbar if you like, then in the Links area, click Add Links.

    Click Add Links

  5. In the Add Links box, find and select the link(s) you wish to place on the Navbar, then click Add.

    Select links and click Add

  6. Move the new navbar link as needed (click and hold your mouse button on the new link and move around the navbar), then click Save and Close.

    Click Save and Close

  7. Your new link will now appear in your navbar.

    Navbar with new link

Navigating the New Assignments Page View

Hot off the presses – meaning, I am posting this as a response to a question from a faculty member who just this morning came in to ask about this issue!

In our last D2L upgrade (upgrades happen monthly), you might have noticed a change in the Assignments tool table vide. Up until the upgrade, you would have had a choice to retain the old table, using an Opt-in feature, but now everyone will have to use the “New Assignments Page” view. So, let’s have a quick look and walk through the features and some of the issues that have been coming up with it.

The column headings in the new Assignment page view (image below the descriptions) are:

  • Folder: the title of your Assignment)
  • New: a hyperlink that directs you to all New submissions, both completely new submissions, and subsequent, additional submissions. If you hover over this link, you will see how many new submissions are “New” (FIRST submissions) or “Resubmissions” (any additional submissions to the same assignment AFTER the first one).
  • Completed: Number of students who have submitted (completed) their assignments over the total number of students in the course (here, 4 submitted assignments out of 9 students)
  • Evaluated: The number of student submissions you have already evaluated (here, 0 out of 9).
  • Feedback Published: The number of student submissions you have published feedback for (here 0 out of 9). This differs from Evaluated because you can evaluate a submission, but wait to publish feedback.
  • Due Date

New Assignments Page columns

One of the confusions for faculty has been for those faculty who are in a multi-instructor site where each instructor has small groups of students (in other words, the D2L course is not a one instructor grading all the students in the course kind of situation). In courses like this, the denominator for the Completed, Evaluated, and Feedback Published columns will not feel accurate. The denominators represent the TOTAL number of students in the course, not the number of students on instructor may have in her group.

In addition, the numbers you see when you hover over the hyperlinked number in the New column can be confusing as they refer to submissions that have NOT been evaluated. If you are having students submit regular reflections, for example, and not giving them evaluation/feedback until the end of the term, you will see the hyperlinked number rise as students submit – and their first submission will be the “New” one, and all subsequent submissions will be “Resubmissions”.

New column, hovering over the hyperlinked number, here the number 5 showing as "4 new, 1 resubmission"

While we can’t change this table, we can let D2L how the new terminology is working for our faculty. If you have comments or suggestions based on your own experience with the new Assignment page, email me (Emily Schudel) or any instructional designer in eLearning, and we will submit your comments.

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