Tuesday, May 12, 2015

Workshop Announcement: Time Management for Online/Blended Instructors

Does the thought of teaching courses online seem like a daunting and time consuming task? Even if you have already taught a course online, or a blended course that was partially online and partially face to face, you probably found those courses seem to require more time and effort than traditional face-to-face ones. 

Well you are not alone, teaching online frequently requires more work than traditional face-to-face courses. Many online instructors find it daunting to keep up with student emails, questions, announcements, grades, and class discussions. These demands can be challenging. However, once you are armed with strategies for time management of online and blended courses, you’ll be able to take control of your courses, and enjoy the benefits online instruction.

To learn about these strategies, all adjunct and full-time faculty are encouraged to attend our upcoming workshop entitled “Save Time Teaching Online: Time Management Tips and Tools for Online Instruction,” offered by NLU’s Academic Technology Department. In the 1 hour workshop you will learn about tools and strategies to save time and energy while effectively teaching online and blended courses.

For a list of all upcoming technology training workshops offered by Academic Technology please click the following link:

And to attend a workshop please RSVP by emailing learning@nl.edu.

Monday, May 4, 2015

The News Tool

Have you been searching for a convenient way to keep your students up to date on important class information? Try out the News Tool! The News Tool in D2L allows you to post announcements for your students. These announcements will display on your Course Homepage, under the “News” widget.

Announcements are beneficial, because students may not check their email every day. Students do not have to check their emails to view announcements. They must only login to the course. You can let students know about syllabus changes, assignment due dates, class cancellations, and more.
Students can dismiss this message after reading it, by clicking the “x”.  If students wish to see announcements they have previously dismissed, they can do so by clicking the “Show All News Items” link.

Take advantage of these great features, by giving the News Tool a try! To add a new announcement, follow the directions in the following guide: NLU Posting Announcements Handout

Tuesday, December 16, 2014

The Return of Grid View

You may recall that in D2L 10.0 that you had the option to change the way you viewed discussion posts, in the discussion tool. With the upgrade to 10.3 we unfortunately lost grid view, and reading view became the only option.  While reading view is great, some instructors strongly preferred grid view, and were upset to see it go.
If you were one of those instructors, D2L has heard your cries! D2L 10.3 has now implemented the option to again, choose between reading view and grid view. If you need a refresher on the difference between reading view and grid view, please see the images below.

Reading View (Default in D2L 10.3):

 Grid View (Now an option in D2L 10.3):

 How to change your settings:

1     1.     

Locate the “Discussion Too” on the Nav bar at the top of your course. 

2. Click the “Settings” link on the top right of the Discussion Tool screen.

 3. The first heading beneath “discussion settings” on the next screen reads “Personal Settings."  Here, you will see the “Default View." Select “Grid View."

That’s all there is to it! Three steps to easily changing your discussions back to grid view!

Thursday, September 18, 2014

D2L 10.3 Restore Feature

Have you ever accidentally deleted a Dropbox folder or Discussion Topic inside a course in D2L? Then you know how frustrating it can be to delete something you needed, by mistake. Don’t worry. The 10.3 version of D2L has now implemented a new feature that will allow you to undo these mishaps!

That’s right! D2L version 10.3 has introduced the “Restore” feature. You can now restore any Dropbox folder or Discussion Topic that you have previously deleted from your course. In addition, when restoring either a Dropbox folder or Discussion Topic, the student work is also restored! This includes all student submissions for a Dropbox folder, and all student posts and replies to a Discussion Topic.

It is important to note however, that if you delete an individual submission from a Dropbox folder; or post from a Discussion Topic, those items will not be restored. The restore feature only applies to whole folders or topics.

To Restore a Dropbox Folder:

To restore a Dropbox folder, first access the Dropbox tool page by clicking the “Dropbox” link on the Navigation bar of your course. 

Next, choose the “More Actions” dropdown menu at the top of the page, and click “Event Log”

You will notice a list of all Dropbox folders you have deleted. Locate the one you’d like to restore, and click the “Restore” button. 

That’s it! Your Dropbox folder and all student submissions within that folder will be restored on the Dropbox tool page.

To Restore a Discussion Topic:

In addition to restoring Dropbox folders you can also restore Discussion Topics, complete with all student posts. To restore a Discussion Topic, first access the “Discussion Tool” page from the Navigation bar within your course. 

Next, choose the “More Actions” dropdown menu on the top left of the Discussion Tool page. Then, choose “Restore”. 

You will then see a list of all deleted Discussion Topics. Locate the one you want to restore, and click the “Restore” button.

Your restored Discussion Topic will re-appear on the Discussion Tool page.  With such few easy steps to recovering your Droobox folders and Discussion Topics, never worry about accidentally deleting them again!

To see video tutorials and other resources regarding D2L and its tools, visit the LMS faculty resources webpage at: http://www.nl.edu/lms/facultyresources/

Join us for Turnitin Training!

With the new D2L v10.3, we now have Turnitin available to NLU faculty. Turnitin will be providing a web-based training session on their tool next Wednesday, September 24, from 10:00-11:30. This training will be online and can be accessed, at the appropriate time, at http://turnitin.adobeconnect.com/r8p1h4wrbxn/. 

The training will be offered in a live format, and recorded for future viewing should you not be able to make it. You will have the opportunity to ask questions of the trainer via a chat window in the Adobe Connect room.  In terms of set-up, we suggest that each attendee have access to an individual computer and that you use a head set, if possible. Otherwise, be sure you have speakers for your computer.

We will also be broadcasting this training session on the Wheeling campus in room 344, should you prefer to join us in person. 

Feel free to review information about this tool, as well as the other new features of D2L v10.3 on our Faculty Resources website…http://www.nl.edu/lms/facultyresources/

-Your D2L Support Team

Friday, August 8, 2014

Coming Soon…A New and Improved D2L!

In September, NLU will launch its new, upgraded version of Desire2Learn, version 10.3. This upgrade will bring you new features we’re certain you’ll love, as well as a cleaner, more user-friendly interface. Below is a quick list highlighting some of the changes, along with a detailed video covering all these features following.

Rolled into this release will be two new applications – Panopto Video Capture and Turnitin Originality Check. Pantopto will allow you to easily create videos and screencasts to post in your D2L course shell. Turnitin will assist faculty in recognizing possible plagiarized works, as well as help students learn proper citation requirements of academic work.

New Features in 10.3:
  • New 3-column layout on the My Home and Course Home pages 
  • Intuitive design and layout of the Content page 
  • New drag and drop functionality for reordering content and uploading files 
  • Better organization and progression through course pages 
  • Download-free viewing of Microsoft Word documents 
  • Updated design to individual HTML content pages 
  • Activity completion tracking for students 
  • New easier way to create and use templates for your HTML content pages 
  • Expanded Discussion Forum and Topic options for a more customized and flexible discussion experience 
  • More at-a-glance information about discussion topic posts 
  • Expandable and collapsible content map 
  • Rating system for Discussions 
  • Rubrics attached to discussion topics are now viewable by the student 
  • User Progress feature tracks student work and progress, and is viewable to students to track their own progression through the course 
  • Students can be graded using the Dropbox tool, even if they have not submitted a file 
  • Upload multiple feedback files for student assignments 
  • Both end dates and due dates can be added to Dropbox folders 
  • Restore deleted Dropbox folders and Discussion Topics and Forums, while preserving student work 
  • Improved interface for creating and editing quiz questions 
Please watch this video for a detailed overview of the exciting upcoming changes in D2L… https://oit.nl.edu/rich_content/LMS/TheUpgrade/The%20Upgrade/index.html. And, as always, keep an eye on the LMS Faculty Resources website for the latest information, support, and tutorials for D2L. (http://www.nl.edu/lms/facultyresources)

-Your D2L Support Team

Monday, March 10, 2014

Notes from the Second Tier

people with headsets, and a banner saying "support"
Your Help Desk Team
That's second tier support to the NLU Help Desk. 1-866-813-1177

I am an instructional designer, one of a team of currently four instructional designers and analysts in the Academic Computing department. On top of our ID duties we also provide training, open lab support, and individual consultations to faculty. And we provide second tier support to the NLU help desk in  matters that directly involve our LMS, Desire2Learn.

If you open a help desk ticket, very often the technician who takes your call can work with you to solve your problem. Other times, depending on the nature of the problem, the type of information needed from NLU technical and academic offices, the level of authority needed to resolve a problem, or the amount of assistance required by the caller, a ticket will be created and triaged to the appropriate group for second-tier support. Sometimes that is my group, sometimes "Desktop Services", sometimes the "Portal Group". Sometimes various groups in OIT and on the academic side of the house collaborate to solve a caller’s problem. Occasionally the triage process can be frustrating because you spend time giving information that you are not certain is relevant, but usually it results in the correct assignment of your ticket. If not, when we receive a mis-assigned ticket, we quickly move it forward to the correct group.

But why go through that? Why call help desk when you see that RenĂ©e is in her office, or that Nicole is right on top of the email? And you know Suzanna, she's helped you before. Oh wait, did you save the number of that nice young man who installed your new software? Or maybe don’t call OIT at all, maybe one of our wonderfully sharp and helpful administrative assistants will solve youe problem. And if not, they probably know a real person in OIT.  A face you know is better than a stranger, right?

Wrong. Your personal OIT contact might be traveling to another campus, running one of those frequent training sessions, or doing work that can’t be interrupted, so your request could go unheeded for a time. This happens fairly often, with student and instructor frustration building during the delay. If, on the other hand, you call the help desk and your ticket is escalated to the “second tier”, you will receive assistance from the first person who is available and equipped to assist you. Not only have you given yourself the best chance of a timely resolution, the ticket created in the process becomes part of a data set that is analyzed in order to identify trends or systematic problems. And you get to review how well we helped you when your problem is resolved.

But surely not every D2L problem is a help desk call, is it? Maybe not, but once you have used our D2L self-help resources, the help desk is almost always the next place to go.

What about calling the help desk for someone else? Wouldn’t that be a helpful thing to do for a busy student or instructor? Not really. It is almost always important to have the person with the problem on the phone and available to provide information.

So, to recap.
An instructor has a problem in D2L? The instructor calls the help desk 1-866-813-1177 or uses D2L help for instructors, and/or checks out the training schedule, just-in-time support, and more online. http://www.nl.edu/lms/facultyresources/
A student has a problem in D2L? The student calls the help desk 1-866-813-1177, uses D2L help for students, and/or checks out the support available on the NLU Website.

And that’s all there is to it.