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Do this, not that! Quick tips for making the student D2L experience easier!

Do this!

Provide students a short welcome announcement to guide them to "Content" where all your course material is.

Not that!

No announcement on the front page can leave students confused about where they should go. Remember, this may be their first online experience. Going to "content" isn't common knowledge.

Not that either!

Keep your announcements short and simple or it's likely students will skim/disregard them. Save longer notices for email or post in your modules/assignments.

Do this!

Organize your content into linear modules to help students navigate your online class. Name your modules so they are easy to understand.

Not that!

Arranging your modules by "type" of content means students have to search and click around to find anything they need at a given time. You wouldn't tell face-to-face students that their lecture, group work, assignments, etc. are hidden in containers around the classroom. Same idea online.

Not that either!

It's okay to arrange content by chapter or unit if the modules are arranged in the order students should complete them... but it's still a little confusing about where they should start if you don't provide any other direction. Don't assume they'll know where to click.

Do this!

  1. Use the description area of a module to give an overview of the week, encouragement, and navigational help.
  2. Name or re-name your files intuitively.
  3. Provide a short action sentence for each item.

Not that!

We call this "file confetti" because if you don't rename your items or provide descriptions for the module/items, it just becomes a collection of different pieces thrown together. File confetti makes it very difficult for students to know what they are supposed to do and what order they are supposed to do it in.

Do this!

Provide students the contact information where they can get tech help, help with D2L, online tutoring, etc. This can be its own module or just a file in a module.

Not that!

There are others out there (tutors, OTS, etc.) who have the expertise to help our students. Be the best instructor you can be and point students to the other experts when necessary.

Do this!

Take it one step at a time and celebrate your progress.

Not that!

Don't beat yourself up or hold yourself to unrealistic standards. Do the best you can and be understanding of your students.

Thank you for thinking about your students and for all of the hard work you're doing to shift online!