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D2L - Copying Components from One Course to Another (UW-Madison)


UW-Madison is adopting Canvas as the single, centrally supported learning management system, and discontinuing support for Desire2Learn (D2L) and Moodle. Access to D2L and Moodle will permanently end June 1, 2018. For information about retaining materials from D2L or Moodle, please refer to this document.

When an instructor activates a new course semester and wishes to copy material from an course from a previous semester, they must copy the components from that course. If an instructor has access to more than one course, it is possible to copy components (data) between courses. The document describes the process for copying components from one course to another along with the currently known issues.
Note: The instructor must have access to both courses. If you do not have access to the previous course, have an instructor of that course add you as an instructor using the procedure in D2L - Adding Participants to a Course (UW-Madison).

To copy components from one course to another, do the following:

  1. In your new course (the course that you want components to be copied to), click on Course Admin in the navigation bar, and then select Edit Course from the drop-down menu.
  2. Under Site Resources, click on importexportcopy.jpg.
  3. Select Copy Components from Another Course and click Search for Offering. It may take a moment for the next screen to load.
  4. searchoffering

  5. Select your course from the list of offerings or use the search field to filter your courses. Then click Add Selected.
  6. The course should now appear in place of the Search for offering button under "Course to Copy".
  7. If you want to copy the entire course, select Copy All Components. If you'd prefer to selectively copy components from your previous course, instead click Select Components.
  8. copy

If you selected Copy All Components

The next screen will display the progress of copying materials. When finished, you'll have the option to copy more content or view content. This process may take several minutes to complete. Student names and grades will not be copied over.

If you selected Select Components

  1. Select the checkboxes for any of the components you wish to copy.
    • If you want both content modules/topics and files, you will need to check both Content and Course Files.
    • If selecting the Groups option, it is suggested to choose Select individual items to copy and to uncheck any class section groups from the previous semester (eg: class001_sec001). New section groups are automatically created for your course.
    • select

    • When finished making your selections, click Continue.
    • Confirm your selections:
      • If you have only selected to copy components in their entirety, you will be prompted to confirm the selections.
      • If you have opted to copy only select items items from components, a separate screen will appear for each component. Select the desired components, using expand all and collapse all to expand and collapse the menus if necessary.
    • Click Continue. You will see a confirmation page of the components to be copied. 
    • If everything looks correct, click Finish. It will take a moment for your course components to be copied. As components are copied you will see a message indicating the success of the copy with a green checkmark.
    • When all components are successfully copied, click Done.

What to Do Next

After copying components from one course to another, you must manually apply some copied components to the new course (in other words, they won't just be turned on automatically in the new course). These components include any navbars, homepages, or grades schemes you copied in. For details on how to apply these components, see D2L - Applying Copied Components to a New Course (UW-Madison) .

If your new course is ready for student use, you need to activate it so students can access it. For details, see 3192.

Known Copied Course Issues

Some course components do not copy from semester to semester. 
  1. Chats: Chat rooms are not copied to the new course. Chat titles can be copied manually from the old course by copying and pasting.
  2. Calculated Gradebook columns: Calculated columns in the Gradebook are not copied to the new course. You may still look at your old course as a reference when recreating calculated columns.
  3. Articles: Article postings are not copied to the new course. Articles can be copied manually from the old course by copying and pasting.
  4. Pseudo-students: Pseudo-students are not automatically added to your new course.
    • To add a pseudo-student, follow the directions on "Adding a Participant to a Course" and enter the login ID of the pseudo-student used in the previous semester.
  5. Quicklinks: Quicklinks created prior to June 1, 2005 (including those created in html documents using the html editor) may point to the files and tools in the old course. For this reason, it is necessary to check quicklinks in content, html pages, and widgets. Use the role change widget on Course Home to verify that the links work for students (pseudo-students might have different access than a student enrolled in the course). More information on Quicklink issues can be found in Document 8750 is unavailable at this time..
  6. Homepages: Instructors will not be able to edit a course homepage copied from a previous semester from the manage homepages screen. Instead, click on the Manage Homepage in the lower-right corner of the body of the course homepage.
In D2L, folder names are limited to 50 characters and file names are limited to 128 characters. Existing items with path lengths that exceed the Windows limits can continue to cause failures and errors when copying course components. 

  1. The instructor must have access to both courses. If you do not have access to the previous course, have an instructor of that course add you as an instructor using the procedure in D2L - Adding Participants to a Course (UW-Madison).
  2. To ensure that you and your students receive service updates and are aware of the D2L privacy policy, the Service News and Privacy Statement widgets are strongly recommended. See D2L - Customizing a D2L Course Homepage (UW-Madison) for information on how to add these and other widgets.

Keywords:learn@uw learnuw d2l desire2learn edit course copy components semester import export previous transfer course content move materials   Doc ID:2617
Owner:Learn@UW Madison .Group:Learn@UW Madison
Created:2004-03-24 19:00 CDTUpdated:2017-12-01 12:20 CDT
Sites:DoIT Help Desk, DoIT Tech Store, Learn@UW Madison, UW-Extension and Colleges
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