D2L - Basic Information for Instructors (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.

Desire2Learn is a course management system that allows instructors to post course materials online, hold course discussions, deliver quizzes, gather assignments through a dropbox, post grades, and more. This document is intended to help instructors who are new to Desire2Learn. It provides information on logging in, how to navigate the interface, and how to help your students.

Logging In
How to Help Your Students

Learn@UW Course Dashboard

The Learn@UW Course Dashboard is a consolidated list of all your UW-Madison credit, non-credit, continuing education, and employee training courses that use either the Desire2Learn (D2L) or Moodle online platforms. (It’s important to remember that not all instructors use D2L or Moodle for their courses.)

Now when you log into Learn@UW, instead of seeing the D2L "My Home" page, you will see the new Learn@UW Course Dashboard. (Note: You can still access the D2L "My Home" page by clicking on the Desire2Learn link near the top of the Dashboard.)

For more information, check out this knowledge base article.

Logging In

To begin using Desire2Learn, go to the login page and click the UW NetID Login button. You'll need to enter your NetID and password.

Navigating the Interface

Here's the Desire2Learn My Home page and a description of the different navigation elements.
D2L My Home

Understanding the Difference Between My Home and Course Home

  • My Home (shown above) is your starting point inside Desire2Learn. It's where you can access your list of course sites. 
  • Course Home is the first page you see when you go to a course. 

The minibar is your main navigation tool to courses and personal settings in Desire2Learn. It contains a link to your My Home page, the course selector, alerts, and your personal menu (where you can manage all of your Desire2Learn settings and log out of the system).

Here's more detail about each element of the minibar:
  • Course selector. Your courses are listed in the course selector and you can sort them by name or by date last accessed. You can also "pin" courses in the course selector to the top of the list, making them easy to find later on. If you have a lot of courses, you can click Load More Courses to expand the course list or use the Search field to find a course. 
  • Alerts. If you have unread alerts, a red circule appears next to the appropriate icon. 
    • The envelope icon shows when there are new IM alerts and ePortfolio invitations. 
    • The notepad icon shows when there are new and updated news posts in your courses, upcoming end/due dates, new/updated grades, and ePortfolio item assessments. 
    • The text bubbles icon shows when there are new posts in discussions to which you've subscribed and new comments about ePortfolio items.
  • Personal Menu. The personal menu contains links to your Desire2Learn account settings, profile, notification options, account settings, and log out. 

Similar to how the minibar is your main navigation tool within Desire2Learn, the navbar is your main navigation tool within the My Home page and within each course site. Within your courses the navbar displays the course name and tool links. If you'd like you can customize your course navbar

Basic Info About Course Tools

The following list describes some of the most commonly used Desire2Learn course tools. Your courses may not use some of these tools (or may use tools other than those listed here).

NameWhat it DoesDid You Know?
ClasslistLists everyone enrolled in the course.You can send emails from the Classlist.
ContentProvides access to course materials such as syllabus and reading assignments.The default course homepage features a "Content Browser" widget which allows quick and easy access to the course content.
GradesUsed for managing grades on class assignments. Final grades in Desire2Learn are NOT official. Your students should always go to My UW-Madison for official final grades. 
DropboxEnables students to submit (upload) assignments to dropbox folders, eliminating the need to email their assignments to you.You can grade assignments and leave feedback directly from within the Dropbox.
QuizzesAllows your students to take a quiz from inside your course.Release conditions allow you to control when a student can take a quiz (for instance, only after viewing a certain piece of course content).
DiscussionLets you and your students communicate by posting, reading, and replying to discussion threads on different topicsYou can subscribe to discussions, which sends you a notification when someone has posted something new.
GroupsAllows you to create student groups.You can give assignments to groups instead of individuals and accept one dropbox submission for the group. In those situations, any member of the group can submit files to the dropbox folder.
IMAllows sending of instant messages to other Desire2Learn users. Quiz settings allow you to disable the IM tool during online quizzes.
ePortfolioA personal portfolio tool for storing, organizing, reflecting on, and sharing items that representlearning. Allows uploading of documents, graphics, audio files, videos, presentations, course work, etc. See here for more information on ePortfolios.
CalendarAllows you to view and arrange your course events. You can subscribe to the Calendar from your personal calendars (for example, Google Calendar).

What if You or Your Students Can't See Your Course?

There are a few reasons why instructors might not be able to see a course in Desire2Learn. For more please see "D2L - Instructor Cannot See a Course in D2L (UW-Madison) ".

If you are teaching a timetable course, enrollment will be automatic for users with NetIDs. If your students can't see your course, it could be that it hasn't been activated. For instructions, see "D2L - Activating a Current Semester Course (UW-Madison) ".

NOTE: If you need to add non-enrolled students in your course, see "Learn@UW (UW-Madison Only) - Adding Non-Enrolled Users to a Course ".

Setting Up Your Course

The many documents in this KnowledgeBase will assist you in using Desire2Learn. You can find whatever you're looking for by doing a search. However, the following three documents include helpful start-up information, such as tutorials, to get you up and running:
Although instructors aren't responsible for providing Desire2Learn training, you may receive questions from your students about how to use Desire2Learn. 

If you're unable to answer students' questions, you can:
  • Advise them to contact the DoIT Help Desk with their Desire2Learn questions

    Keywords:learn@uw learnuw d2l desire2learn student students instructors instructor TA getting started navigate navigating logging in logon login my home minibar navbar alert alerts preferences settings help can't see course cannot   Doc ID:30520
    Owner:Learn@UW Madison .Group:Learn@UW Madison
    Created:2013-06-05 13:04 CDTUpdated:2017-12-04 12:29 CDT
    Sites:DoIT Help Desk, DoIT Tech Store, Learn@UW Madison
    Feedback:  0   0