D2L - Retention and removal of old D2L courses (UW-Madison)
The University of Wisconsin System has been using D2L (Desire2Learn) as the system-wide course management system since 2003. In the interest of performance, sustainability, and the best experience for instructors and students, obsolete D2L courses will be permanently removed from the servers which run D2L.
The policy and guidelines are consistent with records retention and removal requirements as established by University of Wisconsin policy for electronic records.
To purge a D2L course refers to the complete removal and deletion of that course with no way of restoring it. To purge a D2L course is to permanently delete it. This includes all files and student records.
Instructors can view their D2L courses in the My Courses widget of the D2L home page. Courses are identified by semester and year. Semesters with courses to be deleted will be labeled as such.
Note that instructors might need to click on the Plus icon to the left of a semester to expand and display the list of their courses in that semester. All courses listed on a semester slated for deletion will be deleted if no action is taken. Instructors should contact their site administrator if they have any questions on what is going to be deleted.
We do not delete relatively recent courses primarily because:
- Students need sufficient time to finish incompletes and challenge grades, and
- Instructors need sufficient time to reoffer their course.
Retaining recent courses is consistent with the guidelines and policies of the UW Records Officers Council.
In most cases, when a course is reoffered by the same instructor, the instructor copies some or all of the contents, files, gradebook and discussion structure from a previous offering into the new offering. Once that copy process is complete, the earlier version of the course offering can be deleted without affecting the new course offering.
For instructions on how to copy components from one course to another, please refer to this KnowledgeBase document.
I need to retain my gradebook so I can review student performance several years after the course ends.
The D2L gradebook can be exported to a CSV file that can be opened with Excel and other applications.
When downloading or saving gradebooks or student submissions, it is critical to maintain the privacy of those student records. They should be saved on campus-housed, password protected network storage rather than on local hard drives.
Questions about how long gradebooks and student records may be retained should be forwarded to the UW-Madison Registrar's Office.
Content, course files and quizzes can be copied into a newer offering of the same course. This is very common, especially when the same instructor teaches both offerings. For instructions on how to copy components from one course to another, please refer to this KnowledgeBase document.
The need to establish a course cleanup policy at Learn@UW and to set up a process accordingly is imperative to our on-going smooth operation. The amount of data we have retained and its associated costs is increasing steadily since the deployment of D2L in 2003. The quantity of data has already impacted costs for storage, backups, upgrades, and support resources. Our main reason for deleting obsolete courses is to at least contain the growth of our costs in the previously mentioned areas, in addition to lessening any impact on performance and user experience as growth continues.
Instructors can export their content files, grade book and student files from a drop box folder and retain them locally. For instructions on how to retain your course data, please refer to this KnowledgeBase document.
Your courses will be permanently deleted on schedule. In most cases, you will not need these courses and do not need to take any action.
The Learn@UW Madison Team is prepared to answer your questions and provide assistance, as needed. If you have unusual needs or concerns about the process, please contact them at firstname.lastname@example.org.