Measuring students’ use of content in D2L

Photo by Skip via Flickr (CC BY-NC-ND 2.0)

Photo by Skip via Flickr (CC BY-NC-ND 2.0)

We live in an age of metrics. We wear devices to measure our steps, heart rate, and blood pressure. Our social media engagement is discretized into hits, and clicks, and “likes”. Even academic productivity is judged by numbers: publications, citations, impact factors, h-indices. It is not surprising then that instructors would also want to gather data on their students. Continue reading

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Setting up email or SMS notifications on D2L

Image by tyle_r via flickr (CC BY-NC 2.0)

Image by tyle_r via flickr (CC BY-NC 2.0)

We use a piece of software at Laurentian called D2L (formerly known as Desire2Learn). For those who are unfamiliar with it, D2L is what is refered to as a Course Management System (CMS) or a Learning Management System (LMS). Blackboard, Moodle, and Canvas are some of the other popular alternatives within this market segment.

When a student logs into D2L they find entries for each of the courses in which they are enrolled. The amount of material available in each course depends entirely on the instructor. Some elect not to use it at all. I use it extensively for distributing lecture materials and assignments, posting announcements, hosting course-related discussions, and even collecting and marking assignments. Because we use it so much in my classes, I inform the students during the first lecture that they are responsible for staying updated on the news and content available on D2L.

One piece of feedback I have received from students is that they sometimes forget to check the site regularly. Thankfully, D2L has notification features which will automatically send email or text reminders about new content. This post will walk you through how to set up these notifications so that you can remain updated without having to login to D2L on a regular basis. Continue reading

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