How to update your course outline in D2L

If you have to adjust assessments in your course as a result of the extension of remote teaching during the Winter 2022 semester, you will need to ensure that you have provided all students in your course with an updated course outline. The Content tool in your D2L Brightspace course allows you to share the outline and to track views of the document to ensure that all students have seen it. This guide will show you how to update the course outline in your D2L course, and how to access the completion tracking data to identify any students that may not have seen the updated document.

Step 1: Hide the previous course outline document

If you have shared your course outline through D2L already, you will want to hide it so that students aren’t confused about which version is correct. To do so, locate the topic (original course outline), click on the drop-down menu beside it and select the Hide from Users option.

When you return to the module, you will see a crossed out eye icon by the existing course outline topic. This means that students will not be able to see this file.

Step 2: Upload the updated course outline

Once you have hidden the previous course outline, you can now add a new file with the updated course outline. In the same course module, choose New > Upload Files to upload your new file.

D2L will ask you to choose where to find the file, choose My Computer and then browse to where the file is saved on your computer.

Note: We recommend that you give the file a new name, slightly different than the original course outline, for example, append the revision date, like “Course Number_outline_Jan17.pdf” to ensure that students do not get a cached version of the older file by accident.

Once you have chosen the file, D2L will ask you to confirm, click Add.

By default, D2L uses the name of the file as the topic name. You may modify the title after upload to help with readability. We suggest you mention that this is the updated course outline (and ideally, include the date).

Make sure that the Visibility toggle is set to On and that the tracking is set to Required: Automatic. (These are usually the defaults.) With these settings, you will be able to get a sense of which students have clicked into the topic and viewed the course outline through the D2L viewer.

When finished, your D2L shell should include the old course outline, hidden from students and the updated course outline visible.

Step 3: Announce the Updated Course Outline via News and Email

We suggest that you tell students about the update using both the News (Announcement) tool and the Email tool. This will ensure that students are aware of the update when they log in to D2L or check their email.

To create a new News Item, choose News from the Communication Menu. You should also be able to access this function from the course’s homepage.

Click the New Item button to create your course announcement.

In the dialog for the new News item, you can provide a headline as well as a description of the updates to the course outline for your students. We also recommend that you link directly to the updated course outline so that students do not get lost navigating the content.

To link directly, select the text you would like to use and click the Insert Quicklink button.

From here, you can navigate to Content and then to your updated course outline (topic/ file).

Once connected and the News item has been published, students will be able to see that announcement, click on the hyperlink to jump directly to the updated course outline the next time they visit your D2L course. For those who have signed up for notifications, they may receive an SMS text and/ or an email with the message as well.

Note: It is likely that not all students have signed up for notifications in D2L as it is a personal option. To ensure your whole class is aware of the change, we strongly recommend sending them an email as well.

Under Communication, choose Classlist / Email.

From the Classlist click the Email Classlist button.

This will bring up an email interface with all of the students included automatically in the BCC field. You can add a subject and a message as you did for the News item, you can again link to the updated course outline to ensure that students go directly to the page. You may also want to add the updated course outline as an attachment to ensure students have a copy of it.

When ready you can click Send to send this message to your students’ primary email.

Step 4: View status information to determine which students have viewed the updated course outline.

To see which of your students have viewed or not viewed the updated course outline, you can look at the Completion Summary, located at the bottom of the page, once you have clicked into the topic.

For example, here we can see that Rex O’Saurus has not clicked into the topic and has likely not viewed the updated course outline in D2L yet.

Once the student has viewed the updated course outline, the Completion Summary will show that along with the timestamp of when they have viewed it.

Limitation: If the student directly Downloads the file from the main Table of Contents/ Module page, instead of clicking into the topic itself first, then the completion tracker will not mark them as having viewed the topic.