D2L Spring Release 2017

  • Overview
  • Updates for Students
  • Updates for Instructors
  • Access and Pin Classes


The new Desire2Learn (D2L) user interface is a modern, unifying aesthetic that creates an engaging and responsive experience for users regardless of the device they are using. It is comprised of new fonts, simplified icons, responsive design, and a set of fresh navigation controls. The objective is to improve the visual design in several key ways: easy and not be intimidating to get started with D2L; give prominence to learning activities; and have support for universal access on mobile devices. The user interface is not such an extensive a set of changes as it looks at first glance. The changes are mostly cosmetic:

  • new font type and size,
  • the buttons are more apparent,
  • removal of cumbersome widgets,
  • clean navigation bars,
  • icons are larger and much easier to see,
  • optimized interface for mobile devices and tablets,
  • enhanced navigation on desktop computers.

D2L continues to work on enhancing existing tools and resources and there will be tweaks and enhancements in the months to come. All the tools and processes you are familiar with remain the same. Rest assured, all your files, course settings, dates, and class activities are preserved. In the coming months, you may look forward to the rollout a self-guided tour of D2L, updated tutorials, new videos, searchable database, guides, templates, learning tools, and publisher support services. In addition, you can expect some fixes to some 'unexpected features', improvements to existing tools and features, and new learning technologies!


My Home Page

A picture of a college student. Learners

D2L is a learning environment for your instructors to post class announcements, publish course content, facilitate online discussions, assign assignments, and administer online quizzes and tests. Here are some recent changes that have occurred over the summer and a reminder of a couple older ones. These changes will introduce you to some of the updated features and tools you may encounter in D2L.

D2L Pulse

Pulse is a mobile app that helps you find out wha i's new and what is next in your classes. You can use it to stay up to date and prepared by unifying course calendars, assignments, grades, and announcements during the busiest times.

Learn More

Windows Edge

Windows Edge browser is now fully supported in addition to MS Internet Explorer 11. Microsoft IE10 and earlier versions are not supported and you may experience issues within D2L.

Make sure your computer meets the necessary system requirements and passes the D2L System Check.

User Interface

You may notice the News and Events widget is now static - no more excessive scrolling to see your classes. The blue banners have been removed and multiple widgets have been consolidated. The 'Select a Course' on the top nav-bar has been replaced with a graphic icon and shift to the right of the email icon.

course selector icon

Resources and Support

The Student Services and Resources widget has been renamed and moved. The Support menu now lists the applicable support tool and services for D2L. Information Technology launched a new Service Desk website with a knowledge base to resolve common issues. You can also submit and track incident tickets. The Service Desk can also be reached by phone at 954.201.7521 and live online chat.

My Courses Widget

Classes are now displayed by class title and a graphic image set by your instructor. Classes can be added and removed from the My Courses view by pinning or unpinning the classes. Course can be pinned using the Course Selector from the top navigation bar (recommended) or the View All Courses link in the My Courses widget.

Note: Your class(es) will not be listed in the Course Selector until the official start date and time as listed in your class schedule.

Course Navigation Bar

The navigation bar has been restructured with new menus. The Assessments tool has been renamed to Quizzes & Tests.

  • Communication menu: Announcements, Chat, Discussions, Email, Instant Messages, and Blackboard Collaborate
  • Assessments menu: Assignments, Quizzes & Tests, Discussions, Grades, Class Progress, Rubrics, Self-Assessments, Surveys, and Checklist
  • Tools menu:Course Admin (instructors), Manage Files (instructors), Attendance, Glossary, Groups, Links, and Roster
  • Resources menu: Academic Resources, Brainfuse (formerly Smarthinking), Library Resources, Student Tutorials, Instructor Tutorials (instructors), and Technical Support

A picture of an instructor. Instructors

In addition to the student releases, there have been quite a number of updates that are rolling out for Spring. Here are some recent changes as well as a reminder of some of the older ones. These changes will introduce you to some of the new features and tools you may encounter in D2L.

Assignment Grader

This is mobile application that you can use to download and evaluate assignment submissions from the class assignment submission folders. You can view submissions and add grades and feedback. You can apply feedback in a variety of formats including text, audio, or video. You can get the app from the AppStore or Google Play

Class Announcements

The Announcements widget is now wider and provides additional room to add multimedia content, including images, videos, and embed codes. Most of your announcements should display responsively, however, you may wish to review them for formatting.

My Courses Widget

Classes are now displayed by class title and a graphic image. You have the option to add an image to the course via the My Courses widget or Course Admin tool (formerly Edit Course).

Known Issue: Using the My Courses widget to change the course image is temporarily not working as expected. Please use the Course Admin → Course Offering Information page to change the course image.

Course Navigation Bar

As indicated in the Student, the navigation bar has been restructured with new menus. The Edit Course tool was renamed to Course Admin. Course Builder may be found within the Course Admin page or may be accessed from the Content Browser drop-down menu. Blackboard Collaborate has been added to the Communication tool menu, it is inactive by default.


Similar to the Quizzes & Tests tool, you may now opt to receive email notifications when students submit assignments. The document viewer now displays submitted images in their original format, instead of a tiny thumbnail. There is also alleged support for display MS Excel (xls) spreadsheets.

LockDown Browser

You can now exempt individual students from requiring Respondus LockDown Browser to accommodate specific needs. There is now a LockDown Browser tab to on the Manage Quizzes page. The tab allows you to quickly identify which quizzes and tests have LDB enabled and may provide students the option to complete quizzes on their tablets.

Access and Pin Classes

Where are my classes in the My Courses widget? How can I add classes to the My Courses widget? How do I pin a course from the Course Selector and View all Courses link?

Your classes can be found within the Course Selector. To see them in the My Courses widget, you will need to pin them.

  1. Locate and click on the Course Selector icon in minibar on the top right corner of the page.
  2. From the menu, identify your class from the list.
    • You may either (A) scroll through the list of courses available to you or (2) enter the course ID (e.g. ENC1001, CGS1060C, etc.) or course reference number in the search box and click the Search icon.
  3. Click on the pin icon to the right side of the course name.
    • Pinned course(s) have a dark pushpin icon and will always appear at the top of the drop-down list.
    • To unpin the course, click on the pin icon a second time. The unpinned course(s) have a light gray pushpin icon.

Notice: Your class(es) will not be listed in the Course Selector until the class start time. For example, if your class starts Wednesday at 10:00 AM, the class will not be listed in D2L until that date and time. In the event the class has begin and is not listed, please submit a ticket to the Service Desk.

Wrapping it Up

The new user interface provides a clean look without all the distractions. The workflow and tools continue to function as you are accustomed to. The Learning Technologies team will continue to provide you with new updates and fixes as they are applied. Stay tuned for more information and tips.

Note: This is pre-release information. The functionality, screenshots, and configuration of features are subject to change during the holiday break. A finalized page will be provided the first week of January, 2017.