What's New for Everyone in Desire2Learn Version 10.3?

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What's New for Everyone in Desire2Learn Version 10.3?

Below you'll find a list of the changes in this new version, grouped by tool. These changes apply to all users (both course owners and students). For a list of features that specifically impact students, see What's New - For Students.

List of Features

Content

Discussion

Dropbox

Gradebook

Quizzing and Surveys

Import/Export/Copy Components

Other Misc. Changes

Content Tool

Expandable Content Menu

The Content tool now features an expandable left menu panel that lets you quickly navigate to any topic or module in the course, at any time. The panel also support swipe gestures on tablets so you can swipe left to expand and right to collapse the panel on both iPad and Android tablets.

Instructors can drag and drop files directly into the menu panel to upload and update topics, without ever needing to leave the Content viewer.

Content menu

Fig. 1 - Use the new expandable Content menu to jump to any other topic or back to the Table of Contents

Content menu drag and drop

Fig. 2 - Instructors - Drag and drop files into the Content panel to upload files

Student Progress Summaries Directly in Content

The Content Viewer now displays an inline student report summary, enabling instructors to see who has completed an assignment directly from within the Content tool. Using this feature, instructors can also hover over any student's profile picture to contact the student, access their full profile, and view their overall course progress.

Content progress summary

Fig. 3 - View student progress inline, on every Content activity

Hover over student profile image

Fig. 4 - Within the inline student progress list, a user "badge" displays when you hover over any user

Create Any Activity in Content

Instructors now have ability to create new checklists, discussions, dropbox folders, quizzes, and surveys without ever leaving the Content tool. There is also now the ability to quickly add links from Content to existing course activities using a new "Insert Quicklink" control in the HTML editor.

Fig. 5 - Create new course activities directly from Content

Apply Existing HTML Styles to Content Files

Instructors can create course "templates" to use later by saving HTML files to a course directory that you define. Then, when creating a new HTML file, you can select to apply the content and styles from an existing course HTML file to the new file. Your new document pulls in all content and styles from the file, then you can start modifying your new document as desired.

IMG-

Create a new HTML document based on a template HTML file

Fig. 6 Create a new HTML document based on a template HTML file

Fig. 7 - Assign a directory where you will store HTML templates for later use

Content Update Notifications for Students

Instructors can choose to notify students of changes to course content. They can include a custom message with the notification and choose to reset completion tracking for students who have already completed the activity (these students will see the word "Updated" next to the completion marker to indicate they were reset.

Students will see the alert in the toolbar at the top of the screen (red dot). They can also choose to receive email or SMS notifications about updated content.

Change Notification for Students

Fig. 8 - Students can be notified of content changes

Expand and Collapse Improvements

The Table of Contents now remembers the expanded/collapsed state of modules from session to session, and includes options to expand all and collapse all with a single click.

TOC expand and collapse

Fig. 9 - Contents can be expanded and collapsed, and your setting is remembered from session to session

Improved Handling of External Links and Unsupported File Types

External links now automatically open in a new tab or window, as well as a placeholder page in Content (opening in a new tab/window was optional before). This allows instructors to track whether the link was visited, and maintains consistent course navigation for the student.

For files that cannot be displayed in place, a placeholder page is provided that includes a visually prominent Download option.

Placeholder page for external links

Fig. 10 - Example of the placeholder page for external links

Placeholder for unsupported file type

Fig. 11 - Example of an unsupported file type download page

Language and Style Updates to the Overview Page

The placeholder text on the Overview page was updated from “Add a description...” to “Add a welcome message, overview or description...” to better distinguish it from the Table of Contents page. The style of the Add Attachments control was also updated to reduce the possibility of instructors mistaking it for the primary drag-and-drop area for adding new content files.

Previous Course Overview

Fig. 12 - Previous Course Overview page

New Course Overview

Fig. 13 - New Course Overview Page

Discussion Tool

Improved, Simplified Discussions Interface

Previously, the reading view of Discussions was a single list of threads and replies within a topic. The new and improved Discussions "reading" view is more compact with less clutter. It allows you to quickly scan the columns to see which topics have unread or unapproved posts and to join the discussion with ease. (The "grid" view is no long available.)

Discussions new interface

Fig. 14 - The new and improved Discussions "reading" view is more compact with less clutter.

Hide or view discussions with a single click

Fig. 15 - Set Topics to View or Hide with a single click at the top level or for individual forums.

Subscribe to a topicUnsubscribe to a topic

Fig. 16 - Subscribing (and unsubscribing) to a forum or topic has gotten easier because it's been moved into the context menu, along with the rest of the options for that forum/topic

Flyout menu for discussions and topics

Fig. 17 - If you choose to turn off the Discussion "List" view (in your Discussion Settings), a new space-saving expandable menu allows you to easily navigate through all discussion forums and threads in the course

Discussions Restore Feature

The Delete area of Discussions has been replaced with a new Restore area. Instructors (or anyone with appropriate permissions) can now delete discussion forums/topics quickly from the Discussions list.

If accidentally deleting a forum/topic, simply use the new Restore area to undo the action. The Restore area also tracks who deleted something from the Discussions area.

Restore deleted topics and discussions

Fig. 18 - Restore deleted forums/topics, and view when and by whom they were deleted

Two More Options for Rating Discussions

In addition to the five-star rating option, there are two new rating options that instructors can assign to individual discussion topics: Up/Down Vote, and Up Only Vote. Up/Down Vote allows the class to vote posts up and down, giving each post a cumulative score. Up Only Vote allows the class to vote posts up as a way to show agreement or approval. With both methods, a vote displays next to the discussion post along with the cumulative score for that post. Instructors can configure it to show only your vote for cases where it may not be ideal for students to see the cumulative score. Instructors can set a default rating method in the overall Discussion settings that apply to newly created topics.

The new rating methods could be used for running activities such as Q&A or a class-curated FAQ. To do this, create a topic with one of the two new rating methods. You can then use the "Highest Rated Thread" sort option to show popular questions at the top. Similarly, when viewing a thread, use the "Highest Rated Reply" sort option to bring the most popular answers to the top.

Two rating methods availabe for discussions

Fig. 19 - Two new Discussion rating methods: Up Vote/Down Vote, and Up Vote Only

Improvement to Must Post to Participate

Instructors can now set posting restrictions at the forum level, which will then apply to all topics within that forum. This can be used for situations where instructors are making use of group topics - now the option only has to be set once, rather than on each topic individually.

Discussion Statistics Improvements

Discussion statistics provide a way for instructors to see what's happening in their discussions at a high level. Now, statistics will now call out the number of threads created and replies posted separately. This is helpful when instructors are running activities where students must compose a number of original threads and then reply to other students' threads.

Overview of students postings and replies

Fig. 20 - Now Discussion statistics separates the number of replies and threads created

In addition, Discussion statistics now include statistics for the three voting rating methods: Five-star, Up/Down, and Up Only.

Overview of the ratings for each topic

Fig. 21 - Discussion statistics are provided for the three rating methods

Discussions Integrated with Content

Discussions can now be placed right into Content topics. This means that people can post to Discussions without needing to leave the Content area.

Discussions within the content area

Fig. 22 - Review a discussion from within a Content topic

Improved Discussion Notifications

Users who subscribe to Discussions will now receive a link directly to the post in their subscription notifications.

Notifications link to the discussion forum

Fig. 23 - Discussion notifications contain direct links to posts.

Dropbox Tool

Ability to Upload Multiple Feedback Files to Dropbox

Instructors using the Dropbox to evaluate written submissions can not only bulk download files to evaluate and annotate on your desktop, but you can then bulk upload the evaluated files back into the Dropbox. Once you're ready to upload the files back to the Dropbox, you can simply drag and drop files, in one action, into the dialog box.

Bulk upload for instructor's feedbackBulk upload for feedback

Fig. 24 - Downloaded, evaluated Dropbox feedback files can be uploaded in bulk.

Dropbox Folder Restore Feature

Instructors can now restore deleted Dropbox folders. Simply locate the deleted folder listed in the Event Log and click Restore to restore the folder, along with any submissions and feedback that it contained. (Rubric associations will need to be manually reinstated, along with any release conditions).

Fig. 25 - Dropbox Event Log, with new Restore feature

Dropbox Evaluate Button Wording Adjustment

When evaluating the final Dropbox folder submission, the options available are Publish and Save Draft instead of Finish and Save Draft, removing the confusing "Finish" wording.

Ability to Evaluate Non-Submissions

It is now possible for instructors to evaluate a student from the Dropbox even if no submission was made to a folder. This is useful in cases where an instructor wants to assign a student a comment and grade after the due date has passed, or the submission occurs to somewhere else instead of a Dropbox folder. Currently this feature is only available in the actual Dropbox tool, not in the Content tool's Dropbox Completion Summary. However, that is planned for future releases.

Students See Rubrics Before and After Dropbox Folder Submission

Now students submitting to a Dropbox folder from Content can access the folder's evaluation rubrics before submitting, and also access the completed rubrics after their evaluations are posted.

Gradebook Tool

Milestone Grade Calculation

Instructors now have an additional grade calculation settings, called Milestone Grade Calculation, which sets the total score as the sum of the denominators of chosen grade items, rather than scaling the excluded items to total 100%. This can be useful for calculating mid-term grades.

Fig. 26 - Calculate grades using Milestone Grades Calculation

Quizzing and Survey Tools

Automatic Score Recalculation

Previously, to recalculate a quiz score, the instructor had to scroll to the top of the page and click Recalculate, then scroll back to the bottom of the page and click Save. The Recalculate button has been removed and recalculation occurs automatically whenever an individual question is graded. A final quiz score can either be manually entered or it can be auto-calculated.

Fig. 27 - Auto recalculation of quiz scores

Ability to Add IP Restrictions to Quiz Submission Views

Now the same IP restrictions which apply to students taking a quiz can apply to a quiz’s submission view: the view of quiz information, such as the student's score and optional question and answer information, after the student has submitted a quiz. This extends the security feature, providing additional protection of question and answer information once a quiz is submitted.

Fig. 28 - IP Address Restriction setting for students' quiz submission views

Ability to Limit Duration for Quiz Submission Views

Previously, quiz submission views (which can include a student's score and optional question and answer info) had a starting availability date and time that ended at a defined date and time. As a result, students submitting quizzes at different times would have unequal access duration to a quiz's submission view. Now, however, instructors can set a length of time (in minutes) the view is available, and the starting availability now begins at the time of an student's quiz submission.

Fig. 29 - Limited Duration setting for students' quiz submission views

Changed Tab Structure in Quizzing and Surveys

Previously, instructors adding questions to quizzes/surveys had to navigate to the last tab on the screen. Now, questions are added from the first tab (Properties), not the last.

Fig. 30 - Old add question location (Layout/Questions tab)

Fig. 31 - New add question location (Properties tab)

There is also a new Assessment tab when editing quizzes and surveys. For Quizzes, all information related to quiz assessment such as associated Grade Items, Rubrics, and Attempts is contained on that tab. For Surveys, the ability to associate Rubrics is now moved to the Assessment tab.

Fig. 32 - Assessment tab in Quizzes and Surveys

Import/Export/Copy Components

Interface and Performance Improvements to Copy Components

Copy Components has been re-architected to improve performance during peak use times.

The new framework automatically runs copy course components as a job when the Copy All option is selected. In addition, a history is kept of all past copied components.

Fig. 33 - Copy Components job queuing, and history list

Miscellaneous

Role Switch Now Available in User Profile Menu

Previously, role switch functionality was available only via a widget on the course homepage. Now, role switch can also be performed by clicking your name in the upper-right corner of the window and selecting "View as Student."

Fig. 34 - Role switch is now available via the Profile Menu ("View as..." option)

More Ability to Style Widgets

Widgets can now be even more customized. For example, there is now the ability to control titlebar border styles separately from widget borders. Also, widget backgrounds can be made colored or transparent. Widget borders can also have rounder corners, padding, and drop shadows.

Fig. 35 - More widget styling options

HTML Editor Can Be Used for Calendar Entries

The HTML Editor can now be used for Calendar entry descriptions, so that rich text formatting and embedded media can now be included in descriptions.

Equation Editor Improvements

The Equation Editor within the HTML Editor has been updated significantly. In addition to an updated interface, it no longer has a browser dependency on Java.

Fig. 36 - New Equation Editor

New Group Enrollment Type

There is now a group enrollment type where the group category contains n groups, and each group has a capacity of m users. This new enrollment type is called "# of Groups of # - Self Enrollment." This is useful in situations where students are self-enrolling in groups with a fixed capacity. This type can be used to define the structure of groups (number of groups and capacity of each group in advance. Students can choose which group they would like to join (subject to any constraints of the group structure).

Fig. 37 - New group self-enrollment type

"Compose New Message" Window Improvements

The Compose New Email screen has been redesigned. In addition, drag and drop of file attachments is now supported, along with the ability to record a new audio attachment.

Fig. 38 - Old "Compose New Message" screen

Fig. 39 - New "Compose New Message" screen

Other Changes

Other miscellaneous changes include:

  • Floating command buttons - Command buttons, such as Save, Cancel, etc. at the bottom of the screen now "float," making them always visible and eliminating the need to scroll down the page to access them.
  • Enhanced support for the D2L Binder mobile app - Ability to send multiple documents with one action, support for sending HTL topics, ability for instructor to indicate whether a specific topic is not permitted to be sent to Binder.
  • More drag and drop file upload functionality throughout the application
  • Hovering over a profile picture throughout the interface will display additional information about the user (called a "User Profile card") and allow you to send an email or IM to the user
  • Subject lines are now optional when replying to a discussion thread
  • Posts within a discussion thread now mark as read automatically when viewed
  • Rubrics associated with a discussion topic are now visible to instructors and students
  • Links within a custom group link can now be reordered using drag and drop
  • Different User Progress icon
  • New Book Management tool for entering the ISBN numbers of course textbooks
  • Adding Quicklinks from any tool has been streamlined to reduce the number of clicks
  • Performance and paging improvements for courses that have over 100 content topics

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