Desire2Learn Workarounds

Last Updated: 02/11/2014

Overview

In instances when D2L is unavailable, instructors can use these alternatives to connect with their students.

OIT's Academic Technology Consultants (ATCs) assist the faculty with integrating technologies into their teaching, research and creative works. They are also able to assist faculty with learning the workarounds suggested below. Here is a listing of ATC and their contact information.

WORKAROUNDS FOR FACULTY

Email Your Class


The outage has been frustrating for everyone... particularly students. To help keep students informed, send an email to them via MyCuInfo to let them know how quizzes, assignments, and discussions due during the outage will be handled.

To see a list of students enrolled in your course and to send an email to the entire class, select class email (to go straight to the class email) or course roster to the right of your course name in the Teaching Tools tab in MyCUInfo.

Please note: many instructors have been sending emails this way, and as a result messages to students have been delayed for up to 90 minutes.

  • We are working to add capacity to address the problem.
  • Large attachments put additional demand on the system. Instead of attaching documents for students, please upload them to Google Drive, Dropbox, or another online storage service (see Other file sharing options below).
  • If you receive an error message when attempting to send an email, please contact the service center at help@colorado.edu.

Share Course Information and Materials with Students


Google Apps for Education: Learn more about Google Apps on the Google Apps FAQ.

The new Google Apps for Education service on campus can offer many possible D2L workarounds, and even some new features, for your classroom technology experience. While Google Apps is not an “Online Learning Environment”, many of Google’s core products overlap with popular OLE features and can support online learning whether D2L is available or not.

All campus users can access Google Apps from any Google portal (or general login at https://accounts.google.com/) by using your username@colorado.edu (not first.last@colorado.edu) and your IdentiKey password:

 

Once in the system, you can use many of Google’s popular tools to share files, websites, and discussions securely, using any campus user’s preferred email address. For instance:

Google Docs/Drive (drive.google.com)

Google Drive, including Google’s popular Google Docs service, offers email-based sharing of common files, videos, and folders. Create a folder, add your files, and then choose how to share them with your class. You can make the folder private (in which you’ll need to share with each of your students’ @colorado.edu email addresses) or the semi-secure “link only” option. Students can also submit work securely with you, by uploading and sharing files with you in the same manner.

Google Groups (groups.google.com)

By creating groups that include student email addresses, you can continue to have collaborative email and/or threaded conversations as well as simplify sharing for other Google resources.

Google Sites (sites.google.com)

Users can create simple websites, embed files, pictures, calendars, and discussions, and then share those resources securely with student email addresses.

While CU-Boulder’s Google Apps for Education offers many other compelling technologies for online learning, including Google+, Blogger, and Calendar, we encourage new users to chose one or two of the above technologies that will best support their immediate needs as we continue to develop Google Apps training and documentation.


Additional Alternatives to D2L


You can use a web-based file sharing tool to distribute course materials to students or create a simple website with course information. You can also add a course web page to your existing website. Some website options allow student participation and can be used by students to exchange course information and materials with each other. 

Other file sharing options

  • Google Docs/Drive allows you to create a document and then select to share that item with others to view/edit or comment.
    • This alternative is FERPA compliant for your new colorado.edu Google account, but not for personal accounts.
  • Use Dropbox to distribute course files by creating a shared folder. Place all your files in the folder and send the link to students via MyCUInfo. New to Dropbox? Create an account at: https://www.dropbox.com. Instructions for creating a folder are available here - https://www.dropbox.com/help/274/en.
    • This alternative is not FERPA compliant and should not be used for documents containing student records.

FERPA information is available on the Registrar’s website: http://registrar.colorado.edu/regulations/definition_of_education_records.html

Website options that allow student participation

Google groups or Facebook groups can be used as a discussion and file sharing space for students. Instructions for attaching a document for a group on Facebook

Blogger: Students can sign into Blogger using their username@colorado.edu accounts and then can post comments, depending on the privacy settings of the blog. The instructor or a student would need to create the blog space to begin the discussion.

Static Website Options (can be updated only by instructors)

Google Docs/Drive: By setting a document or presentation to view only in Google Docs/Drive and then publish the page, you can share a URL with students from which they can easily view your content but not edit it.

Google Sites: Users can create simple websites, embed files, pictures, calendars, and discussions, and then share those resources securely with student email addresses.

Spot/Rintintin: If you use your server space here at CU through either Spot or Rintintin, you can upload pdfs or PowerPoints directly to the web. The URL that you will then have for the files will appear as: http://spot.colorado.edu/~username/filename OR http://rintintin.colorado.edu/~username/filename

Leeds Faculty Only: http://leeds-faculty.colorado.edu/username

Collect Assignments


  • Ask students to upload assignments to their personal cloud storage accounts (e.g., Google Drive, Dropbox, SkyDrive, Box, etc) and share the link with you.
    • NOTE: When making this request, remember to inform your students that using these services implies consent. Also, be aware that students have the ability to revise documents-- even past the due date--after they have been shared this way.
  • Qualtrics (to collect homework submissions <16MB) Faculty can create a ‘survey’ using the “file upload” question type to collect assignments from students. Email your students the survey link and just explain that this as a means to collect assignments. As students upload their assignments, their files will be store on the back end of the survey responses in one location (versus 50 individual emails).

Distributing Grades


There are a few options for distributing grades to students to remain FERPA-compliant.

  1. Instead of posting grades with student IDs to a central place for all students to see, assign and communicate a random number to each student first. Post the random number (without the student ID) alongside the student's grade.
  2. Ask students to send you an email if they are comfortable with you sending their grade to their email account. If they agree, email is a viable solution.

WORKAROUNDS FOR STUDENTS

Touch base with your instructor to find out how they will be handling quizzes, assignments, and discussions due during the outage.

Send instructors assignments via email or share the link to assignments you have uploaded to your personal cloud storage account (e.g., Google Drive, Dropbox, SkyDrive, Box, etc.).