The homepage for all new D2L courses includes several widgets, including one News widget immediately under the Nav bar. The News widget is where the instructor displays a “Welcome to the class” and news items as they occur.
Creating a Welcome:
The intention of the Welcome is two fold: 1) let the students know that they are in the right spot, i.e., they are in the correct D2L course, and 2) tell them how to get started.
To create a Welcome, click on the drop down arrow in the News navbar and choose New News Item. Add a Headline, e.g., “Welcome to Micro Economics”. Click into the textbox area and add whatever text is appropriate. The Welcome News item typically includes the name of the class, including section and semester(s), the name of the instructor, and a line or two on what the class is all about. It also includes a line or two telling the students how to get started, e.g., “To get started in this class click on the Content link and read the Syllabus and Introduction files.” When you’re finished, click Publish.
Manage the Homepage Layout:
Click on the gear icon in the lower right of the course homepage to open the Homepage Management tool. This tool allows you to choose from pre-defined homepage layouts, or create your own. To choose a pre-defined homepage, click on the down arrow in the drop-down box and select your theme. Click Apply to activate your selection and then Course Home in the Nav bar to return to your course homepage.
Creating News Items:
News items are used for announcements, reminders, etc. They are prominently displayed so students are less likely to miss them. They can be created ahead of time and then dated so they appear at the right time. Because of this, some instructors use News to remind their students of project due dates. They can include a single attachment, much like an email attachment, so some instructors use News for assignments.
To create a News item, click on the drop down arrow in the News navbar and choose New News Item button. Add a headline and set the date and time if you want it to appear at a specific time. Click in the textbox and add the text to the news item as described above.
To edit a news item, click the drop down arrow next to the heading for the news item and select the Pencil icon (Edit). To delete a news item, follow the Edit steps, but choose the Trashcan icon (Delete) instead.
Using the HTML Editor:
D2L has a HTML editor incorporated into many tools, including News, Content, Discussions, and many more. The HTML editor is a user-friendly interface that allows for more sophisticated formatting for authors without HTML coding skills. It can be found under the Advanced tab attached to the textbox when creating or editing News items.
To attach a file:
To attach a file to a News item, click on the drop down arrow next to the heading for the news item and select the Pencil to begin editing if not already in the Edit Items window. Click on Add a File, then the Browse button within the Add a File window. Browse through your files until you locate the desired file. There are also shortcuts on the left side of the Add a File window to common file locations. Select the desired file and click Open. The path and filename appear in the Attach File textbox. Click Upload. Your file appears under attachments in the Edit Items window. Click Update to save the News item with the attachment.
An important note on file names:
D2L can be very picky when it comes to file names. I strongly suggest that everyone limit their file names to UPPER and lowercase letters, digits, and the under_score. Avoid spaces, slashes, extra punctuation, unusual characters, etc. File names can be very descriptive, even within these limitations. And in the past there have been serious problems when we’ve wandered from these guidelines.
A note on the order of News items:
D2L displays five news items. If there are more than five items a Show All News Items link appears so the user can access hidden items. By default the most recently posted News items appear at the top of the list. To change that order click on the drop down arrow in the News Navbar. Click on Reorder News Items (green arrows) and use the dropdown renumber the items.