Creating Content in a D2L course

Think of Content as digital handouts and resources for your students. This might include a course syllabus, schedule, reading materials, web resources, assignments, etc. Each of these might be created by the instructor or found by the instructor and incorporated into the course. The instructor controls what is in Content.

Content is organized by Modules and there might be many or only one of module. Actual links to specific digital resources, whether they be resources generally available on the Internet or resources created and made available only to students in the course, are called Topics.

How to create a Module

  1. Within your course, click on Content.
  2. If you are not already in the Manage Content section, click on the Manage Content icon.
  3. Click on the New Module icon.
  4. Under the Properties tab,
    1. set the Parent Module to None,
    2. enter an appropriate and descriptive Title.
    3. Enter a Short Title. Generally the Short Title is similar to the Title but no more than about thirty characters.
    4. Click Save
  5. To see your module and other existing modules and topics, click Manage Content or View Content.

How to create a link (a topic) to an existing webpage

  1. Open a separate browser tab or window
    1. in this separate tab, locate the desired web page by navigating to it or searching for it, etc.
    2. select (highlight) the URL (the webpage address) and copy it (Control + C)
  2. Return to the Content page of your D2L course and click on Manage Content
  3. Click on New Topic
  4. Click on QuickLink
  5. In the Properties tab of New Topic – QuickLink:
    1. In Parent Module, select the Module to contain your topic
    2. enter an appropriate and descriptive Title and Short Title
    3. paste the URL of the webpage into the URL box (Control + V is the shortcut for pasting)
    4. If you want this webpage to open in its own window when your students click on the link, check the box that reads: Open in New Window. Otherwise, leave it unchecked.
    5. click Save.
  6. To see your topic link and the rest of your Content, click Manage Content or View Content

A few important notes on linking to existing web pages

  1. It is very easy to mistype a URL. That is why you should find the page and copy and paste the URL.
  2. There is considerable material available on the web, some of which is of very high quality. It’s just a question of finding it. Sometimes finding it is a more viable option then recreating it.
  3. Anything openly available on the web can be used in this process. This is important and significant. It means that instructors can create content in a web share available to them and link to there own files from within D2L. In this situation, the instructor has direct access to their own files and D2L Content organizes their delivery for students. It also means that resources hidden behind username and password are not so readily available to students.

How to take existing documents and add them to Content as topics

  1. You can upload Word documents and PDF files as Topics in Content. In most cases, PDF is preferable to Word.
  2. File names should be reasonably short and contain only letters, digits and the occasional space, e.g., SyllabusInfoSci201Spring09.pdf. Leave out all unusual characters, e.g., ?}#@%':’, &, etc. There should be a single period before the final file extension.
  3. In the Content page, click on Manage Content and New Topic.
  4. Click Upload New File
  5. Choose a Module and enter a Title and Short Title.
  6. In the File to Upload section, click on the Browse… button and locate your file.
  7. When you have the desired file selected, click Open.
  8. Click on Save.
  9. To see Content more or less as a student would see it (not accounting for Restrictions), click on View Content.

A few important notes on Word and PDF files as Content.

  1. This process creates a copy of your file and uploads it to your D2L course. This has advantages and disadvantages.
  2. In most cases, html files are preferred to PDF which are preferred to Word docs. If all you have is Word docs, consider converting them to PDF files before adding them to Content. We do NOT recommend you convert Word docs to html files within Word. Create html files only if you have a good html editor, e.g., Expression Web, Dreamweaver, etc.

How to create html documents within D2L Content and add them as topics

D2L has a html editor that is integrated into Content (and most tools that allow the instructor to create formatted text, e.g., News, Discussions, etc.) The html editor allows the instructor to create html files, paste text from Word files, and edit html files. Note that pdf and Word docs cannot be edited in D2L, they must be downloaded to your computer, revised, and re-uploaded to D2L. The steps for creating content files follow.

  1.  In the Content page, click on Manage Content and New Topic.
  2. Click Create New File.
  3. In the Properties tab, select Parent Module (or use the Add Module) and add a Title and Short Title.
  4. In the File Name text box, enter an appropriate file name. File names should be reasonably short and contain only letters, digits and the occasional space, e.g., SyllabusInfoSci201Spring09.htm. Leave out all unusual characters, e.g., ?}#@%':’, &, etc. There should be a single period before the final file extension.
  5. Do not Choose Destination; stay in the same Folder.
  6. In the html editor, select either the Basic or Advanced tab.
  7. Click in the html text area and enter your content. Use the tools in the Basic or Advanced tool bar to format your text.
  8. Save your work often!
  9. If you want to paste from a Word file, we recommend you use the Paste As Plain Text button in the Advanced tab. This removes any hidden formatting code that might otherwise accompany the text. After pasting the text, you will need to reformat it.
  10. When you finish, click on Save or Save And New (if you want to create another html page).
  11. To see Content more or less as a student would see it (not accounting for Restrictions), click on View Content.

To edit an existing Content file housed with D2L

This section refers to html files that were created and saved in D2L. Word docs, PDF files, and files created with MS Word’s “Save As HTML” cannot be edited in D2L. They must be downloaded to a local computer, revised, and re-uploaded.

  1. Go to Content and Manage Content.
  2. Find the file to be edited and click on the Edit tool. This opens the file for editing. (Look to the far right of the line with the file. The Edit tool looks like a pencil).
  3. Change what you want changed. You can change the Title, Short Title, and Content.
  4. Click Save.
  5. To see Content more or less as a student would see it (not accounting for Restrictions), click on View Content.

 

What is not covered in this document

  1. Setting Restrictions, including Start and End Dates
  2. Tables, CSS, images, etc