One of the great virtues of a course management system like Desire2Learn (D2L) is its great flexibility, since it allows instructors some control over how components are organized—which is especially critical on a homepage. This online video training covers quick tips on how to add additional modules and widgets to the homepage of D2L interface, and give your students a positive, useful first impression.
- [Instructor] The home page, shown here, is the first thing your students will see when they enter your D2L course. Most institutions have default homepage templates, but sometimes the homepage you inherit doesn't quite suit your needs, and so you're going to want to customize it. To start, make your way over to the course admin page. Under Site Setup, choose Homepages. To create your own homepage, select Create Homepage. As with most things in D2L, you start by giving your homepage a title.
We're going to simply use Sample Homepage and below this, you can give your homepage a description if you'd like. By default, a homepage will be widget based. This means that each homepage is composed of little self-contained compartments, each with their own functionality. More on that in a moment. Below this, you can set up the page header, which is the text that will be displayed on your homepage. By default, this will be the OrgUnitName in your course database, but you can replace the text if you would like.
Next, you choose the layout for the homepage, which is how it will be divided into areas and what kind of area will take up what percentage of space. As you see, there are a lot of different options you can have for how your homepage might be arranged, which gives you a great deal of flexibility. We're going to choose one that is Basic Plus. One large panel and then a smaller panel on the right along with a footer panel. We'll update accordingly. Finally, you can choose the pre-built widgets that will occupy your homepage.
You have a lot of options for what widgets you can put on your homepage. To add a widget, just choose Add Widgets. Now here, you can see that widgets fall into two categories. Custom widgets and system widgets. Custom widgets are developed in house. Like if your university library or freshman services center sets up a widget that highlights their services. There can be a pretty wide range of things you'd see in this area, and for full usability, you're going to want to contact the developers or support staff for those widgets directly.
System widgets, on the other hand, are much more standardized. These come pre-built within D2L and so these are the widgets we're going to use to demonstrate the process. Let's say that for this homepage, we want to make the activity feed prominent. So we're going to select Activity Feed and then choose Add. And this widget will now populate our homepage. This particular layout also has a second panel so let's say we want to add widget to help make course bookmarks easy to find.
We'll add the Bookmarks widget here and finally, let's just say that we want to make the course calendar reasonably prominent. So now, we'll add Calendar. And there you go. When you're finished adding in your widgets, just select Save and Close. Now, as you can see, our sample homepage has been saved into our Homepage area, but it's not yet active yet. In order to activate it, we need to select it from the Active Homepage dropdown and then select Apply.
Now, when we visit our homepage, we should see our customized version. And there it is. Now, if we decide there's something we don't like, it's a simple matter of going back into the course admin area, choosing Homepages, and then selecting the homepage we wish to edit or we can make any adjustments that we would like. Getting rid of Bookmarks, for example, and then replacing it with an Announcements tool.
And that's how it's done. As I alluded to earlier, think carefully about what you'd want to include on your homepage. It's going to make a first impression. It's going to make a first impression, and so you want to highlight the course identity and the most immediately useful materials.
- Communicating with students
- Developing course competencies and learning objectives
- Setting up a classroom, including a discussion board
- Adding quizzes and exams
- Setting up an assignment rubric
- Providing feedback
- Setting up a gradebook
- Customizing Brightspace
- Managing discussion boards
- Leveraging Brightspace mobile apps
- Using Brightspace as a student