Pima Community College



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Course Tools

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When you first enter your Desire2Learn course, you are taken to the Course Home. Like the homepage for a website, the Course Home is the main page for your course, as it provides an access point to the tools and content that have been added to the course.

The Course Home can contain a variety of links; you can open the content and tools that have been added to the Course Home by selecting any one of the links.

Let's review some of the common course tools you will come across within the system.

Course Tools

Any tools that are a part of your course will appear in dropdown menus on the course navigational bar. The course tool links always appear in these dropdown menus on the course navigational bar of any page you navigate to in the course.

Course navigational bar with specific course tools and Desire2Learn tools highlighted

When you access a tool from the course navigational bar, or navbar, you are taken to the main screen for that tool. For example, if you access the Dropbox tool by choosing the Assessments dropdown menu from the navbar and selecting Dropbox, you are taken to the main screen for the Dropbox tool, where you can see all of your assignments.

A quick way to return to the Course Home from anywhere in the course is to select the course name link on the left side of the minibar, which is the bar located directly above the navbar. This link always appears in the top left-hand frame of any page in your D2L course.

Some of the tools you may have listed in dropdown menus on the navbar include:

CalendarCalendar icon

The Calendar tool allows you to manage course-related or personal events. You can view dates posted for courses, such as project due dates, office hours, and exam information, or you can add personal events to track group meetings, milestones, and deadlines.

ChatChat icon

The Chat tool is a real-time, text-based collaboration tool. You can use the Chat tool to brainstorm ideas, hold a question and answer period, have a debate or discussion, or organize a remote study group. As opposed to other collaboration tools, such as Discussions, Chat conversations occur in real-time.

This tool is explained in greater detail on the About Chat page of the Communication Tools module.

ChecklistChecklist icon

A checklist is a way to highlight important or required assignments, readings, or other items to complete. A checklist may list all the items you need to complete at once or may have items appear as you complete other items.

Each checklist contains one or more categories, in which checklist items are organized. For example, you might have an “Assignments” checklist with categories for written assignments and quizzes, both of which could have multiple items that you need to complete.

ClasslistClasslist icon

You can use the Classlist to see who’s enrolled in your course, check who’s online and to send emails and pages.

This tool is explained in greater detail on the About Classlist page of the Communication Tools module.

ContentContent icon

The Content tool is used to organize course materials, such as the syllabus, lecture notes, readings, etc.

This tool is explained in greater detail on the Course Content page of this D2L Learning Environment module.

DiscussionsDiscussions icon

The Discussions tool is a collaboration area where you can post, read and reply to messages on different topics, share thoughts about course materials, ask questions, share files, or work with your peers on assignments and homework.

This tool is explained in greater detail on the About Discussions page of the Communication Tools module.

DropboxDropbox icon

The Dropbox tool enables you to submit assignments through the Learning Environment, eliminating the need to mail, fax, or email assignments. Simply upload your assignment to the appropriate folder.

This tool is explained in greater detail on the About Dropbox page of the Evaluation Tools module.

EmailEmail icon

The Email tool allows you to send email from within Learning Environment. You can also organize received mail using folders and store email addresses using the Address Book.

This tool is explained in greater detail on the About Email page of the Communication Tools module.

GlossaryGlossary icon

This is an alphabetical list of terms defined in a course. You can either scroll up and down the list until you find the term you are looking for or you can use the "Alphabet Search" (A, B, C, D, etc.) to jump to the general alphabet area of the term to speed up your search.

GradesGrades icon

Use the Grades tool to check your grades on assignments and tests. You can see your individual grades and comments, as well as class averages and feedback. You can also view your final grade and the grade formula used to evaluate you if your grades are released.

This tool is explained in greater detail on the Common Desire2Learn Tools page of this D2L Learning Environment module.

GroupsGroups icon

The Groups tool is used by your instructor to create group work areas for students. Groups can be used to organize students’ work on projects or assignments, or to create special work areas for students with different learning needs.

You can belong to any number of groups in the same course. For example, you could belong to a group for each class project, a special interest discussion group, and a group for advanced students all at the same time. Each group can have its own discussion forums, and dropbox folders. Members of groups can be graded as a team or individually.

LinksLinks icon

In the Links tool, you can view a list of Internet addresses compiled by your instructor. Your instructor may have these links organized into categories.

PagerPager icon

The pager is an online messaging tool for sending text messages to classmates. A page is quicker and less formal than an email. Use the pager to quickly see which of your classmates are online, get an answer from a friend, or to send a reminder or notice.

This tool is explained in greater detail on the About Pager page of the Communication Tools module.

QuizzesQuizzes icon

Use the Quizzes tool to take a quiz, review your quiz results, and see class statistics for a quiz.

This tool is explained in greater detail on the About Quizzes page of the Evaluation Tools module.

RubricsRubrics icon

Rubrics are an assessment tool used to evaluate an activity or item based on a predefined set of criteria. They help ensure that activities and items are evaluated fairly and consistently.

Self AssessmentsSelf-Assessments icon

Your instructor can create self assessments to use as topics in your course content modules. Doing this allows you to judge how well you understand material as you work through it. In addition, feedback can be embedded into a self assessment. Think of self assessments as quizzes that will not be graded.


D2L puts the same tools in many places so you have them where you may need them.

Course Home page illustrating the two links you can use to access a single tool, i.e. the Quizzes tool, fromt either the Assessments dropdown menu on the navbar or in the Updates widget.

Now that you've been introduced to some common tools, let's navigate through the course content and take a look at some of the other Desire2Learn tools in greater detail.



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