Communications tools in D2L

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There are several different ways for students and instructors to communicate within Desire2Learn. Each has different features and each is designed to facilitate a different type of communication.

These tools can be utilized by all students and faculty, though some require an instructor to set up the tool.

Below is an overview of each of the tools as well as links to more resources.

1. Email in Desire2Learn

At Ursuline, there is not a separate email system within Desire2Learn. When a message is sent out of D2L it goes into the recipient’s Ursuline email box. If a recipient replies to that email the reply will stay within the Ursuline email system. There is no Inbox in Desire2Learn, only an outbox.

Email is best used to get a timely response. None of the tools in D2L send an email update to students or instructors to let them know that a message has arrived, so email is the most immediate way to communicate if a timely reply is needed.

To learn more, visit the How to Send Email through Desire2Learn help guide.

2. Discussions

Discussion boards are used to show conversations between everyone in a given group. They are an asynchronous tool, meaning that conversations are not happening live. You will see when someone posts, but they are not meant for everyone to be writing at the same time (live online conversations are best in the Chat tool. See below).

Discussions allow you to share written information, links, attach files, insert images, and even share YouTube videos.

Discussions are a powerful tool and can be used in many different ways. Instructors often use discussion boards to assess student knowledge and for students to share their ideas with their classmates. Discussions can also be used to facilitate peer editing and are a powerful tool to help administrate group projects. They can be set up to be visible to an entire class, just a group of students, or a single student and the instructor.

To learn more, visit the How to use Discussions in Desire2Learn help guide.

3. Chat

Unlink the discussions, the D2L Chat tool is meant to be used by instructors and students communicating at the same time. A instructor must create the chat and then students can enter. An instructor can create as many chats as they would like. Once an instructor has created a chat students simply click on the link on the D2L content page and they start participating.

Chats are useful for online office hours for whoever would like to stop in, for discussions in real time in online or hybrid courses, and for group project meetings. Chats are limited to text communication, though you could share resources by sharing a URL.

To learn more, visit the How to Create Chats in D2L help guide for instructors.

4. Instant Messaging : The Pager Tool

Desire2Learn has at tool that lets you communicate in real time between two people. This is a useful way to ask an instructor a question, to have a live conversation with one student, or to communicate with a classmate. This is called the Pager tool. The page is different from the Chat tool in that it is only between two people. Also, anyone can initiate a chat with anyone else they know by searching for their name or username.

To learn more, visit the How to use the D2L Pager for Instant Messaging help guide.


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