Message from LEARN@UW on D2L Performance

Faculty, Staff and Students:

On behalf of our Learn@UW Executive Committee, I/we want you to know that we are taking steps now to improve the performance of Desire2Learn (D2L) systems at all UW campuses.

We are aware that many of you have experienced slow or delayed responses in D2L over the past few days. After D2L was upgraded to version 10 this summer, we noticed some occasional performance issues. Immediately, Learn@UW technical staff (the entity at UW-Madison’s Division of Information Technology that manages the D2L System) and D2L staff began working on solutions to improve performance. Later, Microsoft experts were engaged to help solve the problem.  Numerous patches to the system have been applied. However, these efforts have yielded only temporary success, and the root cause of these performance problems has not yet been identified. This is not uncommon in a complex environment like ours, but it is still very, very frustrating.

We will not tolerate this level of performance. While technical experts continue around the clock to resolve the issues, the Learn@UW Executive Committee is exploring alternatives. We are consulting with top D2L executives to determine what assistance D2L can provide beyond finding the problem and what viable alternatives exist.

We are confident that we are receiving the best attention possible from both vendors. Top leadership at UW System, Learn@UW Utility and Desire2Learn are engaged in this process.

As we work through this we ask for your continued patience, and we will continue to keep you posted on our efforts to restore the level of performance that faculty, staff, and students deserve.

Thank you.
Chris Clements, Chair
Learn@UW Exec Committee

Lorna Wong
Director, Learning Technology Development
University of Wisconsin System Administration

D2L “Starter Course v2.2” Available

Streamline your D2L course development process by using templates and resources provided in the D2L “Starter Course.”  Developed as a means to give instructors access to a number of useful templates and other resources, the Starter Course allows instructors to copy D2L components into their course and then modify for their own use.  In addition, many of the resources and templates now also help courses meet Quality Matters standards for online and blended courses.  Now in version 2.2, the course has been reformatted in the new D2L page design and content has been updated.  Examples of “Starter Course” components include the following items:

  • Time-saving templates: easy to edit electronic D2L rubrics, activities, assignments, topic overviews, discussion starters, and more.
  • Student resources: useful information on Turnitin Suite (plagiarism and GradeMark), “clickers” (student response devices), D2L assistance, technology help, and standard university policies.
  • Quizzes: help students prepare to use LockDown Browser, to find out “Are You Ready for Online?”, and to learn helpful tips and success strategies.
  • A mid-course student evaluation survey:  gauge whether the course is meeting your (and your students’) expectations.

To access and register for the D2L Starter Course, login to D2L and click on the Register for Starter Course button under the Instructor Resources widget. Then, click on the Register button to complete the process.  Once you have registered, you will see the course appear within your “instructor tab” in the folder titled “OTHER-Courses With no Semester.”

Please remember that “Starter Course” resources are used by instructors across campus. Please only copy items (do not edit any of the items) found in the original D2L Starter course!  Thank you!

D2L ePortfolio Showcase Event at UW Madison – June 22

Whether you are new to the topic of ePortfolio or an advanced user, please join your colleagues for a one day event focusing on the use of the D2L ePortfolio (eP)! All UW-System faculty and instructional support staff are invited to attend an eP showcase to be held at UW-Madison’s Union South where faculty and staff will share their experiences and best practices in leveraging the D2L ePortfolio tool.

The keynote speaker for this event, Dr. Trent Batson, Executive Director of AAEEBL, will discuss “Deep Learning and ePortfolios.” Also joining the showcase is Angus Chan, the Director of D2L’s eP and Learning Object Repository development group. Angus will discuss D2L ePortfolio 4.0 new features, and he will also lead a “listening session” with attendees to learn about suggested changes and enhancements to eP that UW System users would like to request.

The program will also include subject-matter roundtables and panel sessions on various eP implementation topics. The Showcase will provide excellent networking, sharing, and collaborative opportunities to engage with members of the University of Wisconsin D2L eP community.

Please visit the following page to learn more about the showcase presenters and topics:

Space is limited. To secure a spot for the event, please register prior to June 8, 2012, at

Please contact the LTC ( if you have questions about the eP Showcase!

Reminder: Clicker Registration for Summer

If you plan to use student response system (aka “clickers”) technology in your summer course, please contact the LTC to register. Classes using clickers must be added to the Clicker Registration application so that your students can register their clickers and you can retrieve a class participant list for use in TurningPoint.

If you have courses you would like added to the Clicker Registration application, please provide the LTC with your course name and number. If you have multiple sections, please also specify if you prefer to have your course sections combined or separate.

UW-Whitewater also offers ResponseWare, an “app” that allows students to use their smartphones, laptops, and other Internet-connected devices rather than a clicker keypad. The reduced cost for students to use an app versus purchasing a clicker keypad can be significant. If you are interested in using ResponseWare in addition to using clickers, but you do not yet have a ResponseWare account, please contact the LTC for setup.

Instructor Resources D2L “Course” Retired

The D2L-based “Instructor Resources Course,” a course originally designed to provide instructors with D2L content templates and other standard course materials, has been retired and will no longer be available beginning June 1, 2012.

Over the years the majority of the content in the course had become outdated, and the organization of instructional technology resources has evolved.

Relevant content from the course has been re-tooled and moved to other resource areas including the “D2L Starter Course” and the LTC Instructional Resources wiki (see  The “D2L Starter Course” provides a D2L course template for use in online course development, and the wiki is an online repository of instructional technology best practice examples, and other resources.  For more information about the “D2L Starter Course” please contact Karen Skibba (

If you have any questions or concerns regarding the Instructor Resources course and/or its retirement, please contact UW-W D2L Support.

Wisconsin Digital Learning Day

Wisconsin State Superintendent Tony Evers has proclaimed February 1, 2012 as Wisconsin Digital Learning Day, which coincides with a nationwide event that same day.  Visit the Wisconsin Digital Learning Day website at

It is critical that technology be used to both change how we teach and learn as well as to take advantage of potential efficiencies. Digital Learning Day will showcase many excellent and innovative examples of digital learning across Wisconsin’s schools.  Participants are encouraged to share their ideas for events in their schools and communities on the web site.

Taking advantage of the day’s theme, the State Superintendent’s Digital Learning Advisory Council will also release its statewide digital learning strategic plan on Digital Learning Day. The plan has been in development over the past year. The council represents educators, parents, libraries, and business.

To learn more about how to be a part of this groundbreaking event, sign up at You can also “like” Digital Learning Day on Facebook at and follow the discussion on Twitter using the hashtag #DLDay.

2012 Regents Teaching Excellence Awards

Regent Manydeeds with 2011 Award Recipients

Regent Manydeeds with 2011 Award Recipients (Photo: Alan Magayne-Roshak, UW-Milwaukee)

The UW System Office of Academic Affairs is now accepting nominations for the 2012 Regents Teaching Excellence Awards.  Two $5,000 awards are given to faculty and academic staff members at UW System institutions in recognition of outstanding career achievement in teaching. In addition, one $5,000 award is given to an academic department, program or other academic unit which demonstrates exceptional commitment to and effectiveness in teaching.

Past UW-Whitewater recipients of this prestigious award include Lois Smith, John Kozlowicz, and the Department of Languages and Literatures.

Funds from this award are to be used for further program enhancements, such as professional development or teaching-related supplies and expenses. Award winners will be honored at a Board of Regents meeting.

Nominations for the Awards are due February 1, 2012.
2012 Guidelines (pdf)
2012 Nomination Cover Sheet (doc)
Past Recipients

Register Now for LTC Winterim Sessions on Active Learning

This two-day Winterim series focuses on strategies for using technology to engage students through active learning. Attendance for both days is free of charge and includes lunch and refreshments. Sign up today using your UW-Whitewater Net ID at: The workshops are listed under “iCIT-LTC Training.” You can register for either the January 11, 2012 Regional Faculty Conference on Active Learning or the January 12, 2012 Desire2Learn (D2L) Workshop, or you can register for both.

Using Technology to Promote Active Learning
Join us on Wednesday, January 11, 2012 (8:30 a.m. to 5:00 p.m.) for the 2012 UW-System Southeast Regional Conference!  The keynote and sessions on mobile learning and planning for the future of education will be given by Dr. Curtis Bonk, an expert on active learning. A myriad of technologies and pedagogical strategies used to promote active learning will be showcased. Instructors from UW-Milwaukee, UW-Parkside, UW Colleges, and UW-Whitewater will share their best practices in the use of interactive activities and games, student-created video, ePortfolio, social media, and mobile technology for teaching and learning.  UW-Whitewater instructors currently have access to priority registration. Secure your spot today, seating is limited! For more information and the event schedule, visit:

Desire2Learn (D2L) Winterim Workshop
This workshop will be held on Thursday, January 12, 2012 (9:00 a.m. to 4:45 p.m.). The “What’s New” and “How-To” sessions will help you solve challenges with quizzing, discussions, managing content, plagiarism detection, and assessment using the new rubric tool. Participants can attend all day or register for individual sessions. Lunch and refreshments sponsored by the LEARN Center. To view the full-day schedule, visit: Winterim 2012 Workshop Schedule.

Explore How to Use Technology to Promote Active Learning

Save the dates: January 11 and 12, 2012!

The Learning Technology Center (LTC) is pleased to announce a two-day Winterim series focusing on a variety of technologies to promote active learning.

On January 11, 2012 join other UW-System faculty and instructional staff to attend the 2012 UW-System Southeast Regional Faculty Showcase demonstrating how a myriad of technologies and pedagogical strategies are used to promote active learning.  Instructors from UW-Milwaukee, UW-Parkside, UW Colleges, and UW-Whitewater will share their best practices in the use of interactive activities and games, student-created video, ePortfolio, social media, and mobile technology for teaching and learning. The keynote speaker is Dr. Curtis Bonk, renowned expert on educational technology and active learning, will present “Stretching the Edges of Technology-Enhanced Teaching: From Tinkering to Tottering to Totally Extreme Learning.”  This opportunity to learn about teaching techniques is sponsored by the UW System Learning and Technology Development Council (LTDC).  The UW-Whitewater College of Letters and Sciences also generously supports our keynote speaker session.

On day two, January 12, 2012, the LTC will sponsor an all-day workshop for faculty and instructional staff on the basics of using Desire2Learn (D2L).  Watch for more details or sign up now at: