D2L - End of Semester Best Practices

Last Updated: 11/22/2017


As the end of a semester approaches, there are a number of best practices that D2L instructors are encouraged to follow. Refer to the information provided below when approaching the end of the semester.

Section Menu:

Backup your Course

OIT strongly encourages you to make a backup copy of your course. Desire2Learn does not offer a single course backup feature, so a few different export processes are necessary to get all course data. Please visit the Backup a D2L Course page for more information on these processes.

Remember: Course and grade book information are protected by the Family Educational Rights And Privacy Act (FERPA) of 1974 and as such should stored be according to the CU Boulder confidential data Security Requirements. When downloading and backing up your grade book, OIT highly recommends that you encrypt the file. The following tutorials will explain how to encrypt the file depending on your operating system.

Windows Instructions

  • Please see this Microsoft tutorial for how to encrypt your downloaded gradebook using Excel.

Macintosh Instructions

Remind Students to Backup Course Materials & Assignments

By default, students lose access to D2L courses three weeks after the end of the semester; you can extend student access by adjusting the course's end date. But whether you extend student access or not, remind your students to download any course materials or assignment submissions important to them.

Release Final Grades to Students

If you want students to be able to view their final grades in D2L, you must release them; they are not visible by default.

Upload Grades to the Registrar's Web Grading System

Instructors can upload D2L grades into the Registrar's web grading system at the end of the semester. The file that is exported from D2L must be formatted in a certain way. Please consult the Export Grade Book for Web Grading tutorial to ensure that your file is formatted correctly for the Registrar's web grading system.

To see web grading deadlines for current semester, visit the Registrar's Grade Processing Calendar.

Before exporting your grades it is important to know a few things:

  • Grade schemes: The Registrar requires grades to be in the Letter Grade format. To apply the default Letter Grade scheme or to learn how to create your own custom Letter Grade scheme refer to the Understanding Grade Schemes page.
  • Export by class section: If you have a large course divided into sections, it is best to export grades by section. This is good practice for a few reasons:
    • Large classes will upload quite slowly
    • You will have to upload your grades multiple times if your class has sections within the registrar regardless. By uploading by sections you will not receive an error message detailing that some of your grade upload has failed. For more information please refer to the Web Grading Issues section below.
  • Registar help information: The Registar provides a great deal of helpful documentation on their Web Grading page. Before uploading your grades it is best to review the information in that web page.

Web Grading Issues

  1. Class Section Issue: If you attempt to upload your entire course grade book when the registrar has your course divided into sections, you will receive an error (shown below). Do not panic, as the uploaded file only accepted the grades for a single section. Simply upload the file again for the different sections and your grades should be successfully uploaded.
  2. Upload Time Issue: Large classes take some time to upload, so be patient and do not move away from the webpage or refresh your browser.
  3. Impersonate Student Issue: Every D2L course comes with a fake student (commonly named !Impersonate !Student), in order for an instructor to see a course from a student's perspective. Unfortunately, this student is exported when grades are exported for Web Grading. This will cause an error message (shown below) to appear; however, does not necessarily effect the upload of other student's grades. However it is best to forego this error, by simply deleting the fake student row within the exported .CSV file (commonly appearing as simply a hash tag within the OrgDefinedId column).

Error message visual.

Understand F-Grades for Registrar

The process of entering grades for students who received an "F" grade requires additional action from the instructor, other than simply uploading the grade book file. When an “F” grade is assigned to the student, new codes will pop-up that will require the faculty member answer one of the three questions before the grades can be submitted:

  • The student never attended
  • The student earned the grade of “F”
  • Or, the student stopped attending as of what date

Create Next Semester's D2L or Canvas Course

  • Log in to MyCUInfo and go to the course you would like to create a course for. From the Course Specific Tools, select Create Online Course (Canvas/D2L). These tutorials will walk you through creating a course in Canvas or creating a course in D2L.
  • Remember, after spring 2019, Canvas will be the only available LMS on the CU Boulder campus and that D2L is upgrading its look and feel in August 2018.
  • If you have any questions about these end-of-semester reminders, please contact the IT Service Center

Helpful Links

Instructions / Tutorials