There’s a sneaky awesome tool in D2L that I have previously been guilty of underutilizing: the double pencil.
I didn’t train myself to use it because it isn’t available in every D2L tool, and that made me grumpy (why, designers of D2L, can’t this lovely and oh-so-useful tool live everywhere?). However, I’ve done the mature thing and come to accept the double pencil in the places where it can help me out. To use it, you just select the checkbox next to it (to select every item on the screen) and then click the double pencil.
One of D2L’s “pros” is that you can attach dates to items and then change all of the dates when you copy a course for a new quarter. Some people have found adding date restrictions to every module in their course to be a bit clunky, though, if they’re not actually using the dates to release the content.
One good workaround is to put the dates of each week into the title of the module. Then, when you copy your course to a new quarter, you’ve got your handy dandy double pencil to allow you to edit all of those dates at once.
The double pencil is also helpful here if you ever notice that some of your Content items don’t seem to be perfectly aligned. The “Hide enumeration” option might be checked for some modules/topics and not for others, and that causes the misalignment (I can’t find, in D2L help documents or through my own testing, what “enumeration” actually does in Content. I just know that you either want all of them checked or none of them checked).
I love the double pencil here because when you use it, you can edit the due dates for all Dropbox submissions in one fell swoop. Here, using the due dates in D2L is best because this will “close” the Dropbox folders and prevent students from turning in late work.
3. Grades – Manage Grades
When you’re setting up your gradebook, the double pencil can be your best buddy. In this tool, the double pencil lets you update all of the grade names, points and weights in one screen.
Also, if you decide later that having grade categories would help you, you can create your categories and then use the double pencil to place the grade items in the correct category.
Glaring Omission: Discussions
Every time I go to the Discussion tool and try to click the double pencil, a little part of me dies. OK, that’s an exaggeration, but it does really make me sad! Imagine if you could edit all of the Discussion locking/unlocking dates at once! And what if you could then easily move discussion topics among forums all at the same time!
I suppose I can dare to dream, and someday, our good friend the double pencil will be available in every D2L tool. For now, though, it’s good to know where the double pencil is available and the ways it can be a huge time-saver.