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D2L Basics

A guide which shows you some of the basics of D2L and how to use its functions.

How To Participate In A D2L Discussion

To access Discussions, click Collaboration, and the Discussions option will be available in the dropdown.

1: Accessing Discussions

Discussions are another form of assignment that you will probably see a lot of during your time at Lone Star College. To access discussions you have been assigned, navigate to your class's D2L page, then click [1] Collaboration to open up its dropdown menu, then click [2] Discussions to be taken to the discussions page.

After clicking discussions, you will see Forums, Topics and other information on available discussions. Click a topic (in this example, Test Topic is selected) to be taken to the response screen.

2: Forum Pages

When you reach this page, there are several things to notice, but we will focus on subscriptions, and the difference between forums and topics.

  • Subscriptions [1] in D2L generally concern topics you have commented on. There is an option in each post to subscribe; this will give you notifications on your main D2L page when there is activity on a post you subscribe to, and clicking subscriptions in the D2L class page will take you to a subpage which shows only discussion posts you have subscribed to, and any comments that classmates or professors have made. Subscriptions will be explained in more detail on later slides.
  • What is the difference between forums and topics?
    • Forums [2] cover broader subjects and are higher in the hierarchy than topics. You may see several topics beneath each forum. It is somewhat rare for there to be many forums on a D2L page, but a professor may, for instance, have one forum for student discussions and another forum for general questions - such as troubleshooting or scheduling. Over the course of the semester, you might make all of your discussion posts in a single forum.
    • Topics [3] cover more specific content. A topic generally covers a smaller segment of assignments than forums, and you will probably make posts and reply to other classmates' posts on several topics over the individual weeks of a semester.

In this example, we will click on Test Topic under Test Forum. The hierarchy expands further still!


Message threads are detailed on this page.

3: Topics vs. Threads

When you click on a topic, you will be directed to the topic's page, where there are more things to note.

  • Threads [1] Threads are the next step in the discussion hierarchy (Forums > Topics > Threads) can be created by professors or students, depending on how the professor has the discussions set up for their class. When created by professors, threads are usually made for single assignments, and students make replies as part of that assignment. Threads created by students are usually "top-level" responses: professors may have the assignment as a topic, and the assignment will be to make a thread of their own and to respond to other students' threads.  Replies will be covered in more detail in the next slide.
  • Subscriptions [2]: When you post a thread or reply to someone else's thread, you are automatically subscribed to those threads and responses, respectively. This means that you will get notifications in the subscriptions icon at the top of the page whenever there is new activity, such as a response by a student or professor. You may subscribe to any thread (or unsubscribe from them) by clicking the Subscribed [2] link, which will toggle between subscribing and unsubscribing.
  • In the bottom right-hand corner of every thread's box [3] on this page, it will be indicated when the last post on each thread was created, and who made the post.

At this page, we will click Start a New Thread [4] to add to this topic.

This page looks a lot like an email prompt. You can post a subject, the body (where your response to the topic goes), and post it for public consumption by pressing Post.

4: Creating A Thread

After selecting Start a New Thread, the page will change, adding text entry portions, as seen in the image above. Of note in this image:

  • Subject Bar [1]Similar to an email, users will need to give a basic summary of their post here. Often times, the name of the assignment will suffice.
  • Body [2]This is where your response to your professor's assignment will go. Standard text editing tools are at the top of this box, as well as buttons to add pictures, links and videos.
  • Subscription indicator [3]You will automatically be subscribed to any of your own posts. If you would like to disable these notifications, click Subscribed to toggle this option off.

When you are finished, click Post [4] and your thread will go live.

This image shows individual replies to threads posted by students and professors. The big blue button will post a new top-level reply, or you may reply to another student's reply.

5: Threads and Replies

Clicking on a thread's link on a topic's page (see earlier slides) will take you to a page that looks similar to the topics page, with a few notable exceptions.

  • Instead of Start a New Thread, the blue buttons near the top and at the bottom of the page read [1] Reply to Thread. Clicking this will add top-level replies to the thread you are in.
  • The title at the top [2] of the page (it reads "Test thread" in this image) will be the title of the thread you are in.
  • Below each top-level reply [3] to the thread you are in, further replies to those replies will be shown. As before, threads and replies that you are subscribed to will send you notifications when there is new activity, and you will automatically be subscribed to threads and replies you post.
  • Many professors may also want you to reply to other student's replies. If you press the Reply [4] link below the body of other students' posts, a response prompt will open.

NOTE: Some professors will set the topic or thread to that student-created threads or replies must first be reviewed by the professor before they go public. If you do not see a thread or reply that you posted, contact your professor.

Clicking on Reply beneath a reply opens a simplified text box, where a student may post. There are several options here to filter what you see on this page.

6. Replies to Topics

If you click on any topic that is already posted, you will be brought to a screen that is similar to the page you see when posting a new topic. However, there are a few noteworthy things on the reply page.

  • The Reply to Thread [1] button brings up the text portions of this page, which allow you to post replies to the topic you selected.
  • Just as you can subscribe to topics, you can also subscribe to individual replies to topics. The Subscribe to this thread [2] box allows you to do this.
  • You can choose to filter [3] replies that you see (your options being to view all posts, only posts you have not read, and only posts you have flagged) with a dropdown menu that opens when you click the small gray arrow in the "Filter by" section (indicated here by a green arrow).
  • Beside Show [4] there is a dropdown menu which allows you to further sort replies using several categories, such as alphabetically by author, alphabetically by subject, and time posted.