In almost every SL&IT course you will complete a personal profile during a first week discussion forum. By sharing your profile you introduce yourself to your instructor and class mates, which helps develop a sense of community. Desire2Learn allows you to create a profile that can be used in all courses. Starting from the My Home menu, simply select Profile and fill out the template (see menu below).
Figure 7: Select Profile from My Home
Though Desire2Learn provides its own profile tool, many instructors will ask you to attach to a forum posting a template downloaded and edited on your computer using Microsoft Word. If so, be aware that you can NOT save Word documents directly on the web. If you edit a file from within Desire2Learn it will be saved to your hard drive, NOT to the Desire2Learn server. To submit the edited profile you will need to attach the document to your initial forum posting.
To view another student's profile, click the Classlist menu item in the top right corner of the D2L navigation bar ("Navbar"), then click the profile icon to the right of any of your classmate's name.
Figure 8: View Classmate's Profile
To personalize your profile, you can insert a photo of yourself, a loved one (including pets), or a favorite place at the top of the template (replace the generic Marian the Librarian drawing). If you have no digital photos or graphics of your own try searching the Internet for free photos, such as the education collection at FreeFoto.com (to copy an image to a PC right click the image and select save; on a Mac, if you do not have a two-button mouse hold down the apple key while clicking). For a brief demonstration of inserting and editing images, view our video tutorial, at:
If you do not already have image editing software (e.g. Microsoft Photo Editor, Office Picture Manager, or iPhoto), you may wish to download Photofiltre or Paint.Net, free graphics editing programs for the PC.
For a powerful cross-platform program (available for Mac, PC and Linux users), try the Gimp (http://www.gimp.org/). Though a bit overwhelming, this free download is very feature-rich.
As yet another option, try one of several free web applications. The best are Picasa (technically a program to organize pictures, though with some editing features), Picnik and Pixenate. If interested, view a brief tutorial on basic editing in Pixenate (formerly PXN8). Also see our demonstration of inserting and editing images, at:
Downloading Course Documents
Quite often you will need to retrieve a file or document from the course to your computer. There are several ways to download files, and often the best method depends on your particular computer, operating system or browser.
In most cases, clicking a link to a document (see Figure 9 below) results in one of two results: either you will be prompted to save the file to your computer or external storage device, or the file will open (either in your browser or by launching appropriate software on your computer). If you intend to edit the file, such as a form or template in Microsoft Word, you should save the file first, since you can not edit and save documents directly to the server.
Even if a document displays in your web browser, you still need the actual program used to create it. In reality, the program (e.g. Word, PowerPoint, Excel, etc.) is running in the background to display the document. By themselves, web browser can not display content, other than plain text and images, without third-party plugins or software applications.
If a specialized document can not display in your browser, check that you have the program needed to view files saved in its proprietary format, and that the file contains a properly named extension (e.g. .doc for Word, .ppt for PowerPoint, .pdf for Adobe Acrobat, etc.).
More on Downloading
If you are comfortable downloaded documents from the web, feel free to continue to the next page. Otherwise, review and practice the two basic methods of file retrieval:
Click the document link to open it in your web browser (or optionally, the software used to create it), then save
Save the file locally without opening it then manually open it in the appropriate software program (e.g. Microsoft Word). See Figure 9 below for an illustration of the file open/save options in Internet Explorer.
Figure 9: Open / Save Option
Important Note: Saving Files in a Web Browser
If you open Microsoft Office files within your web browser (vs. saving and opening within the program itself, such as Word), you should save and print using the toolbar provided for that application, NOT the web browser's save and print icons (see Figure 10). This will assure that the file is handled normally for that type of document, and not as a web page.
Figure 10: Save & Print Options within Browser Application
(Example: Adobe Acrobat Browser Plugin)