One of the first tricks I learned when taking my initial online teaching training was how to view your content in D2L as a student. Once logged in to the class, click on your name at the top right hand corner, then click “View as Student View.”
Presumably, this would allow us instructors to see the class as our students see it, which is helpful for doing last-minute proofreading and ensuring our content and assignments are visible, or invisible, based on the deadlines we’ve set up in the course. Helpful, right?
I learned just as quickly that student view is not necessarily to be trusted! As the instructional design lead told us that day, “I know enough about code not to trust that student view really works.” Point taken.
The more I taught online, the more I realized he was right. There are some serious limits to student view. While student view is excellent for a quick check to make sure your students are, or aren’t, seeing your content, student view does not offer instructors the same D2L experience as being a student participant. Student view doesn’t allow you to make sure your students can see the feedback you left on an assignment, make sure the rubric is visible after you grade something, or see what your grade book looks like once you have some grades entered.
The solution: enroll yourself as a student in your own course. Here at KSU, all faculty automatically have a special student account that allows us full and unrestricted student access to our courses. I advocate for enrolling yourself as a student in each of your classes, and for periodically logging in as a student to see what your class is seeing. Here’s how it works.
First: enroll yourself as a student. Log in to D2L and go to the course in which you want to enroll yourself as a student. To do that, go to “Classlist” at the top, right hand corner, click “Add Participants,” then “Add Existing Users.”
From there, you’ll need to search for your student account. Everyone’s student accounts are the same: your NetID, followed by “.stu” – so mine is “ldaws.stu” – and you can’t just search for your full name, either, or the student account isn’t likely to show up.
Next, under the “Role” option, choose “Student,” and then select the appropriate section.
It seems odd to choose “student” instead of “instructor,” right?
From there, click “Enroll Selected Users.” You can confirm that it worked by going back to the classlist and checking to see that your student profile is there.
Now, you’re ready to log in as a student.
First, you’ll need to log out of your instructor account. Go to the top right hand corner, and click on your name, then “Log Out.”
When you get back to the D2L login screen, enter your student account name in the Username box, and use your regular NetID password.
You should then be taken directly to your list of courses in which you are a student or, if this is the first course you’ve enrolled yourself in, you’ll go directly to that course.
Here are some ways to maximize your student account in D2L:
- Whenever you have an assignment due, log in as a student and submit a file to the assignment box, just like you were actually a student writing a paper. You’ll get the benefit of seeing any submission message, and if you’ve set it up this way, the turnitin.com report on your paper.
- Submitting an assignment also allows you to grade that assignment, and see what it looks like when you give yourself feedback. You get the benefit of seeing the steps they have to take not just to read your comments but also access any rubric you may have used. I generally submit something terrible and give myself failing grades, because it always makes students laugh when I demonstrate how to access feedback in the class!
- Submit a paper you “plagiarized” and show students what a turnitin.com report looks like when you engage in patchwork plagiarism. (Yes, I know you can also give students the option of seeing their reports before they are finished submitting papers, but this method is also effective for pre-paper-deadline, in-class demonstrations.)
- Take one or two of the quizzes you created. It’s a great way to double check that everything displays, and auto-grades, the way it’s supposed to.
- Post a discussion response, and give yourself a grade for it. Definitely make sure if you do post something in the forum, you let students know that it’s actually you, and you’re doing it to test out what it looks like when you offer feedback.
Have you used your student accounts for other things in D2L? Let me know your thoughts and how it has worked for you!