D2L @ UA

Desire2Learn is the Learning Management System used at the University of Arizona*. Once you have your NetId you should be able to sign in, though you won't see any courses until you've signed up and the semester has almost started. We recommend you open D2L and poke around in each tool as you review it here.

*You may be asked to use other resources in your classes in addition to D2L at the discretion of our Faculty.


If you're very unfamiliar with D2L we recommend reviewing Pima Community College's introductory video and student support site as well as UA's - their D2L doesn't look exactly the same as ours but it functions very similarly.

Below are brief explanations of the most commonly used tools in D2L - remember the official UA D2L Help Pages will go more in depth for each tool if you need that informationQuestions that cover this material will be included in the Orientation quiz.

  • Content: This is usually where your course content (syllabus, readings, lectures, etc.) can be found.
  • Assessment Menu:
    • Dropbox: This is where you will upload your assignments.
    • Quizzes: This is where you will take quizzes or most tests and exams in online classes.
  • Communication Menu:
    • Adobe Connect: This is where you will go to have "live" meetings with your instructor and students in your course.
    • Classlist: This is where you will find other students enrolled in your course.
    • Discussions: This area is a place to post comments to your instructor and other students.
  • Grades: This is where you can check your course grades.

D2L Tools

The key to understanding and working well within D2L is to understand that different things in the class are organized by the 'tool' which is used to deliver them - such as the Content and Quizzes tools.

The Golden D2L Rule: Don't be afraid to click around! There is more than one way to get to different tools.

My Home Page

When you first log in to D2L you will be on your My Home page. On this page you will find links to D2L Help resources, your courses, and a few other things.

Your Notifications, Profile & Personal Settings

D2L Notifications Bar
Your notifications bar is always located at the top of D2L pages, it updates based on your courses and activity. From it you can:
  • Return to the My Home page.
  • Go to your courses (use the dropdown menu by the name of the course you’re currently in).
  • See your personal updates. 
  • Get notifications for any D2L discussions to which you’ve subscribed.
  • Access and update your profile (use the dropdown menu by your name).
  • Access and update your personal settings (use the dropdown menu by your name).

Set Up Your Notifications

It is highly recommended that you review your Account Settings & Notifications if you’re new to D2L. There are many options in those menus that can help D2L work better for you personally. While some of the options might not make sense to you, the ones that do might be extremely helpful.  Pima Community College has an excellent walkthrough on their student support site. At a minimum we recommend you sign up for notifications, as they can help remind you when you need to do things in your courses.


The D2L Calendar will automatically reflect any deadlines your instructor has input into the system. You can use this tool more effectively a number of ways - like by adding the feed to your personal calendar of choice that is outside of D2L. Some instructors use this tool more than others. (They may use outside tech instead.) However, you will automatically get notifications in your bar of items your instructor has entered into the D2L Calendar. If you click on notifications they will take you to the related items.

Additional Calendar Features:

  • Tasks – There is an option to use this tool as a personal to-do manager (not only school to-dos!)
  • Subscribe – You can subscribe to your D2L Calendars to help yourself stay on top of your courses and tasks.
  • Create your own events, set your own due dates, import events –Things that are not listed but you want to remember using the D2L Calendar can be added many ways.
  • Views, Printing, & Searching – You can view an agenda, a month, a list, etc. Or sort things by date, course, or category.  You can also search all calendar events if you need to.

Tip: I've created this short video to show you how to use it (and how to subscribe to D2L Calendars in other programs if you want to!).


D2L Classlist

This is where you will find your instructor and other students enrolled in your course. You can email any class contacts from this tool, or even the entire class all at once.


D2L Content Navigation

The Content tool is where the normal classroom content is located, this could be readings, files you need, links to outside material, etc. Often this tool will contain links to other assignments within D2L (such as Quizzes and Discussions) to help you organize the class material. Follow this link to learn more about working with this tool

Once you’ve selected something in the navigation and have selected a page, it will open up below the course navigation and header as shown in the screenshot above. There are many ways you can move around through the Content itself, e.g. Using the breadcrumb links, the Previous and Next buttons, etc. 

Tip: Use Content as a checklist to track your coursework! 

Students: D2L Content Tips + Tracking Your Progress

You can Print most Content using buttons available in D2L, as shown below, the Print button is usually located on the top right of a Content page. (Note: For the majority of our courses we do not recommend downloading Content, we use html web pages to deliver the majority of our content and they do not translate well offline.)
Screenshot printing Content in D2L.

Browser Issues:
If you have issues seeing Content in your course, please check your browser bar (the area where you see the address of the website you are on) and make sure you have allowed Javascript and that none of your extensions/add-ons etc. are causing problems, then contact 24/7 IT if the issue is not easily resolved.
Screenshot of D2L browser issues.

Conditional Release:
Some courses use a feature called 'Conditional Release' to govern your progress through the course. This is based on principles of behavioral psychology that we use to help you focus and learn more effectively. If conditional release is in use, your professor will let you know what the conditions are that you need to meet in order to release content in your course. Once you've met those conditions you may need to
refresh your browser to release the next bit of content.


This area is one of the options to post comments & participate in discussions with your instructor and classmates.

Add an Avatar: Make sure your D2L profile has an image for your avatar. It doesn't have to be your face, though that's preferable - but it makes it much easier to follow a Discussion when you use the same avatar all semester.

Subscribe: If you go directly to the Discussions tool from the Communication menu then you can choose to D2L Discussions Subscribe Icon Subscribe to different discussions or forums. If you subscribe, you will receive notifications of new posts in your notifications bar.  If your course includes an Ask Your Instructor discussion it can he very helpful to be subscribed to that one especially, as they will answer questions and provide extra guidance in that discussion.

💬 When you write things in D2L you're using what is called the HTML editor. Be sure to format your text to make it more readable by your peers. Here are some instructions for participating in DiscussionsNote: This guide starts by showing you how to work with messages, but more information is also available on that page through a menu on the left which can explain how to REPLY to messages, etc.


A brief demo of this tool is shown in the second video on this page. This tool will contain folders where you will upload certain assignments. When you select the name of a Dropbox folder it will take you to the screen which contains details and allow you to Add a File and Submit your assignment.  You can also leave comments for your instructor to go along with your submissions here.

Acceptable File Types

You should submit whatever file type your instructor requests. This should give you an idea of what programs you will most likely need for your course assignments.

Assignment | Type (with extensions)

Document    |    MS Word (.docx, .doc)
Presentation    |    MS Powepoint (.pptx, .ppt) or Adobe PDF (.pdf)
Spreadsheet    |    MS Excel (.xlsx, .xls)
Drawing/Image    |    Adobe PDF (.pdf), PNG (.png), JPG (.jpg)     


D2L Grades

Course grades can be viewed and printed in this tool.


D2L News

Instructors use this tool to give you course news. You can do the following with the news tool: (1) Dismiss news once you have read it by using the small x on the right of an item, (2) View all News posted by clicking the word News, (3) Choose to receive News notifications using the dropdown menu options.


A brief demo of this tool is shown in the second video on this page. This is where you will take quizzes, tests, or exams. When you select the name of a Quiz it will take you to a screen which contains the details about the assessment such as the following:
  • Quiz Period – This indicates the dates and times the quiz is available.
  • Time Allowed – Some quizzes have time limits, some don’t.  This will let you know what the time limit is. Sometimes an estimated time required is also included, but allow yourself time based on your own needs.
  • Attempts – Sometimes more than one attempt is allowed for a quiz. That information will be located here. 


D2L Survey Submit Button
If you're unfamiliar with Surveys in D2L - try reviewing this video (even though it's not specifically for our class) or reviewing some instructions for taking surveys. 

Tip: The number one issues students seem to have with these is that they do not submit them fully, be sure when you're done with it to click the SUBMIT button, not the SAVE button, and then to choose YES in the confirmation window that will open.

  Move on to the Steps to Success when you're ready...

Additional Guides & Support

Getting to Know APA (this is a librarian prepared course located in D2L)

Students: Using the UAS Getting to Know APA Course in D2L