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Frequently Asked Questions

Contents

  1. 1 Technical Support
    1. 1.1 Is there a handbook or instruction page for using D2L?
    2. 1.2 Who should I contact if I can't get some of my course documents to open?
    3. 1.3 What are the required computer or security settings?
  2. 2 Tests and Proctors
    1. 2.1 How do you take tests in an online class?
    2. 2.2 How to I find a test proctor?
    3. 2.3 What is Proctor U?
    4. 2.4 Do I need to submit a new test proctor form each semester?
    5. 2.5 Are all of the tests proctored?
    6. 2.6 Are proctored exams available for an extended time?
  3. 3 Respondus Lockdown Browser
    1. 3.1 What is Respondus LockDown Browser?
    2. 3.2 How do I install Respondus LockDown Browser?
    3. 3.3 Is Respondus LockDown Browser installed on the computers in the Northland College campus libraries or computer labs?
    4. 3.4 How do I use Respondus LockDown Browser to take a test?
    5. 3.5 When I open a quiz I get the message: You must complete this assessment in Respondus LockDown Browser. What does this mean?
    6. 3.6 What do I do when Respondus Lockdown Browser freezes/stops responding after I entered Desire2Learn course, but before I started the test?
    7. 3.7 I lost my Internet connection while taking an exam with Respondus Lockdown Browser, what do I do?
    8. 3.8 Why must I close other programs before launching Respondus Lockdown Browser?
    9. 3.9 Why does Respondus Lockdown Browser sometimes seem to close or lock up in the middle of a test?
  4. 4 About Online Learning
    1. 4.1 What is the difference between online learning and the traditional classroom?
    2. 4.2 How do I know if online learning is for me?
    3. 4.3 What is the role of the student in an online classroom?
    4. 4.4 What is the role of the instructor in an online classroom?
    5. 4.5 How do I submit assignments in an online class?
    6. 4.6 What is a Discussion Forum?
    7. 4.7 What is an online discussion and what is expected of me?
    8. 4.8 How do I contact the instructor if I have a question about the course?
  5. 5 About D2L
    1. 5.1 Gradebook:  Why does the word "Dropped" display next to some of my items in the gradebook?
  6. 6 Study Skills and Time Management
    1. 6.1 How do I manage my time when learning online?
    2. 6.2 Where can I get more information about study skills?
Page Last Updated: May 2012

Technical Support

Is there a handbook or instruction page for using D2L?

Look in the Resources area on the My Home page for a link to a D2L Student Guide. NCTC has also created a Student Guide which can be found at http://www.northlandcollege.edu/desire2learn/tools/index.php


Who should I contact if I can't get some of my course documents to open?

Campus-based students should contact the technical support personnel (ITS Dept.) located on their home campus.

Completely online students should contact Minnesota Online at 1-800-657-3930.

Before contacting technical support, please have the following information handy: 

  • Your full name and the best way to contact you.
  • Which course and, if applicable, which section of the course malfunctioned.
  • The name and version of your machine's operating system (Windows XP, Vista, etc., or Mac OS 9.0, X, etc.).
  • The name and version of the browser you are using to access the course.
  • The exact text of any error messages.
  • The function or procedure in the course you were attempting at the time of the malfunction.

Providing complete information will allow tech support to help you as quickly as possible.


What are the required computer or security settings?

In order to makes sure that your computer settings are set up correctly, it's important to perform a computer system check each semester.  If your security settings are not set correctly you will have trouble with the Respondus Lockdown Browser.  Please review the information listed below and make any necessary corrections to your computer.

Please go to the following webpage: http://www.northlandcollege.edu/desire2learn/Computer_Requirements.php to review your computer settings.   Follow the instructions near the bottom of this page under the heading "Enhance Your D2L Experience With These Web Browser Configurations" paying especially close attention to the settings for security and privacy settings.  (This could be a source of problems so pay special attention here.)

Please do the following:

  1. Review and change your privacy and security settings as necessary based on the instructions.
  2. ALWAYS use a non-wireless connection when connecting to the Internet using the Lockdown Browser.
  3. Report any problems on the form provided on the Course Home page.  By continuing to report problems as they occur better information is provided to the personnel who are trying to find the source of the problem and a solution.

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Tests and Proctors

How do you take tests in an online class?

Just as in a traditional classroom, there may be tests in an online class.  Tests are taken online in the D2L learning environment - the same web site from which all of the course materials are accessed.  Students are asked to find a test proctor to monitor the test environment.   When a test is due to be completed, the student must make an appointment with the test proctor, go to the site at which the tests will be taken (usually the proctor's place of business), and complete the test.  The computer software usually scores the tests automatically so the student will know the grade as soon as the test is completed.


How to I find a test proctor?

The test proctor is the person who will monitor you while you are taking your tests online. This proctor will watch you to make sure that you follow the rules or guidelines that the instructor has provided for taking the test. It is very important to follow the college guidelines for choosing a test proctor. These guidelines are spelled out in the course syllabus.

Students who live close to one the Northland Community and Technical College campuses, Alexandria Technical and Community College, or near Northwest Tech-B often use the testing center or library at those colleges to serve as the test proctor. Another option is to contact personnel at your local college library or testing center if you live in a community a distance away from those three colleges.  Many of the colleges in the MNSCU system provide test proctoring for other students in the system.  Review this list of MNSCU colleges that provide test proctoring services to see if one is near your home.  A third option is to utilize Proctor U - this is a service that allows you have your exam proctored in your home using a webcam.

It is very important that you find a proctor, complete the proctor form, and get that information sent in at the beginning of the semester so that the instructor has time to get the appropriate information sent to that person before the first test. This can take 2-3 weeks. Failure to send in a proctor form for someone who meets the proctor criteria can create a delay in being allowed to complete in the course. This could result in failing grades on the missed tests.


What is Proctor U?

Proctor U is an online test proctoring service that allows students to test at home.  This service works well for those students who live at a distance from a college testing center or college library.  There is a fee for this service.  Watch the video on the Proctor U site to learn more about how it works.  You can find more information on the Other Resources page.


Do I need to submit a new test proctor form each semester?

Yes, a new proctor form must be submitted for each course each semester.  The online proctor form must be completed and sent in as soon as the course starts.   Be sure to list every online class you are enrolled in.  The link for this form is found on the Course Home page under the heading "By the End of the First Week..." and can also be found in the Course Syllabus.


Are all of the tests proctored?

Typically in my classes only one exam is proctored - this usually the last exam of the semester.


Are proctored exams available for an extended time?

Proctored exams are typically timed exams that must be completed during a four (4) day window of time.  Each course has a specific course calendar provided on the first day of class that lists all of the exam deadlines as well as the deadlines for all assignments and non-proctored exams and quizzes.

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Respondus Lockdown Browser

What is Respondus LockDown Browser?

Respondus LockDown Browser is a secure browser used when taking some quizzes and tests in Desire2Learn. It prevents you from printing, copying, going to another URL, or accessing other applications during a test. If a Desire2Learn test requires that Respondus LockDown Browser be used, you will not be able to take the test with a standard web browser.

When you are using Respondus LockDown Browser, it "locks down" your computer screen, preventing you from seeing anything other than Desire2Learn. It also hides or forces you to close other applications.

Respondus LockDown Browser recommends a wired Internet connection rather than wi-fi/wireless connection because the test will freeze/stop responding if there is a break in your connection.


How do I install Respondus LockDown Browser?

Northland College students should follow this link to install Respondus Lockdown Browser for NCTC: http://www.northlandcollege.edu/desire2learn/lockdown_browser.php

Follow the instructions on the page.


Is Respondus LockDown Browser installed on the computers in the Northland College campus libraries or computer labs?

Respondus Lockdown Browser is installed on the computers in the Northland College campus labs and libraries.


How do I use Respondus LockDown Browser to take a test?

  1. Close all open programs running on your computer.
  2. Launch Respondus LockDown Browser by double clicking the icon on your desktop. (Respondus Lockdown Browser must be installed on your computer.) If requested, choose a server and click OK.
  3. If you have any programs running you will get the message:
    You must close the following program before starting the browser.
    Do you want Respondus LockDown Browser to attempt to close this program for you?
  4. Select Yes.
  5. The Desire2Learn Login page will open. Enter your Username and Password. Click Login.
  6. Open your course. Navigate to your test and select it.
  7. A pop-up window will ask whether the instructor requires a password. Enter the password, or, if no password is required, click Continue.
  8. The test will then start. (Note: Once you start a test with Respondus LockDown Browser, you cannot exit until the Submit button is clicked.)
  9. When you are done, click Submit.

When you are ready to exit Respondus LockDown Browser, click the X in the upper right corner. You will get a message: Are you sure you want to exit? Select Yes.

Note: If you launch Internet Explorer or Firefox as you would to normally access Desire2Learn, you will not be able to take the quiz/test. If the icon you use does not say "LockDown Browser," then you are using the wrong icon.


When I open a quiz I get the message: You must complete this assessment in Respondus LockDown Browser. What does this mean?

This means the quiz requires you to open the Respondus LockDown Browser in order to take the quiz. You will need to launch the Respondus LockDown Browser from your desktop.

If you do not have Respondus LockDown Browser for NCTC, you can install it by following this link: http://www.northlandcollege.edu/desire2learn/lockdown_browser.php

Follow the instructions on the page.


What do I do when Respondus Lockdown Browser freezes/stops responding after I entered Desire2Learn course, but before I started the test?

Since you are not yet in the exam, close the Lockdown Browser. When you close the Lockdown Browser you should see a security pop-up, at which point you can click OK. Re-launch Lockdown Browser after clicking through the security pop-up. You will be able to access and take exam without problems. This works only if you re-launch the Lockdown Browser immediately after you close the pop-up window.

Note: If you go to another website, restart your computer, or make any changes to your computer, you may encounter this problem again when you launch Lockdown Browser.


I lost my Internet connection while taking an exam with Respondus Lockdown Browser, what do I do?

If you lose your connection to the internet while taking a test using the Lockdown Browser, it will freeze the Lockdown Browser program. If this happens, you'll need to restart your computer by powering off the computer, then powering it back on. If there is time remaining on the assignment or exam, you will be able to re-enter the assignment or exam to complete it.


Why must I close other programs before launching Respondus Lockdown Browser?

Other programs running in the background can cause Respondus Lockdown Browser to lock up, freeze, or stop responding. Instant messaging, itunes, chat, Internet and other Java based programs must be closed before launching Respondus Lockdown Browser.


Why does Respondus Lockdown Browser sometimes seem to close or lock up in the middle of a test?

If you have closed all open programs and you are not working from a wireless connection, then you could have a problem with Java. If the problem with Java, you are likely having problems with Internet Explorer 8 as well. Go to If you visit the following website: http://www.java.com/en/download/help/testvm.xml you will be able to test whether Java is working on your computer as well as what version is installed.


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About Online Learning

What is the difference between online learning and the traditional classroom?

The biggest difference is the environment – you don't need to be in a classroom to participate in the class.  You can "attend class" online when it is convenient for you, working around family and work obligations.   Other differences include the fact that you will probably never meet your instructor or many of your classmates "face-to-face."


How do I know if online learning is for me?

Taking an online class has many advantages, including increased flexibility in completing homework assignments, the ability to communicate with your classmates and your instructor from the convenience of your own home or workplace, and enhanced access to written materials ranging from discipline specific internet resources to saved chats and instructor's class announcements. However, an online class is not for everyone. For instance, if you need the discipline of meeting on campus several times a week and you enjoy the in-person interaction between other students and your instructor, you are more likely to succeed in a regular class.

The following are characteristics of students who would do well in an online class.  A successful online learner:

  • is self-motivated (does not need a lot of direction, motivation from a teacher)
  • is self-disciplined (can budget time wisely and does not procrastinate often)
  • enjoys the challenge of learning on her/his own (likes to read and learn)
  • takes charge of her/his own learning (willing to ask questions and get help when necessary)
  • communicates well in writing
  • may need a flexible schedule but understands that flexibility does NOT mean the course will be easy.

If you have concerns about your ability to succeed in an online environment, please contact the course instructor or your academic advisor.


What is the role of the student in an online classroom?

The role of the student in an online classroom is a little different than in a traditional classroom.  Online students must be proactive, assertive learners who take charge of their own learning.  They are responsible for accessing the course materials and determining what needs to be done; for asking questions when something is unclear, and then working fairly independently.  Online learners must be able to set and follow a schedule in order that the course assignments are completed and submitted on time.


What is the role of the instructor in an online classroom?

The role of the instructor in an online classroom is that of a "guide" or facilitator.  The instructor is there to help students by providing guidance and direction to the students' learning process.   They may set-up and monitor class discussions, troubleshoot problems with access to course content, grade assignments and tests and provide the students with feedback, and answer student questions that arise as the course progresses.  

The instructor will post messages in the discussion forum on a regular basis.  These messages should be viewed regularly (several times each week).


How do I submit assignments in an online class?

Specific instructions for how assignments are to be submitted will be provided for specific assignments.  In most cases you will be directed to use the Dropbox feature within D2L for submitting assignments and papers.  Some assignments and worksheets are completed and submitted using the Quiz tool in D2L.  In some instances, students may be directed to submit assignments via email or US mail.


What is a Discussion Forum?

The Discussion Forum is a communication tool used in an online course for sharing information, for participating in online discussions, and for interacting with other students.  The discussion forum is located in the Desire2Learn learning environment (https://www.northlandcollege.edu/desire2learn/index.php) - it functions somewhat like an email in that it allows students to post (send) messages, and read and respond to others messages.  Unlike an email message, the messages posted by the students can be read by everyone else in the class.


What is an online discussion and what is expected of me?

Online discussions are similar to class discussions that occur in a traditional classroom in that students are expected to work and talk together about questions, problems or case studies that the instructor assigns.  The big difference in how these discussions take place is that the discussion occurs in the discussion forum. 

Students are expected to log in to the course, check the discussion forum, post  their own answer or response to the discussion question, read responses from other students, and respond to other students posts.  Participation in online class discussions is a required part of my courses.

All of the discussion occurs asynchronously – which means that students are logging in at different times throughout the week to participate in the discussion.  There are deadlines for participation. The first discussion post of the week is due by Friday at midnight - this is the student's original post to the question.  The second post is due by Monday at midnight - this post is what the student writes in response to another student's post.


How do I contact the instructor if I have a question about the course?

For general questions about course assignments and procedure, you should post the question in the Desire2Learn course discussion  area set up for student questions.  Other students are likely to share your question and by posting the question in the discussion forum they also will benefit from reading the response from the instructor or other class member.  

For specific or personal questions such as those about your grade, you can email the instructor directly.


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About D2L

Gradebook:  Why does the word "Dropped" display next to some of my items in the gradebook?

Check the course syllabus for how the course is graded.  If the course has certain grade categories that "drop" the lowest grades, then this is how the gradebook will display the items with the lowest grades that are dropped.  At the beginning of the course when there are only one or two grades in the gradebook, then they are all the lowest and will appear as "dropped".  As more grades are added to the gradebook over the semester, the gradebook automatically keeps recalculating itself so that the true lowest grades are those that are dropped.


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Study Skills and Time Management

How do I manage my time when learning online?

One of the things former students in online classes always say when asked for suggestions to give new online students is to set aside a certain time each week when you will be working on your online course. For example, if you were taking a traditional on-campus course you would know you need to be in class every Mon-Wed-Fri from 10-12. In an online class there is no set structure laid out for you other than when the assignments are due.

Specific suggestions re: time management are:

  • Print out the Course Calendar and keep it in a visible location so you know when assignments and tests are due. 
  • Set aside a specific time or times each week when you will "be in class" – don't allow anything to interrupt this "class time."
  • Do not procrastinate on assignments. If you are having trouble figuring out what needs to be done and when – ASK someone. Ask fellow classmates or the instructor for guidance.

Where can I get more information about study skills?

The following link will take you to some excellent resources on study skills: http://www.iss.stthomas.edu/studyguides/


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