Print-Based Courses: Assignments

News for our instructors/course facilitators teaching print-based courses: the process for submitting assignments has changed. Directions can be found in this attachment:

New Print-based Course Assignment Process

The new process should be more user-friendly for both faculty and students.

This new process only impacts print-based courses. Students in online courses will
continue submitting assignments in their online course where you’ll continue to grade their work.

IL Update: Recording Grades in d2l

Happy New Fiscal Year! As of July 1, there are some updates in recording grades and hours.

1) For instructors teaching in d2l: recording grades in LRMS is no longer necessary. d2l (and, in the near future, Canvas) will be our only grade record for Independent Learning students. When a student has completed a course, please submit their final grade at:
Continued thanks for keeping your students’ grading records up-to-date!

2) It is no longer necessary to submit assignment re-submission information or course revision hours in the google forms. That work is now included in the new monthly pay structure.

We hope that these changes will help you spend more time teaching and less time record-keeping. If you have any questions about these transitions, please feel free to contact Program Director Sarah Korpi:

Canvas Sandbox

As UW-Extension and CEOEL prepare to transition to the Canvas learning management system, we’ll be receiving information and tutorials. But would you like to experiment with your own Canvas course in the meantime? If so, you can request a “Sandbox” course by completing the form here:

You will be asked for the following information:

Email Address:
NetID: (This is what you use to log in to myUW and check your pay stubs)
School/College: Select “Other”
Department: Enter Continuing Studies/LAAS
The answer to the question “What is the purpose of the course?” is SANDBOX
Desired Title: Select a title you like
Comments/special instructions: none

While this sandbox course allows us to build a course ourselves, instructional design teams will continue to build our Independent Learning courses. However, this is an opportunity to learn more about what is possible in Canvas, which can be helpful during course design and revision.

IL Canvas Webinar Recap

Independent Learning recently offered a webinar for our upcoming transition to the Canvas learning management system. That webinar can be viewed here:

Scroll to the section titled “Recordings” and click on “June 1, 2018: Independent Learning.”

The webinar introduced how to navigate Canvas (view grades, course content, etc), some differences in terminology from d2l Brightspace to Canvas (Canvas has a “Dashboard” instead of “My Home,” “Assignments” instead of “Dropbox,” etc).

There was also an important discussion regarding the migration process from d2l to Canvas:

1) Instructional Designers will export courses from d2l and import them into Canvas, doing a first wave of clean-up; during the transition, items like hyperlinks, discussions, and quizzes might get messy or broken.

2) Instructional Designers will reach out to Instructors/Course Facilitators to help clean up those items above. In some cases, we’ll be making direct fixes – perhaps replacing a quiz question. In other cases, we’ll be providing clarification about course content. Please note: we’ll have three days to complete this. Given the tight time frame, Independent Learning will reach out to Instructors/Course Facilitators in the near future about when we’ll be available to complete this step.

3) A reviewer/editor will then look through each course.

4) After the review, Instructors/Course Facilitators will have one last chance to review the course and sign-off that the course is operational.

Various learning resources about navigating Canvas will be made available in the near future.

Facilitator Orientation: d2l to Canvas

A reminder of some important news: as UW-Madison transitions digital learning environments, the Independent Learning Facilitator Orientation is scheduled to move from d2l to Canvas on June 1, 2018 (a week from Friday). If you’d like to complete the course in d2l, please submit your materials by noon on May 31st to ensure that we have access to grade them.

Please note: the transition from d2l to Canvas for courses that you teach will be happening at a later time. We had a chance to talk a little about that transition at the Faculty Symposium, and more information will be sent in the near future.

Faculty Symposium May 23-24

The UW Collaborative Online Programs Annual Faculty Symposium takes place this Wednesday and Thursday, with some time on Thursday afternoon to connect as a DCS IL group. It should be a great opportunity to collaborate, network, and learn with colleagues. Presented topics include assessment creation and evaluation, course discussions, group projects, and media in course design. We hope to see you there!

The event takes place at the Pyle Center, 702 Langdon Street in Madison. As 100 faculty from around the state are attending, please allow for extra time when parking.

Directions to the Pyle Center and Lowell Center:

Parking for those staying at the Lowell Center:
Please stop at the Lowell Center when you arrive to pick up your parking permit. There is a circle drive on the side of the building on Frances Street, where you may leave your vehicle while you get your permit. Depending on availability you may have onsite parking (this is very limited) or complimentary parking a few blocks away. You may leave your luggage at the Lowell Center or in your vehicle. If your room is ready you may check in early, however, this is not guaranteed. For further inquiries about parking contact the Lowell Center front desk: 608-256-262.

Parking for those not staying overnight:
If you are not staying overnight there is a city parking garage at 415 N. Lake Street a few blocks from the Pyle Center.

IL Update: Course Completion Time

Last month, an Independent Learning program change went into effect for students’ time to complete a course. If a student enrolled on or after April 10, they have six months to complete the course (with the ability to purchase two three-month extensions). For students who enrolled before April 10, they have twelve months to complete the course (with the ability to purchase two three-month extensions). Please note: the student’s home campus, school or employer may require a quicker timeline.

From IL Program Manager Liz Bush: “A review of the student data from 2012 to today revealed that the average IL student takes 6 months after starting to complete their course – with a recent trend towards even shorter time periods. The changes outlined above, along with adjustments to some of our fees and tuition refund schedule, are intended to better serve our students and position our program competitively and in alignment with UW System policies.”

If students have any questions about these changes, you can direct them to the IL website or the Student Services Team (

LRMS will continue to keep track of students’ Expected Completion Date, so regardless of how much time a student has left to complete the course, Instructors can easily see that information. A good practice reminder: it can be helpful to check in with students as their Expected Completion Date approaches.

Tips for Successful Online Learning

DCS Independent Learning is publishing material for the broader online educational community. This effort began with the publication of A Foundation Course in Reading German by Howard Martin, revised and expanded as an open online textbook by Alan Ng. 

It continues with Tips for Successful Online Learning.

For newcomers to online education, the “Consider Your Options” tip reviews different online learning choices: free versus paid, continuing education credit versus college credit and competency assessment versus independent study versus cohort classes. And, to help prospective students critically assess online learning providers, it includes a primer on regional versus national accreditation.

To help prospective students focused on career advancement, the “Consider Your Career Goals” tip introduces students to the United States Department of Labor, Bureau of Statistics’ The Occupational Outlook Handback with information on 575 different occupations: the job itself, the work environment, job preparation,  occupational outlook and regional data.

For online students there are tips on appropriate communication, “Mind Your Ps and Qs,” writing resources, “Write Wisely: Use Your “OWL” Online Writing Lab” and time management, “Budget Time and Find Space.”

In all, Tips for Successful Online Learning offers twelve tips and reflects DCS Independent Learning’s commitment to helping students find the learning option that is best for them and fulfilling their educational goals. Forthcoming DCS Independent Learning  publications for the wider educational community include, for instructors, “How to Teach Successfully in D2L” and, for students, “Getting Ready for a Writing Intensive Course.”