LMS Diary 1: Enrollment and Rosters. Since enrollment for classes started last week, I can document my Fall 2016 classes from the very beginning! So, here is how things start:
The system automatically creates course spaces for me; I have two courses: MLLL-3043-995 and MLLL-4993-995, the same two courses every semester. The only curse page that matters to me right now is the Roster page, so I bookmark links to both my roster pages; in D2L those links look like this:
As students enroll, they show up on the roster. Since I need to keep track of lots of student information that is NOT on the Roster (and I cannot add my own data fields to the Roster), I manually transfer the first and last name of each student enrolled in the class to a Google spreadsheet.
Flags. As I copy the student's name to the spreadsheet, I flag the student, so that I can keep track of who I have copied and who I have not copied (as you can see from the greyheads, most students do not ever update their D2L profiles):
Drops. There's also a page called "Enrollment Statistics" which shows me the students who drop (newest first), and I check that when my spreadsheet enrollment does not match the enrollment number in D2L; that mismatch means someone has dropped that I need to remove from my spreadsheet.
LMS v. Spreadsheet. All the rest of the important work I do is in the spreadsheet, not in the D2L site. That's what I mean about keeping my use of D2L to a minimum. If Canvas gives me the option to add fields to the roster (and I have a lot of fields in my spreadsheet!) so that I can keep track of that data in the LMS, I might... or I might not. Google Sheets are really powerful; Canvas would have to give me good reasons to give up my spreadsheet. We'll see!
What's Next? The Roster is the first thing I use in D2L, and for my Fall 2016 classes, that is all I will be using until August when I start actually setting up my classes. That means I won't have another post like this for a while, but I am glad I have this set up so that I can document my Fall 2016 classes from start to finish, week by week, as it all takes place.