Skip to content

Using Intelligent Agents in D2L to Enhance Your Online Course

October 7, 2014

Release Conditions, Replace Strings and Intelligent Agents

There are three integrated tools that can enhance courses, increase communication and benefit candidates, that fall under the umbrella of “Intelligent Agents.” These lesser known tools are what D2L Community Manager Barry Dahl calls “secret agents.” Using {replace strings}, release conditions and intelligent agents can save instructors time, make learners more accountable and engage learners when they complete tasks or conversely, neglect to keep up with the flow of the course.

“Intelligent Agents” are tools that automate the creation and delivery of communication based on the activities of a student, or any other criteria. An example would be the creation of an email reminder to any student that has not logged in for 3 days. D2L can be set up to deliver a customized email to do that automatically. When we use the {first name} string to write a News items, so each Candidate’s name appears at the top, we are using a basic form of intelligent agent to personalize communication. Using {strings} are an important part of Intelligent Agents.

Brightspace Community’s Intro to Intelligent Agents

Take a minute to view the Intelligent Agents Introduction Video :

Barry Dahl, D2L’s Community manager, who organizes content in D2L’s Brightspace Community, has posted a slideshow presentation on the basics of Intelligent Agents.

Barry Dahl’s Slideshare on Intelligent Agents

Along with these two visuals, there is a rich collection of information, documents and tutorial videos at D2L’s Brightspace Community, under the search criteria “Intelligent Agents.” Links to some of the resources are listed below, as well as others from around the D2L community.

How to Set Up an Intelligent Agent

Imagine that we need to set up an Intelligent Agent for the scenario in which a candidate has not recently logged in, where D2L will generate an email to such candidates. That email can also be sent as a bcc to the instructor. This is one of the easiest to do, and Brightspace has a Tutorial, found on their site and on their Youtube Channel. In their example, an Intelligent Agent is created to send an email to a Candidate that has not logged in for 5 days, and also has failed an assignment. In ETFO AQs you’ll only need to set the first criteria, and you may wish to adjust the number of days to 3 (or whatever you deem to be appropriate).

Start by clicking on Edit Course at the top of your Course Homepage and under the Heading “Communication,” there’s an Intelligent Agent button. Now follow the steps in their Create New Agent Video Tutorial:

There are numerous criteria that you could choose as Release Conditions for an Intelligent Agent. You can create one to send a congratulatory email when an item is completed on a Checklist, or an LE Checklist is completed, or when a certain Content area is read, or when an assignment is uploaded to the Dropbox. Here is a more complete list of the Conditions that can generate an Intelligent Agent email. Click on the list to enlarge.

Release Conditions List

I suggest setting up a simple Intelligent Agent, such as a reminder to login to the course, as your first experiment with intelligent agents. You can use the Recipe Book from the Brightspace Community featured in the Resources below to help you do this.


  1. D2L’s Brightspace Community Website
  2. Barry Dahl’s Intelligent Agent Slideshare
  3. Download the Brightspace Introduction to Intelligent Agents Recipe Book here
  4. DePaul University’s Intelligent Agent Guide
  5. Colorado University’s Replacement String Guide
  6. D2L Brightspace Youtube Video -Intelligent Agents #1
  7. D2L Brightspace Youtube Video -Intelligent Agents #2

ETFO AQ Instructors, if you have further questions about Intelligent Agents, you can contact me at my ETFO AQ email address! You can also add comments or question, if you wish, below.

The Importance of Authenticity Inside and Outside the Classroom

August 31, 2014


Do our teacher training courses offer authentic tasks with an audience for our work? See why it’s important in Dr. Jackie Gerstein’s latest Blog post.

Originally posted on User Generated Education:

I teach graduate educational technology courses at Boise State University to mostly in-service teachers.  One of them is Integrating Technology Into the Classroom.  It as a course with a project-based learning framework.  Learners are given a series of course projects and asked to develop learning activities for their particular content areas and grade levels.  Examples include developing a video library and associated lesson for their content area; developing a lesson for their content area that uses social media, etc.

This morning I received the following communication from a co-instructor:

Jackie, I thought you would want to know this.  I teach 514.  I ask each student to reflect on a “best learning experience” and this semester I have a student in 514 who wrote the following:

My experience of EDTECH 541 stands out for me as the best experience I have had in learning. I say this for many reasons, and…

View original 515 more words

A 7-Step Typography Lesson for First-time eLearning Developers

August 29, 2014

Despite the utility of multimedia in eLearning, images and even videos can only go so far: the core source of information remains text. Accordingly, a basic knowledge of typography is a must for any eLearning designer. Good typography enhances readability, encourages information processing, creates a visual hierarchy, and even engages readers’ emotions.

Have you ever wanted to start a blog, but didn’t know how?

August 1, 2014


Have you ever wanted to start a blog, but didn’t know how?.

A great Blog post on how to get started with Blogging.

Studies Confirm the Power of Visuals in eLearning

July 10, 2014

We are now in the age of visual information where visual content plays a role in every part of life. As 65 percent of the population are visual learn


Blogging Resources

July 4, 2014


Some time ago I was asked to do a presentation on Blogging in the Classroom and I curated a rich collection of resources on the topic. I recently revisited the Livebinder that I had created and realized (after a few edits!) that it was still a valuable  collection with lots of useful information for teachers new to Blogging. There’s links to research, rationale, student and teacher blogging ideas.

So, here it is!

You have a Class Blog – Now what?

June 19, 2014

You have a Class Blog – Now what?.


Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

Join 868 other followers

%d bloggers like this: