Portland Community College | Portland, Oregon

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Mixed Content in Desire2Learn

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Are some of your links no longer loading in Desire2Learn? There’s a likely cause: your web browser. You see, your browser is trying to protect you from “Mixed Content.” Mixed content is a somewhat confusing way of referring to a secure web page (https, like D2L) including content from a non-secure (http) website. We will start seeing this in Desire2Learn courses, but the potential exists to see it other places as well – MyPCC course tools, Library sites, Spaces, Publisher websites, etc.

As of September, Firefox, Chrome, and Internet Explorer have all stopped loading mixed content (e.g. an embedded YouTube video that uses http, or a link to a spot page) and only give the subtlest of warnings that the content is being blocked.

mixed content warning in firefox

Subtle warning about mixed content in Firefox address bar.

It’s really critical that we address this in our content rather than by changing browser settings. Changing browser settings will be a never-ending headache due to the rapidity that browsers being updated, and the differences between each browser, operating system and device. Luckily, most of these issues can be resolved by simply re-linking or re-embedding your content with an secure URL (https instead of http) because many sites support both. Youtube, Kaltura, Spot all support secure content.

What is Desire2Learn doing?

Desire2Learn is aware of this issue and is evaluating what can be done in their product to mitigate what are changes outside their control.

Sample of a mixed-content link in Desire2Learn content

This link doesn’t display in Desire2Learn because it uses http instead of https.

What can you do?

If you find that links from your content, or embedded videos aren’t working. Check to see the URL works by simply changing the start of the address from http to https. If that doesn’t work, things get a little more complex. If you’re unable to get a link to work, contact our faculty help desk for assistance.

About Andy Freed

I'm the Manager of Technology and Support in the Distance Education department, where I oversee our infrastructure, technical support, and online student services group. I've been with the College since 2001 and have worked in several posit... more »