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This content was published: March 21, 2017. Phone numbers, email addresses, and other information may have changed.

Big changes to D2L for Summer 2017

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Announcing a change for distance education

Tired of those blue stripes, dated looking widgets, and small fonts in D2L? Summer 2017 brings a clean new design with a modern interface (and bigger fonts) to D2L! This update will also make D2L truly mobile-friendly. Additionally, PCC Gmail will be integrated with D2L so that students and faculty no longer have to manage two separate PCC email accounts.

Things to note about the Summer update

  • No major changes to how D2L functions and where to find tools, just a better looking interface.
  • Much improved mobile experience.
  • One familiar email tool for all of your classes (f2f and online).
  • Lots of options for training on email management strategies (i.e videos, webinars, in-person sessions, and 1-1 appointments).


Many of you have been using D2L since we adopted it in 2010. Visually, not much has changed with the interface. D2L has been doing intensive testing with students and instructors to modernize the interface. Many now access D2L from multiple devices and sometimes struggle with the current layout on mobile devices. Some students (and newer instructors and staff) scoff at the dated LMS look. We believe Daylight will modernize the interface without causing confusion for long-term users.

the daylight interface is much lighter

This is a preview of the Daylight interface when you first log into D2L. This is not the final version as there will be a few more updates before we launch during the break week on June 20th. However, it hopefully gives you a glimpse of some of the changes. The layout of most of the tools will remain the same.

PCC Gmail replacing D2L email

We are going to be replacing the internal D2L email tool with PCC Gmail. Having separate email systems has been problematic for students for years, and with the recent increase in campus-instructors using D2L, the complications of separate email systems has only increased confusion among our users.

Starting in summer, messages generated in D2L will be delivered to PCC Gmail. This includes messages sent from the classlist and from the homepage. The interface to send the messages will still look roughly the same, and you will still be able to send messages directly from the classlist, discussion, gradebook and other tools. Here’s the new compose window from the classlist:

The email interface remains the same when sending from the classlist

Notice that the subject automatically includes the name of the course? We know that one of the biggest concerns about this change was the potential to lose student messages in the sea of PCC email messages. Putting the course in the subject line will be just one of many ways to help you manage these messages. We will be offering a number of training opportunities, videos, and drop-in sessions over the coming months (though more in May, June, and September) to help ease the transition.

The D2L email tool hasn’t seen any development for years and is really on a end of life path. We want to get ahead of the change and move to a better platform that supports mobile users and greatly reduces confusion for students.

Next Steps

Over the coming months, we will continue to make slight updates to the interface based on our testing and feedback. We will also be offering updates as we approach the June 20th date, including a number of training opportunities in a variety of modalities. The training sessions will show you how to master your Gmail inbox and avoid losing any messages from your students. Please stay tuned for more updates via email.

About Andy Freed

I'm the Director of Learning Technology & Innovation (LTI!), where I oversee our infrastructure, technical support, and online student services teams. I've been with the College since 2001 and have worked in several positions, from tech... more »

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x (Comment #26920) by Dave Schooler 6 years ago (Comment #26920)

Can I assume that access to email generated both by D2L and by standard email will not change for those of us using real (Thunderbird, Outlook) email?

Also, will the D2L email notification envelope light up based on @pcc.edu email from all sources? (Or will that feature disappear?)

Finally, will the composer of D2L email be able to remove the course name from the subject?

x (Comment #26921) by Andy Freed 6 years ago (Comment #26921)

David – Yes, you’ll probably not see any changes if you’re a IMAP client user. And you’ll have slightly different filtering options. We won’t be covering those in our training, but I’m not that concerned for your sake. :)

The D2L email icon at the top will not light up anymore. We’re still trying a few things to change it’s behavior so I don’t have a solid answer for what it will do next. Probably just open a new message window.

Lastly, yes, the author of the message can modify the subject if they wish. We’ll encourage people not to.

x (Comment #26971) by Dan Dougherty 5 years ago (Comment #26971)

Will we have to do anything to our current courses to take advantage of the Daylight interface or will this happen automatically?

x (Comment #26978) by Andy Freed 5 years ago (Comment #26978)

Dan, the change will happen automatically. We’ll be offering some preview opportunities to show what the change will look like in Spring, but there’s not much needed from the instructors for the change. Some instructors who have 3-column home pages may want to revisit the design to try and prioritize content on the homepage, but the widgets should all work (maybe with some minor visual tweaks) in Daylight.