How to Get Started with D2L

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Accessing MTSU's D2L Site

There are three methods for accessing MTSU's D2L server. The first two methods are preferable because they take you directly to  If you access D2L through Pipeline your connection will timeout, which can be problematic when taking exams and writing discussion postings and email messages.

  1. Go to and login.
  2. Go the the MTSU home page, click on Quick Links, and then click on the D2L Link.
  3. Log into Pipeline, click on the "Click here to:"; link under the My Courses heading and then click on the Desire2Learn link at the bottom of the page.

Username and Password

Log into D2L using your Pipeline Username and Password.

Other Information for Students and Instructors

  • The D2L student and faculty pages can be accessed via the links in the left navigation on this page. These links will take you to more information according to your role.
  • General informaton concerning accessing and navigating D2L can be found on the D2L Documentation created by D2L / Brightspace page.

My Home

My Home is the first page you will see when you log into D2L. If you would like to go back to this page when you are inside a course, click on the My Home button in the upper left hand side of the blue banner. Your My Home page displays the following content:

  • In the body of the page your course list, the university announcements, a university resource list, a welcome area, an updates area, and your list of courses (below the New items).
  • On the navigation bar (the blue banner) links to the Email and Notifications tool, your personal settings as well as the log out menu.

My Home Page with Labels

My Home: News Tool

The News tool on the My Home page contains postings of D2L information that may be useful to you. Once you have read each news item click the X to dismiss it (This does not delete the item, it only hides it from view on the My Home Page). You may later read a posting again by clicking on the News button on the left. It is best to leave the News area open, with the chevron pointing down, and dismiss news items as you read them rather than closing the News tool and missing out on important information. Dismissing news items will allow your course list to appear without scrolling down the page.

My Home and directions for reading and dismissing news items

My Home: Upper right side banner

The dropdown menu under the user's name will display different options depending on the user's role in the system.

  • Instructors can view a course as a student by chosing that option under their name.
  • Profile - add an image and any personal information you want to share with others.
  • Notifications - specify your contact informaton and then choose what course notifications will be sent to you.
  • Account Settings - specify your D2L system, discussion, and email settings. 
    • Email Settings: DO NOT type in a 'Reply to' Email Address. We have turned off the feature that allows emailing to outside, non D2L, email. If you type in an outside address people will not be able to reply to your messages.
    • Email Settings: You may add a personal signature if you would like.
  • Log Out

Top right hand My Home navigation - Instructor view as student

My Home: Buttons Next to your Personal Dropdown Menu

Red circles display on the following buttons to notify you of something new.

  • Message alerts - New Emails (envelope)
  • Update alerts - updates to your courses (page)
  • Subscription alerts - updates according to the subscriptions you have set in notifications. (thought bubbles)

My Home: Instructor Only Buttons

Instructors also have an Admin Menu (looks like a gear) on the top right hand side of their My Home page. Check out the links to determine if any might be userful to you.

Right side navigation gear button

My Home: Important Resources

The following resources can be accessed in this area.

  • ITD Help Desk: 615-898-5345
  • MTSU's D2L Support: - links to the support page.
  • Distant Learning Student Services
  • James E. Walker Library: a link to the library website.
  • Disability and Access Center: 615-898-2783

My Home: Accessing Your Courses

Your courses are listed at the bottom of the MyHome page. You may need to click the expand symbol Click expand symbol to show courses under semester heading 
to the right of semester, or category, name to locate the courses you are taking. The image below shows semesters with courses hidden and semesters with courses displaysed. Note that the V points to the right when the courses are hidden and points down when the courses are displayed. 

  • Students typically see only only one semester but then may see more than one semester if they have an incomplete in a course. They also may see the No Semester category if they are a student in a special course shell.
  • Faculty may see there courses under semester and No Semester categories or they may see all of their course together in a long list. Check out the directions for viewing and filtering your courses.

Displaying Courses Under a Semester or Category

  1. Click on one of your course links to open a course.
  2. Read instructions and other information your instructor posted on your course's home page.
  3. Click the Content link below the course banner or from the left hand navigation to view course materials.

Course Home

The first page you see after you click on a course link is the Course Home. Your instructor may have announcements and course and contact information posted the News are at the center of the page. The image below has labels identifying the various areas on the Course Home page.  These areas will be further explained below.

Course Home with labels for all tools

Course Content

Click on the Content link under the blue banner or in the left hand navigation  to access the content for your course.

Course Content LInks on Left Hand navbar and in banner menus
Left Hand Navigation Area

Course Navigation

The tools that you use to navigate your course will vary depending on which tools your instructor has chosen to use. You can access detailed explanations and instructions for every D2L tool available in MTSU's learning environment from the Help link on on the top right of each course's Course Home page.

Help Using D2L Tools
Help menu takes you to D2L documentation

Accessing D2L Tools

The various tools you need to use in completing your course work are typically linked from the content area by your instructor. This helps you to access appropriate quizzes, discussions, and dropboxes, and so on at the appropriate time. If you instructor did not link to these items or is the link is broken you can access these tools from the dropdown menus under the course banner or from the left-hand navigation area.

 Course Home Assessments Menu Course Home Communication Menu

A quick summary of the most commonly used tools follows:

Content: Clicking the Content link in the course navigation banner allows you to view the course structure and access course content.

Classlist: The Classlist is a directory of enrolled students, profiles, email links, and group enrollments for the course. Use this tool to email your classmates.

Groups: The Groups link takes you to a list of your groups in the course. If you are asked to self-enroll in a group, it is performed using this tool.

Dropbox: The Dropbox tool lets you submit assignments to your instructors electronically. Your instructor might also upload your graded assignment and give it back to you via this tool.

Discussions: You can read and post messages to discussions using this tool.

Quizzes: Clicking the Quizzes link takes you to the list of quizzes for that particular course. Make sure you read the instructions carefully before taking each quiz. It is wise to save question responses as you answer them instead of waiting until you finish the quiz. If your computer freezes or your network access drops before you save your responses, your answers will not be saved.

Grades: Check your assignment/course grades here.

Calendar: The Calendar tool allows you to view events related to the courses you are enrolled in. You can also use it as a personal calendar and scheduling tool.

Communicating with your Instructor and Classmates

  1. Click the Classlist link in the navigation area to send email to your instructor(s) or classmates.
  2. Click the Email link to read emails you have received.

My Email

Email in D2L does not go out to your regular MTSU email account. You will need to remember to check your D2L mail daily. D2L mail is not course specific; however, the mail tool attempts to filter your mail by course if you click on the email link while you are in a specific course. Sometimes the filter does not find all of the email for that specific course or sometimes you may want to see all of your email. If this is the case you can click on the drop down menu that specifies which filter is being applied and choose to view "all mail";.


  • Sending Email: The easiest way to send email to your instructor or other classmates is by going to the Classlist tool in the Communications menu under the banner at the top of Course Home (or from the left hand navigation area) rather than the My Email Tool. Read email using the Email Tool and Send email to your class using the Classlist Tool.

Accessing D2L Help Pages from Within D2L

Link button for D2L documentation

To access D2L Help documentation from within D2L do the following:

  1. Log into D2L
  2. Scroll down below the news items and click on one of your courses.
  3. Locate the Help dropdown menu on the lower right side of the top banner navigation bar.

File Naming Conventions for Files Uploaded into D2L

In the process of completing assignments, you may be asked to submit files to the dropbox, or attach files to emails or discussion postings that you want your instructor or classmates to receive. When you submit or attach files you need to make sure that the filenames do not have any characters disallowed by D2L. You must also make sure that each filename has an extension. Read the paragraphs below for more information on naming files.


File Extensions

Always make sure you have a file extension on your file. PC computer operating systems use that file extension to figure out which program opens each particular file type. It is important that you find out from your instructor which file types he or she will accept when you hand in assignments.

Example: You instructor may not have the newest version of Office installed on their computer so may not accept files with the .docx file extension made by Word 2007.

  • PC users - The Windows OS should place a file extension on each file by default [sometimes you may not see the file extension because of the way your folder preferences are set]….just be careful not to remove the extension if you can see it.
  • Mac users - you will most likely need to add a file extension.

Common File Extensions are listed below.

Go to to locate or identify other file extensions you encounter.

Text Files or Documents:

  • Word 97 - 2003: ".doc";
  • Word 2007 and later: "docx";
  • Adobe Portable Document Format: "pdf";
  • Rich Text Format: ".rtf";
  • Plain Text Format: ".txt";
  • Web page: "htm"; or "html";
  • Microsoft Works Word Processor: "wps";

Data Files:

  • Excel 97 - 2003: ".xls";
  • Excel 2007 and later: ".xlsx";

Presentation Files:

  • PowerPoint 97 - 2003: ".ppt";
  • PowerPoint 2007 and later: ".pptx";

Image Files:

  • Joint Photographic Experts Group: ".jpg";
  • Graphics Interchange Format: ".gif";
  • Portable Network Graphics: ".png";


When naming a file which will be uploaded or attached in D2L (drop box, email attachment, discussion message attachment, homepage filename), do not use any special characters in the file name except "-" (dash) and "_" (underscore). You should also use the period "." solely to delineate the file name from the file extension. Files with names containing any other special characters may prevent your instructor or fellow students from accessing the file.

PipelineMT and D2L Supported Browsers

Windows supported browsers:

  • Mozilla Firefox, latest version*
  • Google Chrome, latest version*
  • Do not use Internet Explorer!

Macintosh supported browsers:

  • Apple Safari, latest version
  • Mozilla Firefox, latest version
  • Google Chrome, latest version

Mobile web supported browsers:

  • Apple Safari, latest version
  • Android, latest version

Computer Technology Basics

Check out the GCF Learn Free website.


Faculty Help


Student Help