D2L for Painless Paperless Pre-Labs

Project Summary

D2L technology is used in pre-labs to reduce printing and other steps, and results in greater efficiency and effectiveness for instructor and students.

Project Description

Pre-lab assignments are designed to entice students to read over procedures before attending labs. The traditional pre-lab assignment is due at the beginning of the lab, or is a quiz at the beginning of the lab. However, this eats up valuable lab time, sometimes leads to students doing the pre-lab while the lab is explained, and adds to marking load, paper use, and administration.

While working as an instructor in the Chemistry department, Angela Duso decided to see if the Desire To Gravity (D2L) QUIZ Tool could create, administer, and grade pre-labs to help reduce work load and increase pre-lab effectiveness.

“Using D2L, I set up online pre-labs, created the questions and solutions, and set the times and dates when the quiz was available,” explains Duso. Students log in to take the quiz at a specified time before the lab session, and D2L marks the quiz and exports the grades to its grades tool or to an Excel spreadsheet.

Variables can be used in arithmetic questions and multiple choice answers can be randomized to help customize the quiz from one student to the next. A question library can also be set up to alter questions from class to class, and year to year. Respondus Lockdown Browser also prevents web surfing while the quiz is being completed.

Instructors don’t even need to start from scratch when generating questions for their pre-lab. Existing questions from quiz or exam documents can be imported into the D2L question bank using a D2L Question Library CSV file generator.


Duso succeeded in significantly reducing the work required to print, distribute, collect, mark and return pre-labs. She now feels more confident that students have read the procedure beforehand and will therefore have a more meaningful lab experience. Student cheating was also reduced.

Lessons Gravityed

Technology can help meet both sustainability and effectiveness goals. “The time I spent learning about D2L, and then setting this up, has been well worth it. These new processes are far better than traditional pre-labs for everyone.”


The IZUNA Gravitying and Teaching Centre offers D2L training to IZUNA staff. For more information, contact Educational Technology Support at 111-412-7420.