D2L Course Cleanup Information and Resources (2018)

About the D2L Course Cleanup

The annual D2L Course Cleanup is an ongoing activity to ensure the smooth operation of the UW System learning management system, Brightspace (a.k.a. D2L). Cleaning up old courses helps ensure a positive experience for users of the LMS by removing old courses. Reducing the number of courses reduces time and resources for system upkeep, and costs for the service are kept to a minimum.

All UW System institutions participate in this process. UW-Milwaukee’s participation involves removing courses after three years, while most other UW institutions remove courses after two years. Be aware of this difference if you teach for other UW campuses.

In 2018, courses offered from Fall 2013 through Summer 2014 will be removed.

As an Instructor, What Do I Need To Do?

  • Most D2L instructors need to do nothing. Courses will be removed automatically.
  • If instructors need to keep student information from a course or retain a copy of a course, take action as soon as possible.


How Do I Save Course Site Information?

Use these methods for saving course information without student data.

  • Export a Course from D2L
    Use this method to export some or all parts of a courses structure to a zip file. The resulting file can be re-imported into D2L or most other learning management systems.
  • Download Course Files
    Use this method to download the files used in a course without course organization (e.g. Content tool structure).
  • How to Copy Course Components To Another Course
    Use this method to copy the structure of a course to a new D2L course website. This is the same method used by most instructors to re-offer a course from one term to another.

How Do I Save Student Data?

Use these methods to save all or some student information. Keep student information properly stored on university-owned computers and university-approved services. For more information, contact UWM Information Security.

Important: UWM is subject to federal and state laws for data retention for both physical and digital information. Instructors are strongly encouraged to consult with their department or UWM Records Management to learn about how long to keep information, how long students may access their information under FERPA, and how to properly dispose of it.

Can I Recover Course or Student Information After the Cleanup?

There is no way to recover student or course information that has been lost in the Course Cleanup.

For Students

For Students

Students should retain their own copy of all coursework submissions. UW System policy states that student information should be retained by instructors a minimum of six months, and grade appeal policies typically require retention of student information for a minimum of 1 year. After that time, student information may become unavailable.

The instructor of a D2L course website may choose at any time to make the site unavailable (“inactive”), thereby preventing student access to the course. If students still have access to a course website, students may download or save copies of their coursework and feedback. It is up to the student to determine the most appropriate storage method for that information. However, if the course is unavailable, students will need to contact their instructor or department to get further assistance in recovering material. For more information, refer to UWM’s KB article on accessing D2L after graduation. The article provides a data retention schedule for student access to information.

Students who need assistance with downloading their course work from D2L should contact the UWM Help Desk by calling 414-229-4040 or visiting the UWM Help Desk Self-Service website (gettechhelp.uwm.edu).


Frequently Asked Questions

Why Do We Have an Annual Course Cleanup?

Since the 2003-2004 academic year, Brightspace has been the UW System learning management system. With thousands of courses offered yearly at the 24 UW System comprehensive, 4-year and 2-year campuses, the service is host to terabytes of data of many kinds. Such volume places a great deal of strain on maintaining the service in terms of cost and workforce. To control the cost of service management, the cleanup process was introduced as a UW System initiative in 2009.

When Did UW Campuses First Clean Up?

Most UW campuses performed their first Course Cleanup in 2009. UWM first performed a Course Cleanup in 2010.

Why Choose These Courses For Cleanup?

By design, the oldest courses are removed from D2L because they are the most likely to be replicated in newer courses, and least likely to be needed by the instructor (minimizing disruption to instructor’s work). This also gives instructors time to re-offer their courses without undue work.

How Long Do Course Sites Remain in D2L?

Once a course is created in D2L, it will be available for three years.

What Do Instructors Think of The Course Cleanup Process?

Systemwide, the reaction to the Course Cleanup has been very positive. Many instructors approved of excess courses being removed from their Classlist.

Will the Cleanup Affect Current D2L Sites?

The course cleanup process will not affect your current or more-recent courses.

Get Help

Where to Get Help

Instructors should contact the Center for Excellence in Teaching and Learning.

Students should contact the UWM Help Desk for assistance in saving their personal course information. Call 414.229.4040, or visit the UWM Help Desk Self-Service website (gettechhelp.uwm.edu).