Montana State University

MSU-Bozeman D2L Learning Environment

Instructor Help

This tutorial page utilizes screenshots from D2L LE Version 9.4.1 (and sometimes earlier) - updated screenshots to reflect the new look are in the pipeline BUT note that the general function of the tool or what the method describes typically holds in the newer version - it just looks different.

How to fix a broken link in the Content Area

Sometimes links to files or other areas in D2L that have been created in the Content Area get broken. Instead of a connection to a file or an intended action, selecting the Content Area link generates an error or, sometimes, nothing at all. Some common reasons a broken link can occur include: when a linked file has been renamed, removed, moved to different location in the course file structure or when a quicklink targets a resource that has been renamed or doesn't exist in the course offering anymore.

What follows is a basic overview of how to investigate (find) and ultimately re-establish (fix) these links.* There is also information on how to upload a file(s) into D2L should the need arise during the re-establishment of a broken link.

find broken links fix broken links upload files into D2L

Find broken link(s).

An instructor or designer in a course offering may hear from participants that a link is broken. Or, perhaps, after copying content from course to course (typically when rolling a course offering over from fall to spring, or fall to fall, etc.), an instructor/designer checks the Content Area links as part of a normal course maintenance procedure - to make sure all is working properly.

To check links:

Go into the Content Area of the course by selecting the "Content" link on the course nav bar.

select content link on course nav bar - screengrab D2L

After selecting the "Content" link from the course nav bar, it always defaults to "Manage Content" - select the "View Content" link when checking Content Area links.

select view content link in content area - screengrab D2L

Select the link you wish to check. In this case it is a D2L topic with the link title of "Reading #1A" and the icon indicates that the file is a .pdf document.

select file in content area - screengrab D2L

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Typically, when working with a topic in the Content Area, a topic link with a missing file, when selected, will display in (typically) two basic ways: blank or with an error message. What is displayed is dependent upon variables such as browser type, operating system and/or type of topic established in the Content Area.

Error: When the link is selected an error message lets the user know something is amiss. In this case an "Error: 404 - The page cannot be found" message appears indicating that the file cannot be found.

HTML 404 error displays in content area indicates that the link is broken - screengrab D2L

Blank: When the link is selected a blank screen appears in the display area indicating that the file cannot be found.

blank screen in content area indicates that the link is broken - screengrab D2L

These are only two of the more common possibilities - you may see other looks that are not detailed in this tutorial.

Remember: the gist is always the same - a link to a file or a link to a resource is broken.

When a broken link has been found it needs fixed.

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Fix broken link(s).

Go into the Content Area of the course by selecting the "Content" link on the course nav bar.

select content link on course nav bar - screengrab D2L

After selecting the "Content" link from the course nav bar, D2L always defaults to "Manage Content" - "Manage Content" is a good place to be when re-establishing (fixing) broken links.

Select the "Edit" icon (pencil) corresponding to the topic that has a broken link. In this case, the link to "Reading #1A" needs re-established (fixed).

selecting the edit icon in Manage Content to enable diting of the topic - screengrab D2L

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After selecting the edit icon the "Edit Topic" page displays. Note that D2L alerts you with a "This file cannot be located..." statement.

topic edit screen which indicates missing file - screengrab D2L

Select the "Browse" button to connect to the "Course Offering Files" area (essentially a link to the "Manage Files" area) to locate the file.

selecting the "Browse" link in the edit topic area to locate missing file - screengrab D2L

Selecting the "Browse" button forces a "Select a File" pop-up window to appear from which you navigate to and select a course file to be associated with the topic.

In this example, the "Course Offering Files" area has a series of sub-folders as depicted below. Not all "Manage Files" areas (aka "Course Offering Files" area) utilize sub-folders - the instructor/designer has to create them.

Your "Course Offering Files" area will no-doubt look different.

Course Files Area as seen after selecting the "Browse" button when in the "Edit Topic" area - screengrab D2L

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Selecting the sub-folder reveals the files inside the sub-folder. To re-establish the link, select the radio button corresponding to the missing file and then click the "Select File" button.

Note: In this example, if the file is missing from the Manage Files area the instructor/designer will have to upload the file into the Manage Files area first before the file can be re-connected in this fashion. From this "Select a File" pop-up window there is no way to actually upload the appropriate file.

Review how to upload files into the "Manage Files" area.

image shows the sub-folders expanded - screengrab D2L

After the "Select File" button is clicked the pop-up window disappears and you are back at the "Edit Topic" area.

The file is shown as being associated with the topic (as below).

Select "Save" to complete the transaction. The file is now connected to the topic - the broken link is fixed.

shows the Edit Topic area with the file in place - screengrab D2L

Test your work using the "Find broken links" methodology.

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Upload files into Manage Files area.

If you need to upload a file(s) into the "Manage Files" area (aka "Course Offering Files" area) you can select the "Manage Files" link from the "Content Areas" menu on the left to access the "Manage Files" area.

shows selecting the Manage Files link in the Content Areas toolbox - screengrab D2L

When in the "Manage Files" area you'll see the structure of the area as you have set it up. Using the "Tree" format is useful if you use sub-folders in the "Manage Files" area.

In the example below the "Tree" displays the sub-folders "course_info" ; "course organization" and so forth. The "Location:" breadcrumbs area is also handy for knowing where you are working when in the "Manage Files" area. Note that "/content/enforced/145437 - MSU-Bozeman" is the "root" of the file management area inside the D2L course offering. The "root" for your course will be different.

In this case the sub-folder "readings" (used to hold articles; essays; etc.) is being selected prior to uploading a file into it. Whenever using sub-folders in the "Manage Files" area of D2L, select the sub-folder that you wish the file to be uploaded into before actually performing the upload.

shows the file Tree display area and breadcrumbs area in Manage Files - screengrab D2L

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In the image below, the sub-folder "readings" has been opened and the "Upload" icon is being selected. You know the file will be placed into the appropriate folder because the "readings" folder is highlighted in the file "Tree" display area and the "Location:" breadcrumbs area also indicates that the proper destination is selected and ready to receive the file.

shows selecting the Upload icon in preparation to upload a file into the Manage Files area - screengrab D2L

After the "Upload" icon is selected an "Upload" pop-up window appears - it is from this dialogue box that you access your local computer and find the file you wish to upload.

Select the "Browse" button.

shows selecting the Browse button from the Upload pop-up window dialogue box - screengrab D2L

Another pop-up window appears which shows the file area(s) of the local computer. Using the local computer's dialogue box, navigate to the file that you wish to upload. After finding the file you want, double-click it or click it and select the "Open" button to put the file in place for upload into the "Manage Files" area of the course.

shows local computer's dialogue box allowing navigation to select a file - screengrab D2L

After selecting the file and then "Open" or double-clicking the file, the local computer's navigational dialogue box disappears allowing you to see the "Upload" dialogue box again.

The file has been placed in the "Files to Upload:" area. Note that you can elect to upload additional files by selecting the "Add Another File" button and following the same procedure in order to put another file into place for upload. After the file(s) is in place, select the "Upload" button.

shows file in place for upload in the Upload dialogue box and shows Upload button being clicked - screengrab D2L

How long it will take for a file to upload into the course is dependent on the size of the file(s) being uploaded.

After the work is finished the file will appear in the "Manage Files" area.

shows file appearing in the Manage Files area of D2L - screengrab D2L

The file has been uploaded properly when it appears in the "Manage Files" area.

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*The problem used as an example in this tutorial deals with a specific type of broken link that is commonly encountered in a D2L course: a content topic has been created using a link to a file (in this case, a .pdf document) that is situated in the Manage Files area of the course. In this case the file is missing from, has been renamed OR has been moved in the Manage Files area - so when the Content Area link is selected, the file is not found.

The same basic premise demonstrated in this tutorial applies to all types of topics that can be built in the Content Area. Whether a course file or a quicklink that has been established, the idea is that the instructor/designer can re-establish the link if the link has been broken and is no longer functioning appropriately.

Note: there are many different ways to approach this task. This document shows only one basic way to do this.

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