Intelligent Agents: Learn@UCO (D2L)


The Intelligent Agents tool monitors a D2L course to find an activity that matches the criteria that you set. The criteria that the agents search for are login activity, course activity, and release conditions in Brightspace Learning Environment. Once the system identifies that the set criteria are met, you can elect to have the system automatically send an email or just document the results. 

Example uses for agents include:

  • Emailing users with grades below a certain level
  • Checking for users that have not logged in within a specific number of days
  • Checking for users that view a specific content topic.
  • Gamification techniques – (ie. Leveling Up)
  • “Rewards” for when students complete assignments for the week.
  • Emailing the first time a student accesses the course


  •  Performs tedious tasks automatically
  •  Saves time
  •  Helps instructors track student activity
  •  Provides Just-in-Time feedback for students/instructors
  •  The larger the class, the more vital they become to managing the course and students.

List of topics in this article:


Creating an Intelligent Agent

  1. Log in to D2L, access your specific course, and click Edit Course.
  2. Click Intelligent Agents.
  3. On the Agent List page, click New.
  4. On the New Agent page, set a name for the agent.
  5. If you want the agent to be active and start running after you save, select the Agent is enabled check box.
  6. Set the Criteria for this agent. 
  7. Under Actions > Repetition, select how often you want the agent to take action. The Action Repetition setting determines how many emails an agent might send to users who satisfy its criteria.
    1. Take action only the first time the agent's criteria are satisfied for a user
      When you select this setting, all users that satisfy the agent's criteria receive only one email no matter how many times the agent is evaluated.
    2. Take action every time the agent is evaluated and the agent's criteria are satisfied for a user
      When you select this setting, the agent sends an email to all users that satisfy its criteria every time the agent is evaluated.
  8. If you want the agent to send an email when the set criteria are satisfied, under Actions > Send an Email, select the Send an email when the criteria are satisfied check box and enter your email details and relevant attachments. 
    1. Indicate who the email should be sent to in the To, CC, and BCC text boxes. These can be sent to a specific email address that you manually type OR you can use the available Replace String options for automatically sending an email to the student. To send it to the student, type {InitiatingUser} into the "To" textbox. 
    2. Type your email content into the message box using Replace Strings as desired. You can also use any of the options available in the Brightspace Editor including adding images, quicklinks, font formatting, and more. 
  9. If you want to schedule how frequently Brightspace Learning Environment evaluates the agent criteria, under Scheduling, select the Use Schedule check box. Click Update Schedule and set your scheduling details. Learn More About Scheduling
  10. Click Save and Close.
  11. You can access an already created agent to edit, disable, or delete it from the Agent List page. This page also shows you the last date an agent ran, how many individuals met the criteria on that date, and the next date the agent will run.  

Release Conditions

When using the Intelligent Agents tool, the Release Conditions can be used to set criteria for specific tools within the D2L course. Release conditions can be used in several areas of D2L including the News, Content, Discussion, Assignment, Grades, and Quizzes tools. The options work the same for all tools but have particular use in the Intelligent Agent allowing instructors to set criteria for automatic emails and notifications for unique criteria. 

Replace Strings

Communications triggered by Intelligent Agents can use "Replace Strings.” Replace Strings replace specific variables with the requested text. For Example: “Welcome {InitiatingUserFirstName}!” would be replaced with “Welcome Amanda!” Replace Strings can be used anywhere you see the Brightspace editor. 

Replace Strings Tips:

  •  Ensure that your replace strings are written correctly.
  •  Use Name strings as naturally as possible.
  •  Replace Strings can only use names that are recorded in the legal first and last name categories.
Replace String Description For Use In
{InitiatingUser} The user who performs the action that meets the agent’s criteria Email address field
{InitiatingUserAuditors} The auditors for the user who performs the action that meets the agent's criteria Email address field
{OrgName} The name of the organization (UCO) Email body
{OrgUnitCode} The code for the course Email body
{OrgUnitName} The name of the course Email body
{OrgUnitStartDate} The start date specified for the course (the date set in the Course Offering area - can be adjusted by the instructor) Email body
{OrgUnitEndDate} The end date specified for the course (the date set in the Course Offering area - can be adjusted by the instructor) Email body
{OrgUnitId} The course ID required to make quicklinks work Email subject line and email body
{InitiatingUserFirstName} The first name of the student Email body
{InitiatingUserLastName} The last name of the student Email body
{InitiatingUserUserName} The username of the student Email body
{InitiatingUserOrgDefinedId} The Org Defined ID of the student (this is the student's Banner ID) Email body
{LastCourseAccessDate} The date the student last accessed the course. Email subject line and email body
{LastLoginDate} The date the student last logged in to D2L Email subject line and email body
{LoginPath} The web address to login for D2L Email body


You have control over how frequently the individual agent runs. The schedule controls when the agent looks to see who has met the specified criteria and will perform the action based on the settings in the Action area. You can schedule the agent to run daily, weekly, or monthly with specific settings for each option. Additionally, you can determine the start and end date for the agent to run. It is a best practice to set an end date for your agents so that you do not inadvertently send messages, etc at times when they do not make sense. Think through when you want the information or the email sent, how often you want it to send, and when you want the information to stop. 

Note: Scheduled intelligent agents stop running and are automatically disabled if the course is inactive, past its end date, or deleted. You can still set up a practice run or a manual run of an intelligent agent at any time in a course with a passed end date.

Changing Email Addresses

When the emails are sent from the Intelligent Agent tool, the default "From" email address is a dummy, inactive email account. This means that when students try to "Reply" to the email, no one will actually receive their reply. This can be easily addressed by changing the default email address to a monitored account such as your instructor email. 

  1. Open the Intelligent Agent tool and select Settings
  2. Click the Set custom values for this course radio button, edit the information, and click Save

Note: This will need to be changed for each course section, each semester and is not a setting that is copied from course to course. 


Additional Resources


Article ID: 112307
Wed 1/26/22 9:01 AM
Wed 1/26/22 10:57 AM