DC Connect Tip: Have you considered using Replace Strings to Personalize Student Communication?

What are Replace Strings?

Replace strings are a way for instructors to personalize communications with students. Instead of having to type pieces of information that are specific to each student, the instructor types in a generic piece of information (Example: Dear First Name). DC Connect then inserts the specific piece of information for the correct individual (Example: Dear John).

A replace string enables instructors to automatically modify course material and interactions by adding the customized details of the intended learner, such as their name. This feature will help instructors develop stronger relationships with learners, increase levels of interaction, and enhance overall learning experience. However, not all Replace Strings work with all tools.

Replace strings, also referred to as display configuration variables, are variable names enclosed in curly braces {} that are automatically substituted by the corresponding configuration variable values. For example, if you enter the text {OrgUnitID} into a document, when you view the document you will see the Organization Unit ID (ou #) of the course. Replace strings are used in all tools that use HTML Editor and are particularly useful within Course Homepage Widgets, Custom Navigation Bar Links, Navigation Bars, Mail Templates and for Grades when adding bulk feedback.

Instructions on how to use Replace Strings: 

  1. Create a new Announcement Item.Note: These instructions will work throughout D2L! The Announcement item is being used as an example.
  2. Type a headline in the space provided. In places where a specific piece of information is needed for each student, enter the corresponding replace string. Replace strings must have curly brackets on either side of the generic term. Example: Welcome to {OrgUnitName}!
  3. In the Content Editor, begin composing your message. Use replace strings wherever a specific piece of information is needed. Example: {FirstName}, I want to take this opportunity to welcome you to a new semester. I am really looking forward to learning with you.
  4. Complete your message.
  5. Click Save.
  6. Review the item to make sure the item is functioning properly.

Available Replace Strings:

  1. Tool- independent Replace Strings
  2. Intelligent Agent Replace Strings
Tool-independent Replace Strings:

These Replace Strings function in nearly every text field, in almost every device, all over the D2L system. Email is one major exception. Replace strings do not work in email messages sent from D2L, except for messages sent by the Intelligent Agent tool.

  • User-related

Place these replace strings into a text field or box inside D2L. Later, when someone views that D2L item, D2L will replace the strings with the appropriate viewer information.

Replace String 




Email address 


First name 



Last name 



D2L username 


Intelligent Agent Replace Strings:

In intelligent agents, you can use all the replace strings above, including other special replace strings that are only for intelligent agents. These replace strings will not work in other tools.

Steps to follow for Course Personalization:

  1. From Announcements- Click new announcement
  2. Enter a Headline > Enter content that uses replace strings > for e.g. {FirstName} > {OrgUnitName} > {OrgId}
  3. Click Publish

For more information and video tutorial on how to personalize course using Replace Strings, click on the following links: