The "insert stuff" button in D2L is one of D2L's redeeming features. It avoids the need to go into the code to embed videos. Since the code can seem overwhelming to some people, I am happy to share this option. Here's how to use it.
Go to New Topic and then choose the top option "Create New File."
Then you will get the usual D2L text editor. Make sure you have the Advanced tab selected. "Insert Stuff" is an odd symbol on the right side. I think they are incorporating the symbols for play, pause, stop and fast forward? When you hover your mouse over it, it says "Insert Stuff" as below.
If you already have a YouTube link you want to enter, you actually go to "Insert Link" rather than YouTube. Copy the link from the address bar in YouTube and paste it in here. Vimeo works as well - I just had to check a box to allow it.
Note: If you are new to HTML pages, you will have to choose a module for the file and name it. Then Save and it will show up on your Content page.
Here are what some of the other options on the left side do, in case you care to know:
My Computer: if you have a video on your computer, you can upload it. However, I recommend putting it somewhere like YouTube where it streams rather than putting it right in D2L. Your students will have fewer problems viewing it.
Course Offering Files: Use this if you already have a video uploaded to the Manage Files area.
When I tried this using Chrome as my browser, it just gave me the Quicktime logo in Preview, but then it worked when I went back in to vie it via Content.
Flickr: I haven't used this one - sorry! Let me know if you do :)
Enter Embed Code: Sometimes you might need to enter the embed code for videos on other sites. For instance, I checked out the TED site and found that to embed one of their videos, you have to click on Share and then copy the embed code and paste it in the box that comes up here. Voila!
By the way, the advantage of embedding video is that the students don't have to leave D2L (and get distracted by dog videos, as I have been known to do, or be subjected to weird suggestions...I also found a good TED talk on introversion while trying this out!). Embedding also seems to present fewer browser-related viewing issues (i.e., students don't have to click "No" to view videos in Internet Explorer). And finally, appears more professional.