D2L Brightspace vs. PowerSchool Unified Classroom Special Programs

Overview
ProductRatingMost Used ByProduct SummaryStarting Price
D2L Brightspace
Score 4.9 out of 10
N/A
Brightspace is an academic and corporate learning management platform. It provides core e-learning features, as well as mobile accessibility and granular personalization and analytics insights.N/A
PowerSchool Unified Classroom Special Programs
Score 8.0 out of 10
N/A
PowerSchool Unified Classroom Special Programs (Special Education) covers all areas of education including 504 processes, services capture for Medicaid billing, special education case management, gifted and talented, English language learners, and Response to Intervention (RTI). It is a comprehensive system that combines case management with tracking clinical services to ensure the delivery of IEPs and alignment of IEPs to state and local goals. The system is designed to support districts in…N/A
Pricing
D2L BrightspacePowerSchool Unified Classroom Special Programs
Editions & Modules
No answers on this topic
No answers on this topic
Offerings
Pricing Offerings
D2L BrightspacePowerSchool Unified Classroom Special Programs
Free Trial
YesNo
Free/Freemium Version
NoNo
Premium Consulting/Integration Services
YesNo
Entry-level Setup FeeNo setup feeNo setup fee
Additional DetailsMust contact vendor for pricing information. 30-day free trial is available.
More Pricing Information
Community Pulse
D2L BrightspacePowerSchool Unified Classroom Special Programs
Top Pros
Top Cons
Features
D2L BrightspacePowerSchool Unified Classroom Special Programs
Learning Management
Comparison of Learning Management features of Product A and Product B
D2L Brightspace
5.9
10 Ratings
33% below category average
PowerSchool Unified Classroom Special Programs
-
Ratings
Course authoring2.010 Ratings00 Ratings
Course catalog or library10.06 Ratings00 Ratings
Player/Portal9.87 Ratings00 Ratings
Learning content9.69 Ratings00 Ratings
Mobile friendly1.09 Ratings00 Ratings
Progress tracking & certifications9.49 Ratings00 Ratings
Assignments2.010 Ratings00 Ratings
Compliance management8.01 Ratings00 Ratings
Learning administration2.09 Ratings00 Ratings
Learning reporting & analytics2.010 Ratings00 Ratings
Social learning8.49 Ratings00 Ratings
Best Alternatives
D2L BrightspacePowerSchool Unified Classroom Special Programs
Small Businesses
Tovuti LMS
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Score 9.6 out of 10
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Score 6.2 out of 10
Medium-sized Companies
Jenzabar ONE
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Score 9.5 out of 10
TIBCO® BPM Enterprise
TIBCO® BPM Enterprise
Score 7.0 out of 10
Enterprises
Schoology Learning
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Score 9.3 out of 10
Infor Human Resources
Infor Human Resources
Score 7.2 out of 10
All AlternativesView all alternativesView all alternatives
User Ratings
D2L BrightspacePowerSchool Unified Classroom Special Programs
Likelihood to Recommend
1.2
(45 ratings)
9.0
(1 ratings)
Likelihood to Renew
9.0
(25 ratings)
-
(0 ratings)
Usability
6.4
(11 ratings)
-
(0 ratings)
Availability
9.0
(1 ratings)
-
(0 ratings)
Performance
9.0
(2 ratings)
-
(0 ratings)
Support Rating
10.0
(6 ratings)
-
(0 ratings)
Online Training
4.0
(2 ratings)
-
(0 ratings)
Implementation Rating
1.6
(3 ratings)
-
(0 ratings)
Product Scalability
9.0
(1 ratings)
-
(0 ratings)
User Testimonials
D2L BrightspacePowerSchool Unified Classroom Special Programs
Likelihood to Recommend
D2L
If you're an educational institution (K-12, Higher Ed, etc.), this is an amazing tool, and it will provide you all the functionality to support anything you may want and need it to do. If you are looking at Brightspace as a tool for corporate training, I'm not sure exactly how good or bad it will be for you. My guess would be that it likely depends on your organization's size. Along that line, what I can speak to is how we use it for our customized training and in-house professional development/training, and it works fantastically for that. While we primarily use it for normal higher ed coursework, we regularly do training and professional development for all of our employees and I manage those along with our HR department. Because we use it for many other things as well, all of our employees are familiar with the product, which makes our trainings go that much smoother and makes my job that much easier.
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PowerSchool Group LLC
PowerSchool Special Education is well suited in one specific area: special education in elementary, middle and high schools. It works here due to the nature of the platform, which focuses on meeting the needs of students with all disabilities. The software offers information on specific cases, students, as well as Academics. This supports the mission of supporting all students and making it easier for educators, parents, and administration to be more heavily involved in tracking, monitoring and supporting students. When using PowerSchool Special Education, it simplifies the IEP process. Collaboration is one of the best abilities the software provides. There is a need to track program eligibility, including 501 accommodations and Title 1, and in a school with such a large population, the functionality that this software offers to users is important.
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Pros
D2L
  • Allowing users to embed content links from YouTube or Google Drive enables learners to experience a richer lesson.
  • Providing a powerful editor that allows developers to also include content from Adobe Stock as well as textbook publishers and cloud storage companies gives more power and creative ability to instructors.
  • Providing scaling for mobile and traditional computer systems ensures students will not have issues on the go.
  • The customization of home pages and groups enable courses to be used for small training sessions with breakout groups, large courses with separate sections, and even just more engaging courses that present themed icons and logos.
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PowerSchool Group LLC
  • It provides all the documents necessary for supporting federal and state laws in regards to the special education program.
  • Extremely effective in helping to meet reporting standards for students. Teachers that fall behind on deadlines or timelines are given reminders and provided with processes to monitor progress and reporting.
  • Case management is easy, which leads to 100% compliance. This is important because the best strength is that this platform helps to increase funding by meeting all requirements of the Fed and State.
  • An additional strength is the collaborative potential it offers. The platform offers student portals to let staff access all resources on demand.
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Cons
D2L
  • One can feel a bit rushed on the Brightspace platform during the log-out period. Security requirements may require this, but it makes end-users more conscious about getting through content than taking notes.
  • From my experience, there is not a direct connection between the platform and Outlook.
  • Some content on the platform can feel redundant.
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PowerSchool Group LLC
  • In terms of improvement, the interface is extremely ugly and simple in design, color and icon design. The platform needs to have a much more interactive and appealing interface so that use is more comfortable.
  • For parents, their side of the platform has a lot of options. That needs to be simplified. I think less and more drop downs within the key menus would help.
  • The disability codes are very lengthy. Perhaps there are easier or faster ways to access subsections to select.
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Likelihood to Renew
D2L
I would never give any system a perfect score. In the technology environment today we need to be constantly looking at ways to improve the user experience and LMS companies like Desire2Learn need to know that we have options today with other systems and they need to stay current with features and listen to their customers.
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PowerSchool Group LLC
No answers on this topic
Usability
D2L
Overall, the learning environment works as expected. However, there are plenty of bugs. For example, for a few versions, trying to print out a PDF from the Content screen in several browsers would produce a blank page. We inform D2L support about these issues, most of which are known issues. However, they are very slow to respond. D2L seems to spend more time selling than actually coding and testing their product. Most of the issues are not major -- however, there have been a few that are unbelievable. In fact, this past week we had a sudden issue where the "Submit" button in quizzes would not appear if users had a certain browser/operating system combination. This is a major problem, if students cannot submit their exams! D2L is slow to respond to these kinds of situations, which do occur more often than I would like.
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PowerSchool Group LLC
No answers on this topic
Reliability and Availability
D2L
Both students and instructor enjoy the 24-hoiur access. After, all isn't that the point of online learning. As an instructor located in an Eastern time zone state it is great to connect with students located in a Pacific time zone state. I have gotten comments about the early hours I am in the course room grading assignments . . . 4:00 a.m. PST; 7:00 a.m. EST So, it's sleep time for my students and "first cup of coffee" time for me.
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PowerSchool Group LLC
No answers on this topic
Performance
D2L
Easy to navigate; little to no delay from one section of the course room to another; actually fun to use after overcoming the learning curve.
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PowerSchool Group LLC
No answers on this topic
Support Rating
D2L
I have had excellent support from Desire2Learn. Any ticket that I submit is acknowledged immediately and the correction is usually almost as quick. We use this for thousands of classes and it is pretty well liked by both faculty and students. We have been using it for almost 4 years now and most of our instructors have become pretty proficient with it.
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PowerSchool Group LLC
No answers on this topic
In-Person Training
D2L
Did not participate in the in-person training due to distance; training was completed online
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PowerSchool Group LLC
No answers on this topic
Online Training
D2L
The training provided online did not, necessarily, fit the version of the system that I was using. Screens were somewhat different and not all options were readily available. This could have been due to customization on the part of my institution however, I rather believe it was due to version changes and training materials not yet being updated.
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PowerSchool Group LLC
No answers on this topic
Implementation Rating
D2L
The D2L implementation team listened to our concerns and built a system based upon our needs. We wanted to keep them after the initial implementation.
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PowerSchool Group LLC
No answers on this topic
Alternatives Considered
D2L
I have used Blackboard Learn 8 and 9. I am currently learning about Canvas. Blackboard is overall much clunkier and lacks the intuitive feel in some parts of D2L. Its grade book is much harder to control and manipulate than D2L's. Its navigation menu can be more radically modified from the default than D2L's, but this doesn't seem that useful to me. Discussions in Blackboard can be more easily reorganized than in D2L, but no grading of discussions is possible. Blackboard Assignments is a good innovation which allows markup directly in the students' submissions, but it displays student work in a confusing manner that doesn't allow for any customization, and its markup options need further tweaking. Furthermore, no rubrics can be used in Blackboard in any way to grade any kind of work (that I am aware of). Overall, I would choose D2L over Blackboard.
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PowerSchool Group LLC
There is no other software on the market that is specifically focused on improving the support of special education programs. PowerSchool Special Education system has a similar interface and structure that Moodle Rooms offer; however, Moodle Rooms is for content management and student management. PowerSchool Special Education is not related to course curriculum management, it is primarily focused on special education programs. Managing special education programs can be very difficult and stressful. It is impossible to successfully comply and healthily support a special education program without tools such as PowerSchool Special Education. Even more important than what other software does do for schools and educators, this platform makes it more convenient for families. Electronic forms and parent portals make processes easier.
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Scalability
D2L
During my first semester working with Desire2Learn the integrated learning management system was more down than up. This meant reconfiguring assignment due dates, frustration for both the instructor, students, and help desk staff. After an upgrade, Desire2Learn has been reliable.
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PowerSchool Group LLC
No answers on this topic
Return on Investment
D2L
  • I cannot speak to whether this system is less expensive than the more fully featured Blackboard, but employees are far less efficient, frustrated, and require frequent calls to the help center to set up fairly simple course templates.
  • I have been asked to consider teaching courses which will be completely online at my current institution. I have done such online courses several times at other universities, but I have decided Desire2Learn is too frustrating and cumbersome to do so. I am now exploring using Google Drive to teach a course online. Otherwise, I will not teach online until required or I find an alternate system.
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PowerSchool Group LLC
  • There is also a positive impact on ROI for the school. Utilizing this software provides the school with the ability to increase the potential it receives in Title 1 funding. Title 1 funding is a major source of funding for inner-city schools in particular.
  • Normally, the IEP and tracking process is lengthy, filled with paper, and often takes more time than necessary. Utilizing this software speeds up the process and provides clear requirements to be met, which reduces the number of questions and confusing meetings or papers left in teacher mailboxes.
  • I have not experienced a negative return on investment with the software, because, without it, the paper trail would be too lengthy and the process would be much more convoluted, with long meetings, long sheets of paperwork, and missed deadlines due to a lack of clear collaboration.
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ScreenShots

D2L Brightspace Screenshots

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PowerSchool Unified Classroom Special Programs Screenshots

Screenshot of IEP Progress reportScreenshot of IEP considerations