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D2L Brightspace

D2L Brightspace


What is D2L Brightspace?

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.

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Recent Reviews

TrustRadius Insights

D2L Brightspace has proven to be a versatile and essential tool for a wide range of users. For instructors, it has been instrumental in …
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Love it!

9 out of 10
April 06, 2019
We use Brightspace for all of our classes. All students have access to Brightspace in order to access their classes, and many of the staff …
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D2L does the job

8 out of 10
March 12, 2018
D2L is being used by the entire state university system. It has been, as I understand it, since 2010. The decision was made by the system …
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My D2L Experience in Higher Ed

9 out of 10
September 30, 2015
There are 31 colleges within the MN State Colleges and Universities System (MnSCU). To improve access to higher education, Minnesota State …
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Popular Features

View all 11 features
  • Learning content (9)
  • Course authoring (10)
  • Assignments (10)
  • Learning reporting & analytics (10)

Reviewer Pros & Cons

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What is D2L Brightspace?

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.

Entry-level set up fee?

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  • Free/Freemium Version
  • Premium Consulting/Integration Services

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Product Demos

D2L Brightspace | Tips & Tricks | How to Use Virtual Classrooms to Increase Student Engagement


D2L Brightspace | Tips & Tricks | Using Intelligent Agents to Automate a Welcome Message


D2L Brightspace v10.4 Creating Dropbox Folders


D2L Brightspace v10.4 Grading Discussion Topics


D2L Brightspace v10.4 Creating Discussion Forums


Demo of Shuffling Quiz Questions in Brightspace

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Learning Management

Features of LMS and LCMS systems, related to designing, administering, and consuming learning content in an educational, corporate, or on-the-job context.

Avg 8.2
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Product Details

What is D2L Brightspace?

Brightspace is a learning management platform used to drive better learning outcomes by offering every learner a personalized, digital experience. From the kindergarten classroom, to college campuses, to global corporations, Brightspace aims to help create inspired and engaging learning for all.

It's key capabilities and benefits include:

  • Mobile-first design - Brightspace works on any device – whether a laptop or hand-me-down smartphone or tablet.
  • Personalized learning - Release Conditions and Intelligent Agents in Brightspace offer a high level of granularity and control over individual learning paths.
  • Teaching tools for educators and instructors.
  • Automation of routine course management tasks. ​
  • Built-in analytics to improve decision-making. ​
  • Tools like gamification, videos, badges, and others to increase learner engagement.
  • Learning experience that meet all accessibility standards.
  • Support for in-the-moment feedback as well as automation of assessments.

D2L Brightspace Features

Learning Management Features

  • Supported: Course authoring
  • Supported: Course catalog or library
  • Supported: Player/Portal
  • Supported: Learning content
  • Supported: Mobile friendly
  • Supported: Progress tracking & certifications
  • Supported: Assignments
  • Supported: Learning administration
  • Supported: Learning reporting & analytics
  • Supported: eLearning
  • Supported: Assessments
  • Supported: Live online learning
  • Supported: In-person learning
  • Supported: Micro-learning
  • Supported: Video learning
  • Supported: SCORM-compliant
  • Supported: Social learning

Additional Features

  • Supported: Social Assessment

D2L Brightspace Screenshots

Screenshot of Screenshot of Screenshot of Screenshot of Screenshot of Screenshot of

D2L Brightspace Videos

D2L Brightspace 101: Building Better Learning Experiences
Establishing Student Engagement and Confidence with Brightspace Pulse
Virtual Classroom for Brightspace

D2L Brightspace Technical Details

Deployment TypesSoftware as a Service (SaaS), Cloud, or Web-Based
Operating SystemsUnspecified
Mobile ApplicationApple iOS, Android, Mobile Web
Supported CountriesGlobal
Supported LanguagesEnglish, Arabic, Danish, German, Spanish, French, Japanese, Korean, Dutch, Portuguese, Swedish, Turkish, Chinese

Frequently Asked Questions

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.

Blackboard Learn by Anthology, Canvas, and Schoology Learning are common alternatives for D2L Brightspace.

Reviewers rate Course catalog or library highest, with a score of 10.

The most common users of D2L Brightspace are from Enterprises (1,001+ employees).
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Reviews and Ratings


Community Insights

TrustRadius Insights are summaries of user sentiment data from TrustRadius reviews and, when necessary, 3rd-party data sources. Have feedback on this content? Let us know!

D2L Brightspace has proven to be a versatile and essential tool for a wide range of users. For instructors, it has been instrumental in facilitating online and face-to-face courses, eliminating the need for paper and allowing for the review and assessment of student coursework in a digital format. The platform has also served as a communication tool within educational institutions, enabling customized training, departmental collaboration, and the distribution of course materials. Moreover, it has supported faculty advancement portfolios, continuous learning in administrative departments, and the delivery of professional development training.

Additionally, D2L Brightspace has been widely utilized by students across various educational settings. It has provided a unique and personalized continuing educational tool, offering options for presenting and managing content to create efficient and engaging learning opportunities. The platform has served as a common repository for storing information, allowing students to access course materials, submit assignments, participate in discussions, and take quizzes online. With its user-friendly interface and flexibility in posting material and grading, D2L Brightspace has made online learning accessible and convenient for students.

Overall, D2L Brightspace's use cases span from supporting traditional classroom environments to facilitating distance learning and hybrid courses. Its integration with other technologies further enhances the learning experience by embedding tools like the Google Suite and Adobe Cloud. The customizable nature of D2L Brightspace enables instructors and institutions to tailor the platform to their specific needs and deliver classes in various formats – in-person, hybrid or fully online. Additionally, its mobile accessibility ensures that users can access course materials anytime and anywhere. With positive feedback from faculty regarding its functionality and ease of use, D2L Brightspace continues to serve as a reliable Learning Management System for universities, colleges, community colleges, and other educational organizations nationwide.

Seamless migration process: Several users have stated that the migration process from ANGEL to D2L Brightspace was smooth and hassle-free. This suggests that D2L Brightspace has effective tools and support in place to ensure a seamless transition, minimizing disruptions for educational institutions.

Flexible customization options: Many reviewers have appreciated the ability to customize widgets and change the layout of home pages in D2L Brightspace. This feature allows instructors to personalize their course pages and create a tailored learning experience for students. It highlights the software's flexibility and adaptability in catering to individual instructor preferences and instructional needs.

Commitment to user feedback: The user community has expressed appreciation for D2L Brightspace's collection and prioritization of new ideas. This showcases the software's dedication to incorporating user feedback and continuously improving its features based on customer input. The emphasis on user feedback demonstrates D2L Brightspace's commitment to meeting the evolving needs and expectations of its users.

Confusing and Non-Intuitive User Interface: Some users have found the user interface of D2L Brightspace to be confusing and not intuitive, requiring multiple steps to complete tasks.

Limited Customization Options: Several reviewers have mentioned that the customization options for page layouts and graphics in D2L Brightspace are limited. Users desired easier customization capabilities to personalize their courses.

Difficulties with Calendar Tool: The Calendar Tool in D2L Brightspace has been reported as difficult to navigate and manage by some users. They have expressed challenges in using this tool effectively for scheduling and keeping track of important dates.

Based on user reviews, there are three common recommendations for Brightspace. One important recommendation is to carefully consider the ease of use and quality of customer service. Users recommend thoroughly exploring all available options, asking questions, and taking into account potential future updates and improvements. Brightspace stands out for its highly intuitive interface and responsive customer service, making it an excellent choice for educational purposes.

Another key recommendation is to ensure proper setup and configuration of Brightspace during implementation in order to align with long-term goals. Users highly advise engaging a Technical Account Manager for comprehensive support and successful deployment. It is also recommended to compare costs and assess essential features when evaluating competing alternatives.

Users strongly advocate for utilizing the abundant resources and features offered by Brightspace. They recommend taking advantage of the available tutorials and other platform resources to enhance usage and instruction. While Brightspace is generally considered reliable, user-friendly, and intuitive, some users have noted that entering notes may not be as seamless as desired. It is also suggested to explore different areas within Brightspace to become familiar with its functionalities, and to enable direct communication between the messaging system and external email platforms for improved correspondence.

Overall, Brightspace is regarded as an outstanding learning management system (LMS) that offers great control and customization options for instructors. Users highly recommend it for effectively organizing students' classwork and facilitating video conferences. However, it is advised to carefully evaluate the pros and cons of implementing Brightspace, considering the additional time commitments it may require for professors.

Attribute Ratings


(1-25 of 45)
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Score 1 out of 10
Vetted Review
Verified User
We use D2L Brightspace to teach online courses. I think in comparison to CANVAS it is very clunky and counter intuitive. Grading an assignment, for instance, requires you to manually open the grade book, find the ungraded assignments one by one, open them as pop ups, and choose the attempt number. I don't understand why there isn't a simple 'to-do' list like in Canvas. Part of the problem might be my institution randomly restricting user abilities to prevent people from messing up their course pages, but I spent hours trying to streamline my page and nothing works well. I will quit my job primarily because I hate working with this platform.
  • Make you click a thing to click a thing to click a thing to get what you are looking for.
  • Make you click a thing to click a thing to click a thing to get what you are looking for.
  • Make you click a thing to click a thing to click a thing to get what you are looking for.
  • Create a to-do list.
  • Let users customize course page layouts.
  • Embedded videos take forever to even appear on a page when you get there. This gives me the false impression that content is missing.
  • I think Gradebook sucks. It has question marks and weird icons all over, but there is no tooltip explaining what they mean.
  • In my experience, grading is clunky and takes a lot of clicks to get to an assignment.
In my opinion, it is not well-suited for teaching online courses. The design is clunky and outdated. It opens pop-ups for a lot of things that don't need pop-ups. It has unexplained icons (e.g., a question mark in a rectangle) with no tooltips.

I think it may be well-suited for wasting your time and graying out your hair.
Score 8 out of 10
Vetted Review
Verified User
We utilize Brightspace across our institution to serve as the single unified platform for teaching and learning. Our institution is robust in the fact that it has many different locations and modalities. Online, face-to-face, hybrid and self-paced are all types of education we provide. Brightspace provides an avenue to connect all of our students and instructors. Instructors are asked to utilize Brightspace for all of their courses. Sometimes this means something simple, like uploading the syllabus -- but other courses (especially online) are built entirely into Brightspace. Students complete activities in Brightspace, and instructors evaluate and assess in Brightspace.
  • Robust -- Brightspace can be as simple or as complex as you'd like. There are so many different configurations you can set up when implementing the product.
  • Intuitive for students -- Especially for learners, Brightspace is very simple to use and doesn't take much training for students to jump in and get started.
  • Dependable -- Brightspace (at least so far) has been very dependable for our users. In our multiple years of using the product, it has only gone down for a very minimal time.
  • The grade book can be very challenging to set up for instructors.
  • The current method of implementing learning outcomes is tedious. Although, this is being worked on.
Brightspace works very well in higher education. I believe they are making a lot of strides toward the K-12 area as well. I am not as familiar with the business case, but from what I have seen in the administration of the product, it can scale and be configured in many different ways.
John Bayerl | TrustRadius Reviewer
Score 10 out of 10
Vetted Review
Verified User
Working within a higher education institution, we need a product to deliver online courses through and to enhance all our other offerings, Brightspace has been that product for us. We are also part of a larger system of colleges/universities, of which there's about 32 of them, whom all use Brightspace. It is used throughout our entire institution, and we've even found uses for it beyond the primary purpose we purchased it for. We have found it to be a tremendously useful tool in delivering our regular credit-based courses through (online, face-to-face, hybrid, etc.), facilitate customized training, use for departmental collaboration, a communication tool for our whole institution (including with our students), and more. Without Brightspace, we would likely need multiple other software contracts and tools to effectively be able to do all the things we end up using it for. It may be one of our most costly software contracts that we have, but because it does so much for our organization, we would have to spend a lot more and be less efficient without it.
  • Provide an online platform for education/training.
  • Serve as a institution-wide communication channel.
  • Allow for customization to institutional needs.
  • Consistency across the platform.
  • May take time to customize to best fit institutional needs.
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.
Traci Rushing | TrustRadius Reviewer
Score 10 out of 10
Vetted Review
Verified User
Brightspace is currently being used as the LMS system for our campus. This is how we facilitate our online courses and also house various materials for our in-class sections. All in-class courses must complete their syllabi through Concourses integrated into Brightspace, use Brightspace email to communicate with the instructor, and also keep a gradebook in Brightspace. We have also used Brightspace to keep information for faculty and employee training materials.
  • The layout is amazing! Students who have used other LMS's have often commented on the ease of navigability Brightspace offers.
  • The annotation features for course assignments are easy to follow.
  • The layout of the homepage is very user-friendly and places focus on course announcements.
  • Brightspace email is also a bonus feature!
  • I wish there was a way that we could block students from their courses and provide notification as to why they have been locked out of their accounts.
  • I wish there was a way to change the order of pinned course in the my courses widget.
  • The instant messenger features in Brightspace are not really that great. I wish there was a way to link it to your phone or that it would provide a different alert. It currently works pretty similar to email.
Brightspace offers, by far, the best customer support! I am always able to connect with chat support instantly to solve any issues. Our account managers check in monthly to make sure there are no issues on our end and Brightspace host frequent trainings for both faculty and administrators. Brightspace also host excellent professional development trainings with tips for facilitating online courses.

Their platform is also very easy to use.
Ai Ashe | TrustRadius Reviewer
Score 9 out of 10
Vetted Review
Verified User
Brightspace is a learning management system used by the college in all aspects of managing student learning, student achievement, student communication and teacher training.
  • Creating and organizing assignments
  • Able to upload files of all types
  • Manage calendar
  • Student reminders of work due via built in calendar
  • Editing assignments: too many steps, can be more streamlined
  • Courses are presented the same for instructors and learners. Instructors have to use 'student view' to see course from learners' point of view. Must click a button to deactivate
  • Using the built in course management system to create modules can be challenging
Even though [Brightspace] has some cons the pros outweigh the cons. I would recommend this to a colleague.
Score 8 out of 10
Vetted Review
Verified User
Brightspace is used throughout the organization with the exception of a few smaller departments. The LMS allows our instructors, employees, and students to access courses from their personal and work machines. The platform supports our traditional, hybrid, and online courses. With Brightspace, we are able to not only provide traditional slideshows and documents online for students to access, but we can also embed other technologies such as the Google Suite and the Adobe Cloud for further enhanced learning. The platform works on mobile and traditional machines as it allows developers to provide scalable resources and resources specific to each platform. I have used the service to provide three traditional in-person courses to students over the past year as well as one intensive online course. Materials are easily accessible and managing the platform becomes straightforward after a brief learning curve.
  • 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.
  • The user interface for students is clunky, and it can be difficult to access courses once several have been registered, let alone once a student is inside of a course and has to navigate the content pages.
  • The instructor's interface is also difficult as courses are presented in the same fashion as they are for learners which means instructors who have taught many courses will need to dig through lists in order to find their current courses. The tools to add content to a course or design a course's appearance, while powerful, are confusing and should at least be supplemented with a detailed help guide and video series.
  • Gradebooks work for traditional courses; however, in gradeless or workshop settings, they are difficult to use. I have used text-based grades in lieu of numerical options, but I would still like to be able to revise or implement numerical grades in the final grade column as well. This is important for systems that do not use grades but are contract-based as the text fields may say "A" or "C", but the final numerical value may still be 0.
  • Certain content elements are missing from the platform, such as the ability to easily delete several items in a batch, or the ability to show and hide large and small elements at the click of a button without diving into menus. When one reuses a course, there is a high level of time involved in showing only the key elements and deleting unnecessary content which could be simplified.
Brightspace can be a great platform for institutions looking for a multi-platform solution that works with standard cloud technologies and can provide a beautiful experience. The LMS can work well for online-only courses as sections can be segmented from each other inside of the same course, and grading can be automated depending on the scheme being implemented. Experienced instructors can still create useful workshops and courses with this tool, but it can be frustrating for newcomers or those used to other "plug-and-play" or "drag-and-drop" options. I would recommend trying the tool out and making some demonstration courses in which you are a student and learner in order to feel how it works and compares to other options on the market. Brightspace is definitely powerful and can provide a good experience once all stakeholders adjust to its handling.
Joshua Melder | TrustRadius Reviewer
Score 8 out of 10
Vetted Review
Verified User
I work in a large-scale corporation that strongly emphasizes continuous learning and improvement. Brightspace is an LMS tool that has been implemented within some administrative departments of the company. Brightspace enables employees within my organization to further engage in their development by interacting with content across multiple mediums. Brightspace has offered an extremely efficient platform to engage in continuous learning via mobile, social, and video content while also providing an adaptive toolset to meet employees at their current knowledge level. Our organization sets monthly learning outcomes for employees with access to the platform depending on their position within the company. Our business has experimented with a variety of LMS tools for organizational use (Skillsoft, ANA, and in-house options) and Brightspace has offered one of the more unique and personalized continuing educational tools that we've experienced thus far!
  • File sharing capability between users is largely unparalleled in the LMS space (from my experience).
  • The user interface has continued to receive valuable updates that have created an incredibly efficient platform to navigate.
  • Brightspace offers a single source of truth for standardized learning outcomes based on company objectives.
  • 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.
As a member of a large-scale organization with a wide variety of employment positions, I view Brightspace as primarily an administrative solution for continuous learning and engagement. As an educational platform, Brightspace works perfectly for setting learning goals for particular groups or departments. Furthermore, there are many customization options intent on personalizing the overall user experience for employees. The platform also does a wonderful job of increasing overall engagement, retention, and completion of learning goals. However, I do not necessarily view Brightspace as the learning tool for all employees. There are production employees within my company and they may better benefit from other learning tools that do not require being on a computer.
April 06, 2019

Love it!

Score 9 out of 10
Vetted Review
Verified User
We use Brightspace for all of our classes. All students have access to Brightspace in order to access their classes, and many of the staff and faculty have access to either teach classes, keep up with calendars, or in my case, keep up with all of the syllabi and grades.
  • I love that Brightspace is easy to use. Everything is pretty self-explanatory.
  • Although I am not in the IT department, it seems like they are able to customize Brightspace quite a bit to meet the school's and instructors' needs.
  • The only con that I can think of right now is that Brightspace does not integrate with our SIS. However, I believe this is an issue with our SIS. I have been told that it can be done, but we are still looking into making that happen.
Brightspace is great for any school that offers online or blended courses, or any school that requires students to complete assignments online.
Ho'omana Nathan Horton | TrustRadius Reviewer
Score 9 out of 10
Vetted Review
Verified User
Desire2Learn (now called Brightspace by D2L I believe) is used across our university as the learning management platform. Assignments, information, quizzes, etc. are distributed and submitted by students to this platform. I've used it for all of the classes that I've taught and taken over the past five years as a PhD student and instructor of undergraduate students. I've used it in face-to-face, online, and hybrid courses.
  • Brightspace makes inclusion of TAs, assistants, observers, etc. a breeze.
  • The export feature makes it very easy to share materials with other instructors or plan your class for the next semester.
  • Automatic grading of quizzes is a huge help when appropriate.
  • Brightspace has done a great job providing resources to help students avoid academic integrity issues (and help instructors detect and address it).
  • Although it's hard to figure out how to do it at first, the interface for each class is very customizable.
  • Although it's improved a lot over the years, it is NOT intuitive to use for instructors or students.
  • The documentation is just incredibly scant. Although our university offers some support, it would be nice to be able to get help without having to call our IT department.
  • Unless you customize the interface (which is a bit tricky to figure out), it can be pretty cluttered and overwhelming for students.
Brightspace has been particularly useful in my hybrid classes where we alternate online and face-to-face meetings. This platform is an excellent resource for bridging the gap and helping guide students through content and assignments. I teach language classes specifically, and I feel that Brightspace is very nicely suited for helping students with writing courses, especially the incorporation of which allows students and instructors to see how outside material is used in students' assignments.
Amanda Carpenter | TrustRadius Reviewer
Score 9 out of 10
Vetted Review
Verified User
Brightspace is used as the virtual or online component to classes, either as a blended class, as an extra form of communication to students, or as a completely online course. It's also used college-wide as a way for employees to remain up-to-date on different HR topics. It's very organized and, I believe, user-friendly. I've used it in the capacity as a student, as an employee, and have helped professors use it to create content for their students.
  • It's very organized. From the moment you open it, you can see your courses taking up the majority of your screen. But you also have alerts for messages at the top, so that keeps you up-to-date on what you need to know right away, instead of digging through each course.
  • It's very clear and easy to find what you're looking for.
  • It's a great way to add content to a class, even if it is already a face-to-face course. You can use it to communicate with students, to allow them to see their grades as the semester is going on, or to give them supplemental information.
  • If there was a way they could integrate the student's/professor's campus emails, that would be fantastic.
  • I could see a video chat feature to be helpful, especially for online students.
  • That's all I can think of for now, it's really pretty comprehensive and simple to use.
It's great for 100% virtual courses. Discussion boards, quizzes, tests, supplemental material, all easy to access and use.
But I think it's also great as an addition to a face-to-face course. I think, in this aspect, it is underutilized. It would be a great way to add content to a course, and a great place to direct students to go to if they have questions once they are outside of the classroom setting.
March 12, 2018

D2L does the job

Tom Carlson | TrustRadius Reviewer
Score 8 out of 10
Vetted Review
Verified User
D2L is being used by the entire state university system. It has been, as I understand it, since 2010. The decision was made by the system regents to switch to Canvas by 2020, and I will be among the "early adopters". D2L is used as an option to support any and all courses taught anywhere in the UW system. Many instructors choose to use nothing. Some opt to use Blackboard, as that was what was used before D2L came on board, but without updates. I came in 2012 and have used D2L exclusively so far at this institution, Blackboard at others.
  • The grade book is very customizable. There is a learning curve, as there always is if something is flexible, but there are a lot of good options available for grading, displaying grades, and calculation of grades.
  • Adding course content of many types can easily be done using drag & drop or copy-paste. It is easy to retain stored content from semester to semester. Updating an item takes three clicks. It is easy to organize and reorganize content and allows sub-sections. It records whether individual students have opened material and how much time they spent using an item.
  • I like the flexibility of organizing the dropbox for student submissions. Deadlines in the dropbox or discussions automatically appear in the course calendar.
  • I like the range of quiz question options, in particular, the "multi-select" question type.
  • D2L should find a way to allow markup of student writing directly in the review panel of the dropbox. Blackboard and Canvas do this.
  • When you set the number of points an item is worth in the dropbox, it doesn't carry this value over into the grade book automatically, which means you have to be careful to enter the same information in two different interfaces.
  • The rubric function needs a wider range of options. It should be possible to upload rubrics from external files and make them usable within D2L.
  • The discussions are hard to reorganize. Grading discussions using a rubric is not possible inside D2L, as far as I know.
  • When using the Record audio function to provide student feedback, the audio quality is too poor to be used in many situations.
From my experience, D2L is useful for most college courses, from those that are lecture-based to small, collaborative classes. There are individual features that require workarounds here and there, but with a couple of semesters' experience, it is entirely functional. I suppose there are people who find using any LMS challenging, and that would then include D2L, but otherwise, I can't say that D2L would not be appropriate for any institution of higher learning.
Ramin Shadmehr | TrustRadius Reviewer
Score 1 out of 10
Vetted Review
Verified User
In my program, we have been using D2L since 2012. At the beginning our school was adapting it and it was quite buggy, then at the end of 2013 it got a lot better and became the go to system. However for whatever reason (I think business reasons and cost) D2L switched their servers and they claim that they are using a cloud based system. This switch happened in august of 2015 and since then all the wrong things started happening.

The file transfer speed (upload and download) went as low as %5 of what it should be. To make things worse, their server kicks you out when your upload or download is not done in 30 minutes. Their tech support after 7 months still does absolutely nothing. They practically ignore the existence of this issue. And worse than that many times my faculty and students reported issues such as file transfer termination, or when the transfer is done, the file is corrupt. This system is pretty much useless for us and our IT has told that D2L is not accepting the problem and they are blaming it on our ISP and web traffics. ARE YOU KIDDING ME?
  • It used to do well with grading.
  • It used to do well with file upload.
  • It used to do well with file download.
  • The attendance and feedback are ok.
  • They should go back to their previous server.
  • They should actually admit that they made a bad move and try to fix the issues.
  • Their tech support should stop blaming the user.
Based on its current state I advise everyone to stay away from them.
Laura Abercrombie | TrustRadius Reviewer
Score 8 out of 10
Vetted Review
Verified User
Desire2Learn is utilized by the entire campus as a learning management platform.
  • Extremely versatile; because we have a very diverse faculty, each with a particular work-flow, D2L is flexible enough to meet the needs of everyone.
  • The iPad grading application is a godsend! I can grade offline, and the second it's linked with WiFi it will upload the grades. Since I'm an English professor, this is incredibly useful.
  • The ability to copy elements from one shell to another is helpful when you have multiple sections of the same class.
  • The versatility is also its drawback. There are SO many different ways to do the same thing, that learning the system is overwhelming.
  • Creating quizzes is not user friendly at all. It takes an inordinate amount of time.
  • The shell itself is not customizable. It's difficult to draw student's attention because it is not at all visually appealing.
I think the college has implemented D2L very well, which is why it is baffling to me that more professors aren't using it. I think enough professors are using it that the college isn't going to abandon the service any time soon, but it seems to me like I am in a minority.
Score 9 out of 10
Vetted Review
Verified User
There are 31 colleges within the MN State Colleges and Universities System (MnSCU). To improve access to higher education, Minnesota State Colleges and Universities implemented a management system from Desire2Learn. The schools have simplified management and access with the centralized solution, which has achieved nearly 100 percent uptime. In addition, the new system will support future growth and enhances online services to help achieve the Chancellor's "Charting the Future.".
  • Promote content creation and improve teaching and learning resources
  • Deliver web-enhanced, blended and online courses through a highly reliable environment
  • Offers a consistent experience and helps drive student success amongst a variety of students
  • Quiz tool within D2L is lacking, so MnSCU annually funds the use of Respondus 4.0 Quiz with a D2L personality built-in
Our users are mostly faculty and D2L is user friendly. Faculty seem to enjoy learning new things and students just love it!
Terri Johnson | TrustRadius Reviewer
Score 8 out of 10
Vetted Review
Verified User
Desire2Learn is being used across the Colorado Community College System. I use it to teach my hybrid computer networking courses. It gives students and teachers a common repository to store information to be used in class as well as to upload all homework assignments, take quizzes, and interact through discussions. For example, I've been able to eliminate printing the syllabus and assignment sheets out for each class because they are posted in the Desire2Learn Course Shell and I can project it on the first day of class, and each student has their own copy at their fingertips whenever they need it during the course.
  • I love the Dropbox feature, it's very easy to associate a grade from the Dropbox feature to the Gradebook which the student will receive immediately. In addition, the Feedback area is clear to the student and easy to use for me, as faculty - I have a larger window where I can see the assignment and type feedback while the assignment is in front of me.
  • The Gradebook is easy to use and to set up. My students love that I can give them a total grade after each due date because I can set up a 'Grade to Date' Setting which includes only assignments that have been due.
  • It's integrated into our student portal which allows students to have a single sign-in to their course shells from their student portal page.
  • We use a hosted solution, and at times it feels 'slow' - I know that's not specific, but I do know that it isn't just on our network, but on my home network which has a fast internet connection. When I'm trying to go between student grades for instance, it will often time out as I click from one name, look at their grades, then click on the next arrow.
  • Building quizzes to come up with random items from a specific block of questions can be difficult - that may be an integration issue with certain publishers.
  • Once a rubric is built, it's extremely difficult to edit it - you have to start over again.
  • I HATE the internal email system - it will forward emails to my .edu email, but I can't reply to them until I'm in Desire2Learn because it's all internal to Desire2Learn.
I'd always ask about accessibility, of course. I'd also ask about archiving processes and upload limits.
Score 9 out of 10
Vetted Review
Verified User
Hi, I'm Jennifer DeMack and I am an adjunct instructor with Front Range Community College. I teach ENG122: Composition II, a guaranteed transfer course centered on argument. Desire2Learn offers [our] faculty many options for presenting and managing content to create efficient and engaging learning opportunities for students.
  • Date release options for activities, details, and content groupings allow you to plan a dynamic learning sequence.
  • Great flexibility for displaying media. It's very easy to build attractive and engaging lessons using all of Desire2Learn's media tools.
  • I tried to use a grading rubric for my discussions, and it created a separate grading method. Discussion rubric grading could vastly improve the tool.
  • Can we get the option to grade the discussions using the iPad app "GRADER"?
  • Can we get the option to grade quizzes and provide feedback using "GRADER"? Feedback options seemed to be missing from my GRADER.
The ability to set and control dates per item is very important. It must be uniformly detailed in order to work correctly. Also, the ability to copy and/or import specific items, activities, and/or documents from other sections in the platform has made the system the most flexible I have ever used.
Mike Hubbard | TrustRadius Reviewer
Score 5 out of 10
Vetted Review
Verified User
Desire2Learn is being used by the University to host classes for students and faculty.
  • Class content, email, discussion forums and basic structure.
  • Easy navigation between the various sections of a course.
  • Faculty can easily build a new course within a course shell.
  • Email is confusing to use for some students, especially when trying to look up email addresses and place them in the 'To' field.
  • The various settings for the discussion forum for Threaded view versus other views can be confusing for some.
Most of Desire2Learn is easy to use depending on how computer illiterate you are. It could be changed for easier use.

Faculty also have problems changing items in their course and often need to call in for help.
Frances Wright Breland | TrustRadius Reviewer
Score 7 out of 10
Vetted Review
Verified User
We use Desire2Learn as a part of a statewide collaborative of colleges and universities to offer college courses to students at our member institutions. Desire2Learn makes it possible for end users to create, modify and engage in a wide variety of course offerings across a complex system.
  • Desire2Learn is a fairly simple LMS and is easy for end users, both faculty and students, to learn how to navigate. It is, to all intents and purposes, a file sharing system that relies heavily on drop down menus for navigation. Therefore, it's easy to teach faculty and students how to utilize both in person and remotely. I have had occasion to help students learn to use the product remotely and it's not particularly difficult.
  • Our current version of Desire2Learn has a simplified grading interface included which improves our ability to access all the content that users have submitted related to a given exercise. The content is also integrated into the gradebook so that we do not have to toggle back and forth between the exercises and the gradebook in order to assess our students' work.
  • The available analytics are quite useful for monitoring student engagement and keeping tabs on student progress. It is easy to tell which students are struggling to get started in a course. It would be lovely to include a feature which allows you to automate reports of that nature.
  • Desire2Learn is overly reliant on drop down menus so it can be very clunky to navigate in, particularly on mobile devices.
  • It is exceptionally difficult to use the e-mail system on a touch screen device. I cannot count the number of times that I have lost an entire drafted e-mail because the program froze up after a cursor was put in the wrong part of an e-mail window. It's essentially a huge exercise in frustration unless you're composing it with a keyboard.
  • Certain features such as adding rubrics are also more laborious than they should be. They require you to select features from a series of menus instead of simply being able to upload a finished rubric to the system.
If you are primarily interested in having a place to aggregate files for people to share in order to facilitate a course, Desire2Learn a great choice. It's easy to put materials together and it's not hard to access them. However, unless you have a sophisticated interface to layer on top of it, it isn't going to really work for multimedia presentations. I would also not recommend it for mobile learning.
September 23, 2015

D2L is not all BS

David Lloyd | TrustRadius Reviewer
Score 5 out of 10
Vetted Review
Verified User
I am the Desire2Learn administrator and an instructional designer for the University of West Georgia. Most of the universities in Georgia, including UWG, use Desire2Learn Brightspace as their primary Learning Management System. We use Desire2Learn in an "attempt" to gain some consistency across classes in our online classes as well as for a single point of entrance for students accessing online learning.
  • One of the features that I believe Desire2Learn does better than some of the other LMS's on the market is the Gradebook. The Gradebook offers the ability to create categories which allow an instructor to easily drop the lowest x number of grades.
  • Depending on how your particular course is set up, the news tool can work as a great place to send announcements to students. The ability to embed your own personalized YouTube video in this are can also be extremely helpful to students.
  • I have a bit of a love hate relationship with the email tool. I am not necessarily a fan of the interface when adding recipients etc., however it does have some positives as well. Communication with students can get very overwhelming if you are using an outside the LMS email tool. I prefer to keep all course communication inside each class. Things like grade appeals are much easier to deal with when you have easy access to the Desire2Learn archived emails.
  • One of the main things that seams to be a common source of irritation is the inconsistencies found throughout Brightspace. For instance, there are two main areas used to build a course, the Course Builder and the Content area. It appears that these two areas were created by different teams of technicians that did not communicate.
  • Although we have been told that this issue will be fixed when we upgrade and I understand that this is not an easy problem to solve, the document reader not functioning has been the cause of a lot of support calls.
  • Quizzes and the Question Library are a source of major annoyance to faculty and support staff. The issue is that the two areas are not connected as they should be. For instance, it is very possible to have questions inside of a quiz that are not in the question library. They should be connected. If a question is in any quiz it should also be in the Question Library. That is not the case.
  • The rubric tool is another area that I have a love, hate relationship with. The tool can be very useful when used correctly, however it does not work as it should when using it with the discussion tool. The real issue is the students ability and ease when trying to view the completed rubric.
  • It is also not helpful that rubrics can be associated with a tool (i.e. dropbox) as well as the Gradebook item. Desire2Learn does not seem to tie the two together even though the tool and the Gradebook item are associated.
If you are looking at different LMS tools for your organization, I would approach the decision similar to how I would approach voting for a political candidate. Look at all the options and choose the lesser of the evils.
If you have a solid local support team, Desire2Learn can be a fairly functional tool. I am not a large fan of the Desire2Learn support team, however that seems to be an issue with many of the big players including the last LMS I used, Blackboard.
September 18, 2015

Desire2Learn rating

Erin Morrey | TrustRadius Reviewer
Score 8 out of 10
Vetted Review
Verified User
We use Desire2Learn as our online course platform in the University System of Georgia. I am writing this as an individual, not as a representative of my institution or the USG. D2L is an easy platform to use once you have a little familiarity with it. The system allows a fair amount of flexibility with posting material, choosing when it should be posted, allowing flexibility with discussions and grading. I have used several other course management systems and so far, I like D2L the best of the ones I have used. My students report fewer problems with this system than with other systems that we use. It allows easy portability of materials between classes and has a lot of options for how materials are presented to students.
  • Tests are easy to set up and administer, as well as easily allowing student exemptions.
  • Uploading files into the system is very simple.
  • Presenting material in different modules, including links and discussions about a certain topic, allows easy changes after setup.
  • Discussion boards are hard to read in the current format--the "threads" don't appear as easily as in some other platforms, and so it makes it difficult to follow what has been written.
  • The internal e-mail feature has a very small file attachment size, which limits its functionality for sending materials.
Desire2Learn is good for organizing material for students in a variety of ways.
Dr. Dale Shank, LCSW | TrustRadius Reviewer
Score 6 out of 10
Vetted Review
Verified User
Desire2Learn is being used for distance learning and in the school of social work. It provided a platform for students and instructors to supplement regular classes.
  • Grade book works very well, for keeping track of student's assignments, grades, etc. Provided a way to eliminate a paper grade book.
  • Works well for providing additional materials to students for courses. Much easier to use than Blackboard.
  • Ability to include recorded videos for substitute lectures for classes
  • Setting up groups/group areas was difficult. Compared to Blackboard it is much more time intensive to complete.
  • Easier customization of page layouts, graphics, etc.
I would recommend Desire2Learn over most versions of Blackboard. It has features that are not available in other platforms. While there is room for improvement, it is much easier overall, to set up a new course from scratch, than other platforms.
Ken Matthias | TrustRadius Reviewer
Score 7 out of 10
Vetted Review
Verified User
D2L is being used across the entire university. At this college we use it as a means of distributing course materials as well as quizzing, discussions, surveys, dropbox, etc.
  • Online quizzing works very well and dumps automatically into the gradebook, which can then be exported to the university Registrar. Automatic grading is a plus.
  • Surveys are good in that we use them to evaluate each course and faculty member who teaches in the course. Export of the data is fast and easy and gives a good overview of the data collected.
  • Gradebook can be set up to mimic what faculty members have included in their syllabi regarding how they are calculating grades. Using percentages, weights, and custom formulas is a nice feature.
  • D2L can be more compatible with browsers. We have had issues with Chrome and Internet Explorer. Typically in the drag-and-drop these browsers either do not work or work intermittently.
  • Speed is always a problem with D2L. Depending on the number of people across the university using the program at any given time, it could cause issues with response to clicks.
  • After the most recent upgrade it apparent that D2L is built as a multiple-programmer program in that navigation is not always the same going from module to module.
Content delivery with PDF or downloadable files is what I see as its strength. Including embedded video or other media is not a strong point and comes with a warning that it might not work on all computers/platforms
Steven Mitchell | TrustRadius Reviewer
Score 9 out of 10
Vetted Review
Verified User
Desire2Learn is our campus Learning Environment System here at Southern Illinois University. My job as Help Desk supervisor is to make sure that faculty and students are familiar with the system. I have found that, although there are some tools that are not intuitive to use, for the most part it is user friendly. We switched over from another LMS approximately three years ago and, although there are a few holdouts, for the most part faculty is happy with it.
  • I find that D2L has a user friendly interface and can be navigated by most instructors and students without too much problem.
  • D2L integrates well with other tools, such as e-texts, and most softwares such as Respondus.
  • D2L is easy for the help desk people to navigate, making it easy to provide good customer service for the people who do need help.
  • D2L has some issues with some of its tools that take a while to correct. There have been some problems with feedback for submissions recently.
  • There are a few things I would like to see added such as the ability to import rubrics from Excel and the ability to print the grade book.
  • A functionality that I feel needs work is the Equation editor. I find it difficult to use the editor for some functions such as logic formulas.
I feel it is well suited for most of the academic functions that we use it for. Some of the math and logic classes don't care for it because of the equation editor problem.
April 29, 2015

Desire2Learn Review

Score 1 out of 10
Vetted Review
Verified User
I used Desire2Learn at my previous institution - a large, public university of about 30,000 students. The product was selected as the LMS of choice because of its capabilities, full array of features, solid technical support, and ease of use. Faculty using the software were very pleased with its functionality. I would recommend the product to colleagues.
  • Test and Quizzes - allows a full array of questions types and options, randomization of both questions and answers, selective release, etc.
  • Uploading and sharing of documents and course resources. Faculty had little trouble getting material into the system. Students found the interface intuitive and easy to use.
  • Ease of administrative management. System administration allowed for customization, user management, and other important functionality.
  • Better integration with 3rd party applications. At the time I used the system, there were some limitations on external products integrating well into the system. Perhaps that has already improved.
  • Better mobile interface. Some students commented they found it difficult to navigate on mobile devices.
  • More customization by role. Sometimes users did not fit into the pre-determined roles - i.e. instructor, student, etc.
Works very well for course delivery as well as for non-traditional uses - i.e. student portal, resource site. In my experience we used it both ways. It is a solid, asynchronous learning environment. One suggestion would be to add a synchronous, video environment directly into the tool. That would be useful for conference calls, live presentations, etc.
Michelle Fisher | TrustRadius Reviewer
Score 7 out of 10
Vetted Review
Verified User
D2L is used as an Learning Management System by the entire PASSHE system. At West Chester University it is used to host online classes. It is also used as a supplement to face-to-face courses (posting reading materials, links to additional information, out of class discussions, etc..) In my role, I design and develop fully online and hybrid courses using D2L. D2L (or any commercial LMS for that matter) allows us to organize students in classes and organize materials into learning modules, assess students online, communicate with students both synchronously and asynchronously online.
  • D2L provides a relatively easy way to create customize course pages. This is helpful as I design custom online courses and can create my own templates.
  • The assessment data is helpful in the quiz area. Faculty members are able to see data for the test as a whole, individual questions, and individual answers. This allows us to make decisions on curriculum and assessment as we review/revise courses.
  • The notification system is helpful for students. Students can subscribe to notifications through the news and receive updates via email or text. They can also subscribe to discussion boards/posts, get notifications via text/email about deadlines, grades, etc... A nice way to stay connected without having to constantly login to the LMS and "check" to see if something is new.
  • I would like the ability to pull all discussion posts for a single user in a class for assessment purposes but this feature appears to have been removed in the recent upgrade to 10.2
  • The WYSIWYG editor is a little messy at times so I often work on the code by hand or in a program like Dreamweaver then copy the code to D2L. This adds time to my work and makes it difficult for faculty to work independently.
  • The new user interface in the Discussion Board area has been a problem for students. It is not as easy to review/read/follow discussion threads as it was in the previous version.
  • It has become more difficult to delete discussion forums and modules in 10.2 - there was a way in previous versions to bulk edit and remove discussions/modules that you were no longer using on one page. You now have to remove one at a time. This is a time consuming process.
  • The user interface design is not at all consistent from tool to tool. It appears that several different design/development teams worked independently. This makes it difficult for the tool to become "intuitive" to faculty users.
  • The rubric tool is a bit rigid and does not allow for a high level of customization (ranges of points and in-line custom comments for students are my biggest complaints)
I believe D2L is most helpful as a supplement to face-to-face classes. I run into the most problems/frustrations with highly customized online or hybrid courses. The faculty I work with who teach face-to-face courses and use D2L as a supplement are reasonably happy with it's performance. I have been working with higher-ed LMS's for 13 years now and find that D2L requires a bit more tech skills from faculty than something like Blackboard. I would say it is similar to Moodle and going way back WebCT. If you are tech savvy and don't mind tinkering D2L will work for you. If you have a population of people who are likely to be thrown by inconsistent interface design and some non-intuitive tools then D2L may be problematic.
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