February 19, 2014
Score 9 out of 10
We actually use it at the University of Wisconsin system level so all of the UW System schools utilize this learning management system.
- The dropbox area is highly developed. You can create both group and individual dropboxes. They can also be attached to the grades area allowing items to be graded from within the dropbox tool and then have it published to the grade book. They have also successfully integrated the use of rubrics with the dropbox. This allows instructors to grade a rubric that is attached to the dropbox and have it publish to the grade book. It is very slick! In addition, there is an ipad grading app that allows instructors to download the dropbox items to their ipad, grade offline, and then upload the graded items back into the dropbox.
- The course builder is a great tool. This is a great tool that allows you to get started in the course building process before having the actual learning materials and assessments created. It allows you to create a course outline by using placeholders. These placeholders can then be replaced with html pages, quizzes, discussions, and dropboxes at a later date. I use this tool all the time!
- In 10.1 D2L introduced many drag and drop features into their LMS. This allows for easy upload of files from the computer to the LMS. This was a great enhancement to their product.
- The use of rubrics in the discussion area and the quizzes area could use some TLC. The rubrics actually have to be added to the grade book item for them to be functional. In the Discussion area the instructor is unable to grade them discussions and publish them to the grades area. In quizzes, students are not able to see the rubric at all. If the rubric functioned in these two tools like they do in the dropbox they would be a very useful tool.
- The discussion area could benefit from a few different enhancements. There is currently no way to grade group restricted discussions without having to manually enter the grades in the grade book or setup a different grade item for each group and then someone restrict those grade book items to individual groups. It is not an easy process one way or the other. The discussion area would also benefit from the ability to add categories so that Forums could be grouped by a certain category (i.e. Units)
- D2L needs to invest some time and resources to develop/redevelop blogging, journaling, and wiki in the LMS.
- D2L has allowed us to create master courses that are regularly updated and then copied over from semester to semester. The copy process is very quick and easy so this have been a time saver for us.
- Sometimes the learning curve for end users has been a little difficult as the recent upgrades (9.4 to 10 to 10.1) have had some very significant changes. In the end I think the changes are an improvement but sometime faculty and students get nervous because "things look different".
I have been with primarily online programs so it has been very well suited for our needs. The keys for us are the upgrade schedule. Trying to determine how often the LMS will change, will they be major changes, how will the changes effect or instructors and students. They provide documentation but we often like to create custom documentation since we don't utilize all of the tools they have. An aggressive upgrade schedule can make keeping up with documentation changes difficult.