D2L is not all BS
September 23, 2015

D2L is not all BS

David Lloyd | TrustRadius Reviewer
Score 5 out of 10
Vetted Review
Verified User
Review Source

Software Version

10.3

Overall Satisfaction with Desire2Learn

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.
  • Just having a Learning Management System in place has had a major positive impact on our university. And although there are downsides to Desire2Learn, it is widely used and therefore there are a large number of people with whom to collaborate with on its use.
  • Once set-up correctly, Desire2Learn has a lot to offer including course consistency, flexible institution branding as well as it can save a large amount of money on print costs. Sharing syllabi and other documents online can cut the cost of printing for both faculty and students.
  • Desire2Learn works with several third party vendors, and although some of the integrations could be improved, this adds functionality.
Comparing Desire2Learn to Blackboard Vista, I actually believe that Blackboard has a better product, although it has its own set of challenges. We changed systems because of the extremely poor customer service and high level of faculty irritation with Blackboard at the time. I have only used Canvas by Instructure on a trial basis and for testing, however my initial thoughts on the product are very positive, for whatever that is worth.
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.