DePaul’s New Learning Management System

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In January, DePaul will be moving away from Blackboard to a different learning management system, called Desire2Learn, or D2L for short. This is the software used to host the online courses at SNL, and to support regular courses if the professor chooses to use it. We at SNL Online are very excited about this change, because we believe it will provide a much better experience for students.

Differences from Blackboard

D2L looks pretty different from Blackboard, and there are some other important differences:

  • Basic Course Layout D2L has a feature called “Content” that allows us to organize by module all the course materials you will use in that module. That means we can arrange the readings, assignments, discussions, and group work logically and efficiently, and you just click from one item to the next to do them. The main Module page has readings and also links to everything else you will need for your course.
  • Discussions Discussions are set so that you automatically see all posts, and they are indented to show who is responding to whom. This helps you really understand the flow of an online discussion. When you go to respond, you get a popup window, which allows you to refer back to the discussion while you are writing your post. The discussion also is set up to make it easier for faculty to give you open-ended feedback, so you should see more of that.
  • Assignments The “Dropbox” in D2L works really well. You’ll get an e-mail when your instructor posts grades or feedback, so you won’t have to keep checking to find out how you did. Also, many assignments are set up so that they automatically use the “Turn-it-In” system, which will create a report for you to see if you have inadvertently used text from another source. This will help you avoid plagiarism problems.
  • Calendar Most classes will have a calendar to show you when tasks are due. Just click on the date and you’ll see details.
  • Checklists You can track your progress through your course with a checklist that has links to all the parts and tools you’ll need for that module.
  • Chat D2L has a built-in chat feature, so you can have real-time chat meetings with groups or the whole class.
  • Updates On the first page of your course, you’ll see updates of new posts waiting to be read.
  • Automatic Notices If you’re out of your course for several days, you’ll get an e-mail notice. So when work or life get hectic, the reminder will help you avoid problems later in the term.

The new system will take some getting used to and there will certainly be some bumps along the way as everyone learns it. But it should make it easier for you to learn, to get feedback, and to stay connected.

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