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Desire 2 Learn

Page history last edited by axiomlms 13 years, 4 months ago
With increasing speed and necessity, distance education is utilized to meet and enhance and meet educational needs in both traditional, and enterprise education settings. “From integrating technology in the classroom to launching entire courses online, one useful product has been online learning platforms that manage courseware, student access, record keeping, communication tools, and networking functions.” Naturally as the demand increases space for new platforms opened up. On such platform that has been gaining popularity and replacing WebCT and Blackboard in institutions is Desire2Learn who came on the scene in 2003.
While a summary of the basic features has been provided perhaps the most innovative and impressive features of Desire2Learn 8.3 lie in the following tools;
e-portfolio feature- system in its newest model (D2L 8.3), a synchronous VoIP conferencing tool, RSS feed, Video and a blogging tool. D2L is able to integrate with Banner and other Student Information. Ability to manage, package and share artifacts easily giving or limiting access flexibly, and receiving feedback. 
Access -Ability to create an infinite number of roles such as; admin, instructor, student, guest, guest speaker, teaching assistant, tutor, and so on. This creates a great deal of flexibility in how institutions are able to use D2L. The ability to define different organizational configurations in D2L allows different compartments (e.g. departments, institutions, consortiums) to scale the implementation of a single installation. This is a key feature allowing large scale organizations and schools systems to adopt and benefit from Desire2learn over other platforms (mlindema, 2006).
anonymous polling features-
Quizzing and data sorting features-
Outcomes tracking- Tracking features which enable tracking and measurement of progress vs. desired goals. Attempt to facilitate self reflection and organization of goals, and tracking them over time.
Integration - Desire2learn is attempting to create a one-stop-shop solution that provides all the tools an institution needs to support web-based education. D2L has an Systems (SIS) by using either snap-shot integration or real-time integration. Snap-shot exports data at regular intervals and imports data into D2L. Real-time triggers SIS database (e.g. Banner) so when there is a new event, D2L is updated. D2L “widgets” allow web content (e.g. RSS feeds, Google Searches) to be placed into courses (mlindema, 2006).
Sample Case-  "Teaching Sustainable Community Development Online," Campus Technology, 12/4/2006, http://www.campustechnology.com/article.aspx?aid=41322 .



Pros of D2L portfolio, discussion of the philosophy of outcome learning. http://www.mfeldstein.com/desire2learn-competencies-and-rubrics-functionality-part-i/




Critique of outcome learning platforms: http://www.jarche.com/2007/11/putting-a-training-peg-into-an-education-hole/


Video Demonstration of slideshare feature http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vdNgIHD7n9w


Desire2Learn- Description of Additional Features


Software Version The software is version 7.4.  
Product Name Desire2Learn 7.4  
Developer Name Desire2Learn Inc.  
Communication Tools  
Discussion Forums Discussions can be viewed by date, by thread, by title or by author. Instructors may create separate discussion environments for small groups. Discussion threads are expandable and collapsible to view an entire conversation on one screen. Posts can include attachments or URL. Posts can be either plain text or html. Instructors can enable or disable anonymous postings. The entire discussion can be saved or printed for off-line reading. . Discussions can be shared across courses, departments, or any institutional unit. Instructors can associate a discussion with any course content. Instructors can limit discussions to specific time periods.  
File Exchange Students can submit assignments using drop boxes. Students have a private folder into which they can upload and download files. Students can upload files to a shared group folder. Administrators can set folder permissions and quota tracking on their folders. Virus detection technology can be used throughout the file upload/download process.  
Internal Email Students can email individual students, instructors or groups. Students must have an external Internet email address. The internal email system supports folders, searching and attachments. Students can elect to forward their mail to an external address, or they can choose to read mail in any IMAP mailbox with this mail client. Students use a searchable address book to email individuals and groups. Administrators can choose to integrate an existing e-mail system into the internal e-mail feature.  
Online Journal/Notes Students can make notes in a personal journal and may share them with their instructor. Students can make notes in a personal work area in preformatted text or HTML-style with tags and can perform spell checking.  
Real-time Chat There is both a Java-based chat tool that can support thousands of simultaneous users and a HTML-based chat that supports basic chat functions. The chat tool supports private rooms and private messages. Instructors can moderate chats, monitor chats, suspend students from the chat rooms and view chat logs. The system creates archive logs for all chat rooms. There is a built-in instant messaging tool.  
Video Services  version 8.4 has this feature  
Whiteboard The software supports a whiteboard that can have multiple instances in the same course. The whiteboard supports image uploading and annotation.  
Productivity Tools  
Bookmarks Students can bookmark any content material in a course.  
Orientation/Help The system includes an online student guide. Students can access context sensitive help for each of the major tools. Help items are further customizable by the institution. Students can use keywords to search a student manual and other help documentation made available by the organization. There are also user blogs, newsletters, and d2l sponsored blogs for assistance  
Searching Within Course Students can search all course content, discussion threads, calendar postings in their course or organization. The content repository can also be searched based on Learning Object Metadata. Students can constrain a search using filters.  
Calendar/Progress Review Instructors can post events and announcements in the online course calendar or to the course homepage. Entries in the online course calendar can be posted for the entire class, or individual user. Students can keep track of all their assignments, deadlines, and due dates in an online calendar. Students can use a course calendar to store private events. Students can view their grades on completed assignments and any instructor feedback and can compare their grades against the overall class performance. Students can view their completed and pending course readings and activities. All students have a personal home page that lists new email, all courses and groups in which the student is enrolled and all course and system-wide events by date, from their personal calendar.  
Work Offline/Synchronize Instructors can publish course content on a CD-ROM that can be linked to dynamically from within the online course or viewed offline. Students can compile and download the content for an entire course into a format that can be printed or stored locally.  
Student Involvement Tools  
Groupwork Instructors can assign students to groups or the system can create groups of a certain size or a set number of groups. Each group can have its own shared group presentation folder, discussion forum, chat room, group email list, polls, assignments, activities, assessments, shared calendar events, file exchange, assigned group leadership. Instructors can assign grades to entire groups.  
Self-assessment Instructors can create timed or un-timed self-assessments that students can take multiple times. The system automatically scores multiple choice, true/false, multiple answer, fill in the blank, matching, and ordering type questions and can display instructor-created feedback, explanations, hints and links to relevant course material. Instructors can create a database of questions that the system will randomize to create a unique self-assessment for each student. Regular expressions can be used to create unique variables and answers for every question.  
Student Community Building Students from different courses can interact in system-wide chat rooms or discussion forums. Students can create online clubs, interest, and study groups at the system level.  
Student Portfolios Students can create a personal home page. Students’ personal home pages may include artwork or pictures. Students can use their personal folder to display their work.  
Administration Tools  
Authentication Administrators can protect access to individual courses with a username and password. The system can authenticate against an external LDAP server or using the Kerberos protocol. Administrators can set up fail-through authentication against a secondary source (e.g. the system's own database) in the event that the primary source (e.g. LDAP server) fails. The system can support multiple organizational units or organizations within one server setup and each unit contains its own unique database of users and can be authenticated against a different source. The system has a password reminder option and students can maintain their own passwords. Administrators can set password length restrictions and require password changes after the initial logon and after a specified period of time. User logins can be encrypted with the Secure Sockets Layer protocol.  
Course Authorization Administrators can create an unlimited number of custom organizational units and roles with specific access privileges to course content and tools. Instructors can customize specific access permissions for each student. Administrators can distribute the roles across multiple institutions to facilitate school board-wide or consortia-style approaches. Instructors or students may be assigned different roles in different courses and group contexts.  
Registration Integration Students can self-register. Administrators can batch add students to a course using a delimited text file. The software supports integration with SCT Banner, Peoplesoft, Datatel, and Campus Pipeline. The software also supports customized integration with other SIS or portal systems. Administrators can transfer student information bi-directionally between the system and an SIS. The system provides registration progress tracking. The software is compliant with the IMS Enterprise Specification for Student Data.  
Hosted Services The product provider offers a hosted system that includes 24x7x365 monitoring, redundant hosting platforms, intrusion detection, nightly backups, options for geographical disaster recovery, and service level agreements on a network of high-performance, fault-tolerant servers with fail-over capability with redundant Tier 1 network connections.  
Course Delivery Tools  
Course Management Instructors can selectively release course material, quizzes, assignments, announcements and tools based on previous course activity or specific start and end dates. Instructors can link discussions to specific dates. The system can synchronize course dates defined by the institutional calendar. Instructors can set up specific course content that is released on a specific date and that students must complete before they continue with course. Instructors can design courses for instructor facilitated learning or system managed self-study.  
Instructor Helpdesk Instructors can access an online instructor manual, context sensitive help, take a free online course, and subscribe to an instructor mailing list. The product provider can setup an instructor group so instructors in the organization can access faculty resources and discussions. Instructors have access numerous instructor support communities to share information in a number of discipline-specific or general interest forums. Depending on security permissions, instructors can share instructional content and learning objects which reside is a searchable database with instructors in their organization.  
Online Grading Tools Instructors can mark assignments online. Instructors can provide feedback on all assignments. Instructors can manually edit all grades. When an instructor adds an assignment to the course, the software automatically adds it to the gradebook. Instructors can use the gradebook for basic statistical analysis and final grade calculation. The software automatically calculates the minimum, maximum, and average grade on each assignment. Instructors can assign partial credit for certain answers. Instructors can add the grades for offline assignments to the online gradebook. Instructors can view grades in the gradebook by assignment, by student, and for all students on all assignments. Instructors can export a comma-delimited version of the gradebook to an external spreadsheet program. Instructors may export the gradebook in PDF format. Instructors can provide feedback on all assignments through annotations. Instructors can create a course grading scale that can employ either percentages, letter grades or pass/fail metrics. Instructors can delegate the responsibility for grading assignments.  
Student Tracking Instructors can view reports of student session tracking, login/logout dates and times, dropbox submissions, and discussion participation as well as both individual and aggregate student performance data on assessments, number of attempts and time per attempt. Instructors can share this tracking information with students.  
Automated Testing and Scoring Instructors can create assessments that use the following types of questions: True/False, Fill in the Blank, Matching, Multiple Choice, Multiple Select, Ordering, Arithmetic, Significant Figures and Short/Long Answer. Custom questions types can also be defined. Test questions can incorporate images, sound, video and other media types. Questions can be built with the tool or instructors can import and export questions from external test banks in the IMS QTI specification format. Questions can be randomized to provide different questions to different students. Random values can be generated for variables to provide different questions to different students. Instructors can set a time limit on a test. Assessments can be restricted by IP address or a password. Assessments can be shared across several organizational units, and data can be aggregated during report generation. Instructors can customize reports on user and question data that can be exported. Instructors can override the automated scoring and determine how to communicate test results to students. Instructors can weight assessments according to a grading scheme. Students can also be locked out of the instant messaging tool and have their copy/paste and print tools restricted while taking a quiz. Instructors can also create survey questions.  
Curriculum Design  
Accessibility Compliance To comply with Section 508 of the US Rehabilitation Act, the software implements the following features: alt tags on all system images, an authoring tool that enables course developers to create compliant web-based content, style sheets, appropriately titled framesets that describe the functionality of the frames layout, data tables that are optimized for use with screen readers, content available without color, personal preferences for tool display and content readable without style sheets. Non-visual navigation links are used throughout the site to improve screen reader usability.  
Course Templates Course templates containing either layout or content can be created at any level above the specific section level. Instructors can create announcements, calendar entries, discussions, links, syllabus, course descriptions and other course content using templates that include a WYSIWYG content editor, or upload and choose content from the system-wide content library. Instructors can create new content templates. Instructors can incorporate course functions into specific course templates. Course content may be uploaded through a form, uploaded through WebDAV.  
Curriculum Management Instructors can specify multiple paths through a course for different skill levels or job functions.  
Customized Look and Feel The system can support multiple institutions, departments, schools or other organizational divisions on an individual server setup. Each unit can be separately branded. Distinct designs can also be applied at both the course and specific section level. The instructor can customize the appearance of a course by changing the order and name of menu items and the location and width of the navigation menu. Custom tools can be created and quickly added and removed from course or student home pages. Students can customize the sounds, colors, font sizes, and layout of the tools within the interface. Administrators can change the availability, order and name of menu items.  
Instructional Standards Compliance The software has been issued a certificate of conformance with SCORM 1.2 RTE 3 and SCORM 2004. The system also supports IEEE LOM, IMS Enterprise 1.1, IMS QTI 1.2, IMS Content Packaging. The system includes a tool to import courses from other learning platforms into Desire2Learn.  
Instructional Design Tools The software provides lesson-level templates that include the ability to link to course tools in context. Instructors can create annotated bookmarks, one at a time, for specific courses.  
Instructors can create sequences using conditional release based on a user’s past performance. The company offers course design services to assist organizations in creating their course material.  
Content Sharing/Reuse The system provides a central content repository where course content files can be stored and accessed by other instructors. The repository can be system-wide or for individual organizational units. Instructors can designate their files to be private or publicly accessible. Instructors can create links to content files in the central content repository so that changes made to the linked content are automatically displayed in their courses. Instructors can describe course content using metadata. The repository supports IEEE LOM and metadata application profiles such as, Dublin Core, Cancore, and custom profiles.  
Client Browser Required The software supports Internet Explorer 5.5+, Netscape 4.7+ and Mozilla 1+.  
Database Requirements The system requires Microsoft SQL Server 2000.  
Server Software The product provider installs the system and provides new releases and patches over the network. The software requires Microsoft Internet Information Server (IIS) software 5.0, 6.0 or newer.  
UNIX Server    
Windows Server The software is available for Windows 2000 Server, Advanced Server, and Datacenter Server, and Windows 2003 Standard, Enterprise and Datacenter Editions.  
Company Profile Located in Kitchener, Ontario, Desire2Learn was founded in 1999. It employs 85+ people and is privately held.  
Costs There is an initial startup fee. The license fees are typically based on either an FTE or per user/enrollment depending on the client requirements.  
Open Source    
Optional Extras The system provides support for secure online tuition payment by credit card. Custom Tools can be built within the platform using the D2L Widget tool. Custom XML and SQL interfaces can be defined for data exchange with the system. Full commerce and portal systems are available. The software can be integrated with external authentication servers, Student Information Systems, Library Systems, email systems, and other campus based systems. The company offers consulting services for implementation planning and advanced technical services including an initial technical assessment and evaluation of issues such as authentication, load balancing, and migration and upgrade planning. The product provider also offers full services for instructional design and custom courseware creation.  
WevDAV can theoretically be setup for both  
students and instructors (however, typically we only allow instructors to use this capability).  

 * Table Adapted from EdTools educationworld www.education-world.com/tools_templates/index.shtml









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