Big thanks to Parkland College faculty and staff who scheduled time to do a webinar with us, demonstrating the features of their new system “Cobra Learning” (branded version of the Course Management System, Desire2Learn)
Parkland was formerly on Angel, started the CMS investigation process 1.5 years ago, contracted with D2L in March, piloted 10 courses in D2L in summer, and has moved about 25% of their courses from Angel to D2L for the fall semester.
Parkland provided faculty with “repository” sites where the content from Angel was migrated to D2L then faculty redesigned their courses using D2L features and functions.
System features and functions:
- Landing page displays modular layout, widgets for content, calendar, video, etc.
- Welcome page of course site also has the same look and feel
- Menu bar across the top displayed: Content (presented to the user in an outline view with major points [weeks] and sub-points [assignments, discussion]); within Content is Content Viewer, expandable/collapsible content with date and time settings
- Other Menu bar options: Dropbox (single collection, not associated with Assignments), Quizzes, Grades, Checklist (like a task list), Attendance, Class List (roster)
- Test items, statistics – displays overall class stats (number of attempts, average, standard deviation), can categorize questions, see test analysis by category, see item analysis (percentage of selections for each answer)
- Gradebook – categories, associations to content areas/items; grades are color-coded (A, B, C, D, F); entries linked to content/submissions; grade items with due dates are automatically displayed on the calendar
- Attendance – setup a date entry for each class meeting/attendance event; time-intensive to setup at first, should be able to copy to another term once established
- Plagiarism integration – can integrate with Turnitin.com but Parkland licenses separately currently
- D2L does not have communication tools beyond discussion; no wikis, blogs, or journals; some Parkland faculty use discussion forums for journal-type entries/assignments
- Dropbox is a file collector, not aligned with a specific assignment or the gradebook (mixed files if more than one assignment/collection is in progress)
- Discussion entries can be graded in the discussion board but it’s “clunkier” than it was in Angel; can also grade discussion entries through the gradebook spreadsheet
- Can import test questions in Excel format or use Respondus software to format for D2L
- Publisher content is generally linked, not integrated unless the content is imported as a package as a zip file
- D2L is integrated with Parkland’s student information systems (student records, grades, etc)
When asked if D2L had a steep learning curve for “non-techies”, Parkland respondents thought D2L was “more powerful, less intuitive” than Angel.
In their search, Parkland considered Moodle but eliminated it first because they thought it could not do most of the functions they wanted.
Parkland also considered Blackboard, Sakai, and Instructure Canvas. Their search came down to D2L and Blackboard and D2L representatives were more responsive to Parkland’s needs and interests as compared to Blackboard personnel.
Students have adapted well to the transition. Students enter D2L through a single sign on but have to change their passwords the first time entering.