Friday, September 08, 2006

Missed Opportunity

At the time that MnSCU adopted Desire2Learn (D2L) as our IMS there was some conversation about developing a unique system-wide branding for the tool. This conversation never really went anywhere and soon everyone was busy with installation, conversion, training, and so on. I think that was a tremendous opportunity that we missed to build some brand identity for Minnesota Online and MnSCU.

Ohio State uses D2L but calls it Carmen. Excerpt from syllabus article: "To create identification with the new learning environment, TELR branded D2L at Ohio State “Carmen,” a reference to the OSU alma mater song, “Carmen, Ohio.” The TELR visual design team came up with an appealing graphic identity, revising it in response to feedback from students, faculty and staff. The Carmen icon is now instantly identifiable across campus, and anchors not just the CMS interface, but also our campus communications and advertising campaign. We believe this attention to brand has been a key component of fostering acceptance of the new system."

Similarly, the University of Wisconsin chose a brand of Learn@UW. This branding is used only at the Madison campus, not throughout the UW system. River Falls, Stout and Superior campuses have basically created their own versions of the "Learn@UW" name, but many UW campuses seem to not be embracing the branding opportunity at all.

My attempt at building some name recognition for our campus use of D2L has had mild success, but not what I had hoped. I wanted to co-brand our IMS as LSC Online and Minnesota Online. You can see the full banner image here that we use in D2L. My goal was to have people refer to the system as LSC Online and to also realize that we are part of the larger system of MnOnline. The problem is that so many faculty and staff began referring to the system as "D2L" rather than LSC Online that we never had a good chance at developing our own name recognition instead of that of the vendor. Clearly, this represents confusion for some people. Now we have a new logo at LSC that we need to find a way to integrate into our online offerings and LSC Online branding. Maybe this is another opportunity to develop some unique name awareness, but maybe it's just too late for that. It drives me nuts when we miss opportunities like this.

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