Someone I connect with online and consider to be an essential player in my personal learning network is Laura Gibbs, faculty at the University of Oklahoma. Laura and I are mainly connected through Google Plus as well as a Yammer network. Both of those are fairly new additions to the various learning networks that I attempt to engage in. Laura teaches completely online and is one of the least satisfied D2L users that I know.
- "why do I learn about this from you and not from D2L? Why is there STILL no viable D2L online community for sharing ideas and strategies? And by viable community, I mean a community with discussions, notifications, sharing of files and media, etc.... gosh, kind of like Google+...!"
- Well, I have to say KUDOS to the guys at Desire2Learn... normally I budget appx. 8 hours per course to adjust all my course object dates every semester (ugh, it is the task I dread the most of getting ready for school), since in the past I have had to do that manually... but this semester, thanks to the magic power of OFFSET DATE I was able to reduce that 8 hour task to about 45 minutes!!!
- For those of you at the University of Oklahoma, in case you want to take advantage of this EXCELLENT new feature at Desire2Learn:
- For Weeks 1-7 of the Fall semester we are 217 days ahead of Spring 2011.
For Week 8 - use caution! That was Spring Break of Spring 2011.
For Weeks 9-12 of the Fall semester we are 210 days ahead of Spring 2011.
For Week 13 - use caution! That is when Thanksgiving falls in Fall 2011.
For Weeks 14-15 of the Fall semester we are 217 days ahead of Spring 2011.
- I was able to automatically offset my dates for 13 weeks of the semester, leaving me just two weeks (Week 8 and Week 13), where I had to fiddle a little bit, using a mixture of automated and manual date changes.
- THANK YOU, Desire2Learn! I have been waiting for this literally for years, and it will save me a solid two days of course preparation time that I can devote to something far more worthwhile than manually adjusting dates in the system. I am VERY grateful.
- You will find this genius new feature in the Edit Course - Manage Dates menu, as shown in the screenshot below.
- Another nice new feature at Desire2Learn - it used to be that while the Gradebook items could be rearranged with numbers, for the Quizzes you had to bang a little arrow over and over again to move something. I've had to bang that little arrow as many as 100 times or more to move something up or down!
- I would pick a favorite song and listen to it, banging in time with the music to make it (somewhat) less tedious. Now they have changed that to a numbered system.
- Okay, that's good! But here's a question: in the Gradebook view, I get to have things nested: items appear in categories so I can rearrange items AND I can rearrange categories. Why doesn't it work the same way in the Quiz area? That would be even better - in addition to being a more consistent interface.
- Okay, I have had two good Desire2Learn experiences (see previous posts about offset dates and homepage widgets) as I get ready for Fall, and now one seriously BAD thing... I just found out that the "notifications" feature that is new in D2L for us this Fall is GLOBAL - there can only be one notification standard for all students for all courses at our entire university.
- Eegad: students cannot choose to have the notifications visible or not, and even instructors cannot choose for their own courses. That really sucks for me.
- When a student logs on at D2L, for my course they will see the notification below: almost 200 unattempted quizzes. Well, that is true, but it is totally irrelevant and misleading information: my courses are set up so that students CHOOSE from a huge range of options for what they will do the complete the course.
- Nobody is expected to take all 200 quizzes (which are not even quizzes, for that matter - they are "work declarations" for the most part) - so even as students get near the end of the course, they will still see this message about all the unattempted quizzes, giving them a totally wrong and discouraging message - because those quizzes are not really quizzes, and the students are not supposed to be attempting them all anyway.
- This really bugs me: it is just CARELESS DISREGARD for users on the part of D2L that they did not set this up so that students or, at least, instructors, could enable or disable that notification.
- Just when I start thinking D2L might have learned something from the customizability that is a hallmark of web2.0, I discover something like this. Ugh. My students are going to see a wrong and misleading "notification" every single time they log into my class... and there is not a darn thing I can do about it.