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Desire2Learn Learning Suite Integrates Social Learning, Improves Assessment

Desire2Learn has released an update to its flagship e-learning platform, Desire2Learn Learning Suite, with a new emphasis on integrated social networking tools--such as Google+ and Facebook--and improvements in the areas of assessment, grading, and assessment tracking.

The Desire2Learn Learning Suite includes Learning Environment (the company's flagship learning management system), which provides tools for course management, development, and delivery of courses and learning materials, along with a suite of collaboration and assessment tools. The suite also incorporates Learning Repository, Desire2Learn's digital asset management and content management tool, used for organizing curricular materials and assessments and sharing digital resources among users; Desire2Learn Analytics, a Web-based business intelligence tool designed to help schools monitor and analyze data from the Learning Environment, such as enrollment trends and demographic information; and ePortfolio, a repository for storing, organizing, and presenting digital artifacts.

Learning Suite 9.4, formally released Wednesday, includes enhancements to three of the core components of the suite--Learning Environment, ePortfolio, and Learning Repository.

New features specific to Learning Environment include:

  • User profile linking with Google+, Facebook, Twitter, and LinkedIn, with access to external social network profiles within the Learning Environment;
  • New controls for push notifications, including news, assignment dates, and changes to courses, with new delivery methods that include e-mail, SMS, Facebook, and RSS;
  • Calendaring enhancements, with a new "Agenda" view that aggregates assessments and learning materials, accessible through common platforms like Microsoft Outlook and Google Calendar;
  • A new drag and drop seating chart tool that's integrated with other tools in the suite so that instructors can access attendance, grades, and other student information using a visual representation of the classroom layout; and
  • Expanded support for file types, allowing for greater flexibility in grading assignments within Dropbox without leaving the Desire2Learn environment.
The inline grader and document viewer in Desire2Learn Learning Environment
The inline grader and document viewer in Desire2Learn Learning Environment

Learning Repository and ePortfolio have received more minor updates in their latest revisions. Learning Repository has gained support for versioning and now incorporates metadata into the object publishing workflow. With ePortfolio, the Learning Suite has added a new browser plugin for creating artifacts from any Web page; a "My Stuff" feature that's designed to simplify the creation and management of materials; and
sharing through Google+, Facebook, and Twitter.

Desire2Learn Learning Suite 9.4 is available now as a free update to current users. Further information can be found on Desire2Learn's site.

About the Author

Executive Producer David Nagel heads up the editorial department for 1105 Media's education publications — which include two daily sites, a variety of newsletters and two monthly digital magazines covering technology in both K-12 and higher education.

A 21-year publishing veteran, Nagel has led or contributed to dozens of technology, art and business publications.

He can be reached at dnagel@1105media.com. You can also connect with him on LinkedIn at linkedin.com/profile/view?id=10390192 or follow him on Twitter at @THEJournalDave (K-12) or @CampusTechDave (higher education). A selection of David Nagel's articles can be found on this site.


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