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Learning Management Systems

Emerald Release of D2L Updates Interface, Activity Feed, Analytics

D2L has updated its learning management system. The "Emerald Release" of Brightspace offers new analytics features, improvements to the user experience and functions to expedite use of the LMS by educators.

One new analytics feature is the Class Progress tool, which provides a view into how students are doing. Faculty can set intelligent agents that enable them to provide feedback via automated emails when students meet defined criteria.

A "daily differentials" addition lets instructors obtain incremental data instead of having to download the entire set of data each time. An optional add-on is also being made available that provides for hourly data updates.

According to Mark Felix, director of instructional support within the Office of Instruction & Assessment at the University of Arizona, the daily data differentials allows him to be "more nimble in providing faculty support for the incubation of new ideas that require data." As he explained in a press release, "Having the ability to access and open the data means I no longer need a campus wide effort to support a small faculty lead effort to impact student success and course design."

The Activity Feed, launched in 2017, provides a central location for communicating with students about reminders, upcoming assignments, new content or discussions. The new version of the program lets users display images and videos inline and upload content from Microsoft OneDrive and Google Drive storage. There are also new formatting options for directing student attention to specific information.

D2L has also added a new, alternative content experience that enables instructors to build up a course as they go along, compiling activities and content, including HTML documents, Google Drive and OneDrive materials, online links and video, external learning activities and video assignments.

A Manage Dates tool offers a single location for handling course scheduling, including dates for quizzes, checklists and surveys. The new release offers improved sorting functionality and access to the manage dates tool from other parts of the software.

Plus, a new question import workflow lets faculty create quizzes faster, with an option for adding due dates and a new way to add sections in a quiz.

The blended approach that D2L emphasizes in its LMS is allowing institutions to do a better job of supporting the "new traditional learner," said Dave Starnes, Purdue Kaplan, Chief Academic Officer. "With Brightspace, we are confident our students can have an equal access to their learning -- whenever and wherever they are. Everyone can access their courses with all their rich media, as well as assignments, instructors and classmates from any device. This type of flexibility in when and how learning is accessed fosters a stronger social learning culture that helps students share ideas and experiences in a personally engaging and thoughtful way," he noted.

For more information, go to the D2L site.

About the Author

Dian Schaffhauser is a former senior contributing editor for 1105 Media's education publications THE Journal, Campus Technology and Spaces4Learning.

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