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College of Charleston Moves to Desire2Learn

The College of Charleston has gone public with its years-long transition from Blackboard's WebCT to Desire2Learn's learning management system, Learning Suite.

The South Carolina college began its hunt for a replacement in 2007, a year after Blackboard had acquired the LMS. By 2008 the school was inviting members of the campus community to vendor demonstrations of Moodle, Sakai, Blackboard, Angel Learning, and Desire2Learn. The winner of the evaluation--Desire2Learn, branded as "OAKS" by the college--finally went into beta testing in time for the fall 2010 semester. Instructors who signed on to be in the beta group were expected to teach at least a single course in the new application and received a $750 stipend for their participation. Seventy-five instructors participated in summer-time training on the new LMS.

That same fall training began for all faculty with the expectation that by 2011 all instructors would have made the transition. WebCT was expected to be fully phased out by the summer.

"We found the Desire2Learn platform intuitive and very easy to use," said Monica Lavin, director of Teaching, Learning and Technology. "It accommodates our faculty's needs."

She added that students are looking forward to the mobile version of the program, which is currently offered in three versions by the vendor--CampusLife, native apps for Apple iOS, Google Android, and BlackBerry; MobileWeb, optimized for mobile Web browsing; and 2GO, specifically for BlackBerry devices. The college already has a mobile version of its Web site, which loads automatically when a user accesses the site from a mobile device.

The college is also planning on launching Desire2Learn's Learning Repository in the fall. This application provides a database where learning resources--lectures, presentations, images, lesson plans, quizzes, and other components--can be stored, searched, and shared.

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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