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Learning Management Systems

Pima CC Repurposes LMS as Innovative Conference Management Platform

Pima Community College in Arizona is stretching the capabilities of its D2L Brightspace learning platform, turning the technology into a conference management solution for its annual PimaOnline Educators' Conference. The project recently received a D2L Excellence Award, one of five that the company confers annually to schools and businesses globally for innovation in digital education and learning development.

By using Brightspace as both a conference platform and learning tool, Pima was able to combine the traditional schedule of sessions with enhanced capabilities for peer interaction, according to a news announcement. For example, all sessions were accompanied by interactive notes, accessible slide links, digital teaching artifacts and discussion features. Conference participants could access 2D and 3D proximity-chat spaces through Mozilla Hubs and SpatialChat, as well as interact via the D2L Discussions tool and embedded Padlet corkboards.

"We wanted a conference design that went beyond the simulation of speaker-driven, conference culture," noted Reed Dickson, program manager for faculty development at Pima and designer of the conference e-learning platform. "We wanted more voice and more choice — for every attendee — on how to contribute and collaborate."

The platform also allowed the conference to model best practices in the use of Brightspace for teaching. Conference sessions doubled as hands-on experiences in sharing learning objects and teaching artifacts, student engagement techniques, 360° e-learning design, badgification, equity in assignment design and assessment practice, and other aspects of online teaching.

"Placing the conference in D2L was a significant accomplishment," commented Michael Amick, vice president of distance learning at Pima. "It brought everyone into the space that our students learn from and that we teach from."

Utilizing Brightspace as a conference platform also provided Pima with a no-cost alternative to expensive conference management products — making it a sustainable solution going forward.

"The move to a D2L shell is nothing short of brilliant," said former PimaOnline Arts and Humanities Department Head Mark Nelson, "and also will provide a stable long-term resource for us to return to in the future."  

About the Author

Rhea Kelly is editor in chief for Campus Technology, THE Journal, and Spaces4Learning. She can be reached at [email protected].

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