Posted October 7, 2015
The learning management system Desire2Learn, or D2L, is an important service for the UW System, as many students and faculty members interact with it every day.
When D2L, which runs from a data center on the UW-Madison campus, is not working or is unavailable it can cause problems for everyone at UW-River Falls. Situations like the one that occurred on Sept. 26, when D2L was unavailable for almost 24 hours due to a power outage in Madison, can cause a lot of headaches for students and faculty alike.
Many coureses at UW-River Falls require students to take quizzes or submit papers via D2L. Professors also assign readings or discussions through D2SL.
Michelle Parkinson, an associate professor of English, has experienced problems with D2L that have affected her courses.
“I’ve had to delay grading papers in a few cases, which has affected students directly,” Parkinson said via email. “I’ve also had to access electronic sources through other venues, which adds time to my prep time.”
Parkinson is not the only one who has encountered problems. Animal and Food Science Professor Dennis Cooper has, too.
“I’ve been showing a lot of videos lately and any outages cause a big interruption during class,” Cooper wrote in an email. “Fortunately, I haven’t had a big problem with these yet.”
Cooper said that if some of the videos can’t be replaced with a lecture in a timely matter he might be forced to cancel a class.
While some faculty members have encountered problems, others have not and have nothing but good things to say about D2L. Jennifer Hafer, an assistant professor of economics, said she has not encountered any problems with D2L so far.
English Professor Jennifer Brantley also has been satisfied with D2L. She is impressed by how well it works and the capabilities it has for teaching. Brantley explained that she has backup plans for everything including D2L and that one just needs to be patient sometimes.
The Division of Technology Services regularly does maintenance on D2L every Thursday morning to help it continue to run smoothly.
Parkinson sums up best the experience many on campus have with D2L: “When D2L works, it’s great. When it’s down, it’s a real deterrent to effective teaching and learning.”