Learning Management Systems

Spring Breezes in with Newest D2L Brightspace Release

D2L kicked off a major new release of Brightspace, the company's learning management system. "Spring Release 2016," as it's designated, includes a "next generation architecture" behind the scenes and a modernized user experience intended to help "drive better outcomes," said company CEO John Baker.

The Brightspace "Daylight Experience" is the name given to the new look and feel, which incorporates a "mobile-first" philosophy. The interface uses responsive Web design, simplified top navigation, revamped fonts and colors, a greater use of photography and similar enhancements.

The company has integrated those visual and user elements into Capture 9, its lecture recording and streaming software. Videos can be indexed and made searchable and can be accessed on mobile and desktop devices. The recordings can include audio, video and screensharing. The program includes Capture Producer, for post-production editing in the platform.

When integrated with the Brightspace, Capture lets instructional users schedule and manage live events and view and distribute recordings without having to leave the LMS environment. The video search uses automatic speech recognition to create closed captions for recorded presentations. An optical character recognition (OCR) function reads the content of presentation visuals to make those searchable too.

The newest version of Capture allows the user to view videos in high-definition and standard definition, letting students view recordings in spotty Internet coverage, according to D2L. Progressive video downloading allows the learner to watch video even as it is unfolding in the classroom. "If you're late," noted Baker, "you can literally be walking to class watching the lectures going on in class."

The new interface and usability elements have also been added to Assignment Grader, specifically for the Android edition. This mobile app allows teachers to do online or offline grading with annotations and video and audio feedback, allowing them to give students more personalized reactions to their assignments.

"This is a big release for us," said Baker. He added that the new user experience introduced in Capture, Assignment Grader and the company's predictive analytics program, Compass Degree, will begin to surface in its other technology "in the months ahead."

About the Author

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