Mobile Learning

D2L Releases Summer16 Edition of Brightspace

Desire2Learn, or D2L, today launched the Summer16 release of Brightspace, its popular cloud-based learning management system, with a new user interface optimized for mobile devices.

Constructed with a responsive design, Brightspace now works across smartphones, tablets and desktop browsers, making it easy to use for a student population that is increasingly accessing the Internet via phone and tablet. The release also includes smarter analytics, searchable video, and social and game-based learning on any device, D2L said in a statement.

Integrating experiences between desktop and mobile is increasingly important, as 87 percent of millennials said in a Zogby Analytics study that their smartphones never leave their side. However, according to another recent study, mobile technology in learning is not as widespread as the use of mobile devices themselves. Only 50 percent of students claim they complete schoolwork daily from smartphones or tablets, despite the proliferation of these devices. Many families remain underconnected, the Educause report said.

A report by the Joan Ganz Cooney Center at Sesame Workshop stated that nine out of 10 low-income families have mobile-only access to the Internet, severely limiting students’ ability to do coursework at home.

“We are learning more about the importance of learners to consume on technology they are using. Information needs to be available on a mobile device,” said D2L chief marketing officer Renny Monaghan in an interview.  “Today, technology is changing the way learners want to learn.”

Here are some highlights of Brightspace Summer16:

New user experience: The Brightspace Daylight Experience is the new look and feel for the LMS, built with a responsive web design so Brightspace can be used on any device. The layout, fonts, icons, navigation and web design have been updated.

Video: Brightspace Capture is now tightly integrated with Brightspace Learning Environment, making it easier for instructors to create and add captured videos for learners to find and watch. Support for HTML5 means captured video can be viewed on any device and delivered with high quality.

Gamificiation: The new Course Adventure Pack takes creating interactive and personalized learning to a new level, D2L said, including a game-based learning service, dynamic story builder service, interactive assessment tools and consultation from D2L’s team of experts.

Learning Analytics: The User Progress tool provides timely information on how students are progressing through a course and how they are accessing it, as well as their content download metrics. A new Class Engagement Dashboard is a class list with interactive data that enables instructors to filter, sort and search student activity, progress and achievement. The dashboard can also predict scores, if enabled. A new Data Hub has been added.

Administrative: Summer16 incorporates streamlined workflows, Microsoft Outlook integration with Brightspace Capture, a teaching and learning certificate program to enhance Brightspace skills and improved eCollege course import capabilities.

“We want to build products that our customers love,” Monaghan said. “More than 25 percent of the features in Summer16 came directly from customer feedback.”

D2L will be at ISTE 2016 in Denver, June 26-29. The company's booth will be No. 3721. To learn more about Brightspace, visit the Brightspace Learning Environment website.

About the Author

Richard Chang is associate editor of THE Journal. He can be reached at rchang@1105media.com.

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