D2L Upgrade Slated for December

Students will return from winter break to a new version of Portland State’s Desire2Learn website. D2L will be upgraded from its current version, 9.4, on Dec. 18. The next version, 10.2, is primarily a redesign based on user feedback. The new homepage will feature a face-lift that gives it a sleeker look and allows students quicker and easier access to the website’s learning tools.

JD Gillis, an information technology consultant at PSU’s Office of Information Technology, said that while the updated student experience will not be a dramatic departure from PSU’s current D2L, the bulk of the improvements revolve around functionality.

“There are still tools students can use. They are just easier to get to,” he said. One of these updates is the ability to switch from one course to another via a permanent drop-down menu without having to return to the D2L homepage. Upcoming quiz and due date reminders for assignments are also going to be included.

Another part of the update focuses on improving access to D2L on mobile devices, particularly tablets. According to Gillis, iPads and other tablet devices will be able to access and use D2L as seamlessly as on a computer.

All existing course content and tools will be transferred automatically into the new version.

The upgrade will have a slightly more noticeable impact on faculty, however, in that the tools professors and instructors use to set up their courses will be streamlined for greater ease of use. Additionally, a new user progress tool will allow faculty to see details of each of their students’ standing in the class from one screen, as well as their performance on individual assignments.

To help with these transitions, the Office of Academic Innovation has set up a blog on their website intended specifically for faculty to answer to potential questions. OAI faculty outreach programs and workshops will be set up to help faculty members with the upgrade should they need it.

At the close of the term, the OAI will hold a dialogue with faculty members to ensure that grades are received and entered into the system. Faculty members are asked not to schedule any events using D2L on Dec. 18, as the website will be down for most of the day. The system should be back up and running Dec. 19.