One of my main fears when starting this semester was that students would be unable to navigate D2L. Our students here at TAMUC are pretty heavily entrenched in eCollege – even students who’ve never used it before know where to go to find their courses, it seems. For the past two years someone from the OAT has presented on eCollege for at-risk students, and during those presentations it’s obvious that we’re speaking to people who already know what they’re about. So obviously a big change like an LMS switch is going to throw them, right?
Well. Not completely.
At first, yes, my students were very confused as to why we weren’t using eCollege. And some of them still occasionally say that they don’t know where to find something. But on the whole, their instincts have been very good. I’ve had to guide them on one or two tools. Notably, they couldn’t figure out where to find what groups they were split into; there’s no corresponding “groups” tool in eCollege, so many of them thought there was nowhere that they could see their group members. Fortunately in D2L we do have a groups tool, and it’s under the Communication Tools menu. Once I told them how to access the groups listings, they were eager to start working on their group projects.
In this unit, they’re using VoiceThread, a tool that rarely got used in eCollege. I have a video up of how to use it, but it’s really best explored by a “try and see” approach. Students profess each year that they don’t know how it works, but by the end of the two week group project, each of them turns out a presentation that uses many of VoiceThread’s components.
I think that’s what I’m getting at here: Students will often say that they don’t know how to use a tool, or don’t know where to find something, but if you’re patient with them, they generally figure it out. I’ve only had to offer guidance a few times, and I have 48 students total this semester, so that’s a pretty great average. I’m sure there will be students who struggle with the migration; there are no doubt students that are struggling now, maybe even in my class, and I just don’t know it. But I think the majority of our students will find that with a little patience and understanding on the part of their instructors, and a lot of curious clicking, they’ll adjust to D2L really quickly