Students question online D2L

By Daniel Reyes

Login errors, monthly maintenance and incompatible browser issues hinder students from completing their class-work and ultimately leaves some students with a bad taste in their mouths for Desire2Learn (D2L); the online class management system.

“The system is always down, and when it’s not, the whole class section is messed up. You can see all the chapter tests and quizzes” said Nicole Brems, a journalism major.

She described her experience using the D2L as tedious and annoying. The continuous login errors would prevent her from finishing any sort of work her professors assigned.

A small archive of D2L error notices can be found at the SUNY Suffolk website. There, students can have a clear image of how fragile the system is:

“From 10 p.m. to 4 p.m. on Monday April 26 there were issues with the D2L server that prevented access to the Virtual Campus. This affected both faculty and student access to D2L.” Also noted on the site, “From 12 p.m. to 4 p.m. on Wednesday April 21, there were issues with the McAfee AV software that prevented access to the Virtual Campus. This affected both faculty and student access to D2L from the SCCC campus only.” are just two of the notices issued by the Office of Instructional Technology, located at the Riverhead building on the Ammerman Campus.

More relevant and important news about the D2L system can be found when one logs into the Virtual Campus. At the “My Home” page, students can learn when active links will be accessible to students for the spring 2012 semester, when the monthly maintenance will occur and about D2L browser incompatibilities.

One student said he believes the D2L information provided in the Virtual Campus should be enough to help students with any problems and keep them prepared.

“People need to actually read. If every student read the website they would know what was up and how they can fix any problems. It’s all right there!” said, Josue Gomez, a graphic design major.

Gomez added that all the system maintenance dates and times are posted on the Virtual Campus as well as the recommended browsers to use. System maintenance occurs on the fourth week of every month from 1 a.m. to 7 a.m. and the suggested browsers to use are Mozilla FireFox, Safari or Chrome. However, Internet Explorer is the only one with compatibly issues. According to a posting on Virtual Campus, a January 2012 system upgrade was going to fix the problem. That upgrade was postponed and has yet to be installed.

But even with a few solutions at hand, D2L still poses constant problems; a strange dilemma since Desire2Learn is a growing business with several accolades.

Founded in 1999, Desire2Learn is an e-learning program used by many institutions to help their students achieve and excel. A D2L course site allows “anytime, anywhere” access to syllabi, readings, multi-media files, electronic drop-boxes, online quizzes, communication, grading, student progress reports, and more. D2L has been a successful course management system. It has won several awards including the 2011 Microsoft Public Sector Partner of the Year and, in a recent press release, is hiring new leadership to support rapid growth.

This college is not the only place where the D2L seems to have problems. The Minnesota State Colleges and Universities system also employs Desire2Learn and has had difficulties making D2L work for them. Other colleges and universities have tried to find better options to use instead of the D2L.

Since its implementation in 2008, The college has paid D2L, Inc. $1.1 million, according to the college contract.

The College renewed the D2L contract on Sept. 1, 2011. The contract runs through Aug. 31, 2016, with an option to continue through Aug. 31, 2021.

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