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Learning Management System

OpenClass - Google/Pearson Free LMS


There is another shakeup in the LMS (Learning Management System) community taking place - Google and Pearson have joined forces to launch OpenClass, a free LMS. Whilst there is already a free (open source LMS) with Moodle, the collaboration between Google and Pearson is definitely going to be attractive to some. Google will be launching via Google Apps for Educators later, but in the meantime you can find out more here.


Blackboard could be purchased

Inside Higher Ed (and others) are reporting that that Blackboard (the Learning Management System that DePaul used prior to Desire2Learn) has received offers to be purchased. Obviously this has ramifications for current Blackboard/Angel clients.

Grading in Desire2Learn

A couple of D2L grading questions are coming through this week. These videos and handouts should be of help:

Calculating Final Grades

Adjusting Grades

More information (and handouts) can be found here.


Desire2Learn Upgrade

DePaul’s Learning Management System (Desire2Learn, otherwise known as D2L) was upgraded to a newer version. FITS has sent out notification of the upgrades new enhancements (which I repeat here):

Email Notifications from Discussions
For those of you who missed this feature from Blackboard you will be excited to know that you can now subscribe to discussions in D2L and get new notifications sent directly to your email.


To enable, simply click Subscribe to Topic after clicking on a topic heading. As an added convenience you get to decide how often you receive notification – e.g. once a day, upon posting, etc.

Course Names not Numbers
DePaul heard from many faculty that course numbers were confusing and hard to navigate so a change was made to show the PeopleSoft Course name on the My Homepage. For example, an accounting professor will now see Financial Accounting as their course offering name instead of Accounting 500. Course numbers and course names will now appear inside the course as part of the Default Navigation (see below for an example).


Attendance Tool
Need a convenient way to keep attendance for your class? The Attendance tool is now easily accessible in D2L. Use of this tool allows you to keep track of students who are present, absent, excused or late. Teaching Commons has more information on how to use the tool.

New Navigation Bars Available
DePaul has
listened to feedback and have heard from faculty and staff that the default course navigation includes more links than they really need or not the ones that they want. To make things easier faculty can now pick from 2 additional navigation bars shared from the University.

  1. Basic Navigation Bar: The basic navigation bar comes populated with links to Content, Classlist, Grades, and Attendance
  2. Collaboration Navigation Bar: This navigation bar comes populated with all the links in the Course Default as well as links to Chat and Groups for those instructors wanting to integrate collaborative tools in their classes

To use either of these navigation bars (in place of the Course Default), click on Edit Course and then Navigation and then Change. For more information about Navigation bars, including how to make your own, can be found here.

When you are ready for your students to view your course content, please remember to make your course active so your students have access to it. Here is a link to the documentation on making your course active.

For those of you working on building your course, there are a number of open labs scheduled on both the Loop and Lincoln Park campuses. These labs are a fantastic way to build your course with support. Simply reserve your spot and bring your course materials (and questions) and get help from one of the FITS trainers. Additional training sessions on Collaboration, Quizzes, Assessments and Personalization have also been scheduled. For dates and times as well as registration information please go here.

And don’t forget that print documentation and video tutorials can be found here. In particular you may find the Desire2Learn: Short, Short Version a good starting place.


Desire2Learn Official Announcement

Academic Affairs has just sent an e-mail to all faculty and staff, alerting them to the Desire2Learn migration. The text of the message is copied below:

This year we are very excited to introduce you to Desire2Learn - a new online learning management system that will enrich student learning and enhance your teaching efficiency.

This fall more than 100 faculty members from all of DePaul's colleges and schools are piloting Desire2Learn. This pilot program will help ensure that training classes and materials are well developed, support services are working well, and integration of the new system with PeopleSoft is running smoothly.

Desire2Learn can be found at and will replace Blackboard at DePaul beginning in December 2010. Faculty and staff who are currently using COL Web will not be required to change for winter quarter, but will have the option to use Desire2Learn if they prefer.

Desire2Learn was selected via a thorough review process, led by faculty and staff at DePaul. You can read more on the selection process at

In order to better assist you during the transition, the Instructional Design and Development (IDD) unit has been reorganized into the new Faculty Instructional Technology Services (FITS). Training and assistance for Desire2Learn will be provided by FITS. We invite you to visit the FITS webpage at to enroll in training.

Documents and course files from the 2009-2010 academic year have been copied to Desire2Learn from Blackboard, in order to assist you in building your courses. Desire2Learn training classes demonstrate how to re-structure your documents and course files in preparation for teaching your class. Migration of any course content from academic years prior to 2009-10 can be requested at

To learn more about our transition to Desire2Learn and for information regarding other teaching support resources please visit Your students will receive a separate communication regarding this transition. Information on student training can be found at

Academic Affairs

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