The classroom isn’t what it used to be. Thanks to technology, the classroom is no longer just a room.
More and more faculty members are using the internet to increase student access and student interest through the online course management system called Desire 2 Learn, or simply, D2L.
“D2L is really a supplement to the regular kind of teaching that we do,” said Prof. Lora Warner, Public and Environmental Affairs.
“The generation of students coming in now is very, very technologically savvy and so we adapt our teaching methods to some of the things that pique their interest a bit more and are more natural to their native ways of learning,” Warner added.
Here’s how D2L works:
It’s basically a website where instructors put course materials — everything from handouts, to PowerPoint slides, web links, even quizzes. Instructors can also post grades online.
“It’s really the same type of content you’re teaching, but now you’ve got the internet as another tool and this just creates more access to more learning and more information,” Warner said.
Only students in the particular class have access to the materials. The D2L website also has a place where students can hold classroom discussions online.
“Most teachers include PowerPoints they’ve used in class. They include articles that pertain to all of the discussions in class and sometimes even articles out of the direct book that they think are really good articles that they think we need to concentrate on,” said Nathan Carlton, a senior majoring in Information Sciences.
“I find that it’s more helpful when the teachers post more and more content. It’s a great learning tool when they use it in addition to all of their class materials.”
“The sky is the limit as far as how you want to use it,” said Leif Nelson, an instructional designer technologist with the Learning Technology Center.
Nelson says D2L was piloted at UW-Green Bay in 2003. One year later, 100 classes were using. This year, about 450 classes are using D2L. About half of the instructors and 90% of all students use D2L in any given semester.
“Technology isn’t introduced in education unless it serves some kind of a need. And they’re finding that students are participating more in online forums, they’re participating with each other, they’re getting more engaged. They like seeing their grades. It’s just a nice way to keep all of your materials in one place,” Nelson said.
Nelson says D2L is the tip of the iceberg when it comes to educational technology.
“As these new technologies start to emerge, you start to pluck what’s useful out of them and incorporate it into the traditional methods and then come up with a way where these new students, who are already online in so many ways, can get involved in education. You’re sort of meeting them in the middle I think,” Nelson said.
Meeting them both in the classroom and online.