University System of Georgia

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Desire2Learn Learning Management System Helps Students Manage College Classes

Atlanta — April 16, 2013

One of the biggest challenges college students face is juggling classes, assignments and projects while getting the help and assistance needed to be sucessful academically and earn that degree.

Class organization and management is now easier for University System of Georgia students, thanks to a new online tool called the Desire2Learn (D2L) Learning Mangament System (LMS). Since the USG first began to make the technology available in May 2012, the program has rolled out to 29 USG colleges and universities.

Dr. Dee McKinney, associate professor of education and history at East Georgia State College in Swainsboro was one of the USG’s first faculty members to test D2L. “Desire2Learn was a bit more user-friendly [than the previous learning management system]. It did everything I wanted it to do… And I thought the students would like it a lot because the structure itself resembles Facebook or MySpace,” she said.

“Desire2Learn helps us in our work to increase college completion rates as part of the Complete College Georgia initiative,” said USG Vice Chancellor of Information Technology Services and Chief Information Officer Curt Carver.

“This is so because the software encourages greater student engagement and ownership of their academic experience, and we know from data that greater student involvement leads to increased success rates in terms of academic performance and ultimately graduation.”

Increasing student engagement will help the University System in efforts to graduate more students and at a lower cost to the students, their families and the taxpayers of Georgia, Carver said.

The D2L learning management system works by providing students with a centralized location on the Web to access all of their courses and materials. Faculty and students can use the system in traditional classroom settings, hybrid courses and online classes.

All students, regardless of what USG institution they attend, use the same LMS, which allows students to transfer between USG institutions without having to learn another LMS. Content on the system is acessed for free, is accessible to those with disabilities and available via mobile devices using Android and iOS operating systems.

In addition, Carver said that looking ahead, the technology has the potentional to support one of the hottest new developments in higher education: massive open online courses, or MOOCs.

D2L currently offers more than 160,000 courses to more than 314,000 students throughout the USG. D2L is hosted on the PeachNet® private cloud, which saves Georgia’s taxpayers $1.5 million annually compared to the cost for each institution to enter into contracts to host D2L separately. Licensing the software as a system also creates a savings of more than $2.2 million to the state.

The costs savings extends to other state educational agencies as well. Georgia’s other education agencies may use the same contract to provide services to their students. Gwinnett County and Colquitt County Public Schools currently uses D2L.

Desire2Learn, located in Kitchener, Ontario, Canada, provides Cloud-based (SaaS) learning solutions to learners in higher education, K-12, healthcare, government and the corporate sector. Other institutions of higher learning using D2L include The Ohio State University, San Jose State University, Pennyslvania State System of Higher Education and Southern Regional Education Board (SREB).

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