For the past 3 months, I had the opportunity to work a co-op term at my university working on upgrading our learning management system from Moodle to the D2L system Brightspace. My background comes from Social Sciences and my knowledge of computer science is very limited. But with my major in Political Science and minor in Technology and Society and through HASTAC, my research has been focused on digital pedagogy and expanding research on digital immigrants. From my work at UVIC, I have noticed some major benefits in expanding digital pedagogy for this new learning management system especially for students using this platform.
User interface navigation on Brightspace is far more superior to alternative learning management systems. Users are able to use the navigation bar to easily access essential tools like Grades, Quizzes, Content, etc. from the widgets on the top on the screen. Students are able to access discussions, assignments, and quizzes from the course content as well as from these widgets as opposed to keeping all of these in course content alone.
Instructors are able to view class activity, it may become overwhelming for students to track of assignments and remember to login into their schools LMS. Instructors are able to send out automated reminders to students have not viewed the course content recently to ensure they stay on track. Students also can receive frequent notifications on important content not viewed yet or not yet submitted without instructors having to constantly update students.
Brightspace allows for instructors to directly upload audio and video files, as well as embed YouTube videos on Brightspace. This allows for a better experience with online learning as students are directly able to view content on the LMS and has less obstacles for instructors in achieving the best possible solution. Brightspace also offered Kaltura, where instructors are able to upload videos, this is especially beneficial when uploaded Zoom recordings for students unable to attend class or upload pre-existing videos and embed quizzes throughout their videos. This enables instructors to monitor students’ progress, take in class quizzes, and allows for an interactive learning experience similar to offline learning and students are able to find classroom videos in one tool.
Brightspace has also adopted having Zoom installed into Brightspace, this sets scheduled classes so that students can keep track of scheduled classes. Instructors are also able to add Alternative hosts, like Teaching Assistants to lead classes or tutorials for Zoom sessions.
While there are a plethora of learning management systems available for post-secondary education and my experience is limited to Brightspace and Moodle. Brightspace clearly allows for superior synchronous and asynchronous learning for the new digital learning experience. Adapting to digital learning is difficult but Brightspace allows for an interactive experience for students. As we dive into this rapid transformation in digital pedagogy, we await what other improvements other learning management systems have in store.