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The Daily Wildcat

The Daily Wildcat

 

Our love-hate relationship with D2L

As the new semester comes into full swing, the amount of schoolwork at the UA is quickly piling up. Numerous assignments include worksheets, lab reports, group projects, reading tests, a few exams — and everyone’s favorite  D2L quizzes. We love to complain about the annoying deadlines and the slow streaming videos, but instead of whining about the site, UA students should appreciate D2L for what it is: a huge asset to students, faculty, the earth and our budgets.

Alright, so the name “”Desire 2 Learn”” is pretty tacky — and taking tests online isn’t exactly fun. Similarly, some users may complain of downtime or lag, but there’s more to D2L than meets the eye. Love it or hate it, D2L is actually helping many UA students save money. And, although doing classwork online can be tedious, D2L’s many features are more beneficial than we realize.

As UA’s D2L help site, help.d2l.arizona.edu, describes D2L as an online course management system for university students and instructors. Its purpose is to “”allow

‘anytime, anywhere’ access to syllabi, readings, multi-media files, electronic dropboxes, online quizzes, email, grading, student progress reports, project files, etc.””

Of course, nothing is perfect. D2L’s site has resources — such as tip sheets and 24/7 tech support — for the occasional instances in which links don’t work right or the server lags because it’s overloaded. But these slight inconveniences aren’t serious enough to override the benefits.

Sharon Osofsky, a history major, explains, “”My honors class has no books. They just put everything online.””

Osofsky isn’t the only one who got a lucky break. Katie Stavoe, a psychology freshman, agrees that several of her classes post articles as PDFs instead of requiring students to buy the books. Across campus, other students are getting this same benefit, which can potentially avert hundreds of dollars worth of expensive textbook costs.

Students and teachers alike should realize the practicality of posting resources on the system. In 2007, UA’s Learning Technology blog did a report about D2L’s usefulness. In the article, Dr. Jennifer Roth-Gordon said, “”It’s nice to be able to offer students the ability to access readings whenever and wherever they want … [It] saves time and money.””

That’s just another benefit of having class content and resources online instead of in a conventional book. Students can view their work, notes and texts at any place, at any time. It’s easy to access and easy to navigate — so much so that many students praise D2L because of its simple organization. Stavoe, in particular, mentioned that D2L is one place where it’s easy to find everything.

“”I think it’s great,”” Osofsky agreed. She also added that D2L’s numerous features have been convenient to her in other ways. “”I don’t have to take notes,”” Osofsky says, referencing the way many teachers post their lecture slides on the Web site. Some professors even post podcasts for their classes and use D2L to e-mail students, reminding them of upcoming assignments and events. Being able to utilize so many features in one accessible place is truly helpful to everyone involved.

Altogether, D2L is a multifaceted system which can help students in their learning. Although the site isn’t perfect, it offers a variety of resources to students and teachers alike. It’s an added benefit that the site can save us hundreds of dollars’ worth in textbook fees — and thus, could be the future alternative to spending money on costly books.

 

—Miranda Butler is a creative writing sophomore. She can be reached at letters@wildcat.arizona.edu.

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