D2L vs a Class Website

Desire2Learn-LogoAfter seeing Rob Dunlop speak on two different occasions, it was clear to me that using his “Three Pronged Approach” to using D2L offered significant benefits over simply using a classroom website. Having a blog or information website is a great way to communicate with parents and students, but by using D2L, teachers can transform and improve their teaching practice.


Both at the TELTC/DeLC Face to Face meetings and at Connect 2016 (in Niagara Falls, On.), Rob spoke about the power of using D2L as more than an information tool. His three pronged approach includes using D2L for:

  1. Information
  2. Presentation
  3. Navigation

First, D2L can do all the things a normal website can do. Teachers can post important information for parents and students that they can access 24 hours a day. However, D2L is more secure than just an information website as students/parents must log in to see the content. As Rob puts it, “D2L is so secure, that even your principal cannot see your course. You have to enrol your principal in the class in order for him/her to see the information.”

Secondly, teachers can do away with PowerPoint files, SMART Notes, Video files, etc. Instead, they can put everything online, right into the course. Whether you post your presentation information right into the newsfeed or create content pages in modules, your presentations will be stored in the cloud – right in your course. This has two advantages: one, you can work on your presentations from anywhere, and two, your students can access your presentations anytime for pre-learning (before a class) or review (after a class). Rob made a great point, “How many times did I show an amazing video in class, but it was in my PowerPoint, and the students would never see it again without some aggressive searching.”

Screen Shot 2016-04-29 at 5.28.35 PMFinally, Rob talked about using D2L for navigation. When everything is in the VLE (Virtual Learning Environment – D2L), you can create navigation for the students to follow. Your instructions can be written right into the daily activity, and students can follow at their own pace. No longer do you have to stand in the middle of a computer lab yelling our instructions … slowly… so that everyone is at the same place. You can write your instructions into the lesson online and students can work at their own pace. “This frees up your time and you can then bring students to your desk and have meaningful conversations and assessments with them individually,” Rob notes.

It was clear to me that Rob’s three pronged approach to using D2L was something that could help improve teaching practice. When you add D2L as a powerful discussion tool and an dropbox/assessment tool, you now have five points that differentiate D2L or any other VLE from your standard, run of the mill, teacher website. Thanks Rob.