Desire2Learn: Achieving Learning Objectives & Engaging Students at CU-Boulder

Desire2Learn: Achieving Learning Objectives & Engaging Students at CU-Boulder

January 15, 2020 0 By Stanley Isaacs


I was one of the early adapters of D2L and I’ve been a practiced faculty member using it all the way
along, and keep learning things about it that
make it even more desirable to me. So much of what’s happening in the
performing arts involves technology nowadays. It’s crucial to me that students learn
how to interact with it effectively. What I use D2L for, what I
think it’s power really is, is that I can make the course easy for them, and I can give them tools, and
I can basically arrange where I want them to see things in the course. One of my big goals is to give them
skills for reading, understanding, viewing, interpreting
Shakespeare and drama after they leave CU-Boulder. So I try
to incorporate their extremely high level a visual literacy with how better to read and understand visual texts as not just
entertainment but as also documents that are going to enhance their lives. I have had comments from students where
they say, “It’s nice that everything is on the D2L page. I know that I can go there and find
all the lectures, or I can go there and find when things are due.” Um, so definitely the organization
aspect of D2L is nice because the students um, appreciate that they can, you know,
kind of find out where all the aspects to the course are, and what things are coming up. Things like Google Docs and Sign Up Genius I can incorporate into D2L so the student
doesn’t have to leave the D2L website. Everything is loaded right in there for
them to see. In fact, Google Docs, I think, will even
appear directly on the D2L screen, so they don’t have to go anywhere at all.
Um, and that’s been really handy for me to keep everything
consolidated into one nice neat package for each class that I teach. Most people have come to loathe and fear final exams. I have taken that away. We do not have final exams in this
course anymore. We have the final project, and what the
students do is in groups of five or more, make a
three to five minute Shakespeare video. And, they have to work with three to- at least five students
enrolled in the course with the same recitation leader, and they can include their parents, their
friends, casual passersby on the Boulder campus central lawn. One student even made her video with
vegetables one summer when she did Titus Andronicus and killed off the
vegetables one by one, and the serious side of doing all of this
is they now write a reflection about why they made the choices that they did.
They put those reflections in the Dropbox and in discussion forums. They have to read each other’s
reflections in D2L, and they have to comment on
each other’s reflections on why they made the choices
they did. Imagine how impossible that would be in the classroom, or trying to do it on paper. This is why a learning management system
like D2L exists. From my point of view, it
facilitates what we’re doing. It doesn’t replace anything. It enhances what I’ve done all along, and it’s made this excitement and thrill about
studying Shakespeare come to a head at the end of the
semester, instead of students sitting there grousing about three hour exams. “Oh I got three exams today, blah blah blah.” This is fun.