What do you like best?
I've used Blackboard, Moodle, and D2L, but I much prefer D2L. It's easier to use, and it looks cleaner. I really like being able to customize the looks of my classes so that it's easier for me to tell them apart in case I click into the wrong one. (It happens.) I have very few problems with D2L, but if I ever have a question, my university has a whole team that's dedicated to helping faculty with our D2L sites. I feel supported both by D2L and my university. In fact, my university has even offered extensive D2L training as part of an online teaching training program. 6) It would be great if students could download assignment deadline to their iCalendars.
What do you dislike?
I have a few items for my wish list: 1) I would love to have a D2L smartphone app. If there is one, it doesn't come up in my search. It would be even better if it were part of my university's app. 2) I wish that I could set up my "News" announcements so that students would get automatic emails every time I post an update or reminder. I know that they can subscribe, but try getting them to do that! As it is now, I send an email out to my class. Then, I copy and paste the content of the email into a "News" announcement so that it sticks to the homepage of my class. That's double the effort. 3) I loathe accepting late work from my students, but I've been urged to do so. Thus, I have dropboxes set up for the paper assignments, and I have late dropboxes set up for the same assignments as well. I wish I could have both dropboxes linked to the same grade column in the "Grades" area of my D2L site. 4) I wish I could merge files in the "Manage Files" area. Also, I wish I could see what the files are without downloading them. For example, I've uploaded a few creative commons images that have nonsensical file names. Yes, I should've just named them properly before I uploaded them, but it would still be nice to be able to see what items are before I download or delate them. 5) I wish I could create a test bank of questions and that my students could take a quiz that draws randomly from this pool, not just in terms of the order of the questions or the order of the multiple choice answers, but also in terms of the questions themselves. For example, I'd like to create a test bank of 50 questions, and I would my students to take a quiz that would feed them 10 of these questions randomly. I would like the questions to be presented to them in a random order, and I would like the multiple choice answers to be presented to them in random orders as well. In other words, I would like each student's quiz to be unique so that they can't share their answers so easily with each other. Part of the benefit of D2L is that it helps minimize and catch breaches of academic integrity.
Recommendations to others considering the product
D2L is only slightly more challenging to use than Facebook and YouTube. It's pretty intuitive, and it's very customizable. Take the time to play around with it. There are so many ways to use this tool to organize course content, make content attractive, and streamline assignments to minimize the impact grading has on our own time.
What business problems are you solving with the product? What benefits have you realized?
I don't solve "business problems" with D2L Brightspace. I'm an adjunct instructor at a private university. I didn't teach in the days before learning management systems, but I can't imagine teaching without them. Some of the things I love about D2L is having my students submit their papers by a specific deadline. They can't try to tell me that they submitted their paper if it's not in the dropbox. They can't say that they met the deadline if the dropbox is closed either. I also love the interface with Turnitin. What a fantastic tool! Overall, I'm a big fan of D2L. P.S. I didn't realize that D2L was D2L Brightspace. I don't see the "Brightspace" part of the brand when I log in from a computer, but I see that part of the brand when I log in via my smartphone.