Mahalia Smith | Senior Staff Writer

APSU is considering changing the online class system from Desire 2 Learn, or D2L. Proposed systems include Blackboard and Canvas. Each service, including D2L, will have open demonstrations in the MUC Ballrooms later this month.

While current students are familiar with the system, APSU has not always used D2L.

“I began teaching classes that used an online learning management system at APSU as an adjunct in the early 2000s while I was a full-time working journalist,” communications professor Amy Ritchart said. “At that time, we used the Blackboard learning management system. I believe I first used D2L Spring 2013 when I taught Writing for Electronic Media online.”

The main features of D2L include dropboxes, quizzes and discussion boards.

“D2L has many features that I believe facilitate student learning. Features I use particularly often in both my online and on-ground classes include the Dropoxes that can be linked to, the gradebook and the discussion areas,” Ritchart said.

D2L also offers the opportunity to have grades instantly available to students.

“I also appreciate the ability to grade, use rubrics and post immediate feedback in the online learning system,” Ritchart said.

Ritchart has experience with both Blackboard and Canvas.

“I have previously taught in Blackboard and D2L, as well as using the University of Phoenix online learning management system. I am currently working on my Master of Fine Arts in creative nonfiction at Murray State University where I currently use Canvas there as a graduate student.”

The All State has reported on D2L in the past, and students have not always been happy with the way the system works. Concerns about the website crashing, and unfamiliarity with the system have been issues with students over the years.

Several of the graduate degree programs at APSU are entirely online, completely dependent on D2L.

“I think one of the biggest issues with D2L is the difficulties in communicating with the professor. My biggest issue has always been the efficiency of communication on D2L and the inconsistencies between different professors,” graduate corporate communications student Will Roberts said.

Roberts said some professors do not use the D2L gradebook feature, and may choose to communicate information via email rather than D2L. Communicating with other students for group projects is also difficult, he said.

A change could bring benefits and problems to student education.

“I think the only way it would be beneficial if it would be used consistently across the board.” Roberts said. “It’s necessary because D2L is very intricate and many people, including myself, don’t know how to use it to its fullest potential.”

A committee that includes faculty members is looking into the proposed systems. Presentations for each system are as follows: Blackboard on Monday, Jan. 22, Canvas on Wednesday Jan. 24 and D2L on Friday, Jan. 26. Two presentations will be shown on each day in the MUC Ballroom from 8:30-10:30 a.m. and 1:45-3:45 p.m.

“No matter what system is chosen, it will likely be a change for APSU because systems are continually updating to include new features,” Ritchart said. “As technology continues to change, the selected system — whether D2L or another contender — will likely be different in some ways from what we use now.”


Monday, January 22, at 8:30 a.m. – 10:30 a.m.  and 1:45 p.m. – 3:45 p.m.


Wednesday, January 24, at 8:30 a.m. – 10:30 a.m.  and 1:45 p.m. – 3:45 p.m.


Friday, January 26, at 8:30 a.m. – 10:30 a.m.  and 1:45 p.m. – 3:45 p.m.

All demonstrations will be held in MUC Ballroom C.

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