Monday, October 27, 2008

Student rips Learn@UW (D2L)....or does he?

Last week, one of UW's student newspapers ran an op-ed from a student titled "Learn@UW Unworthy of a Learned Man".

It included the following zingers that caused me to simultaneously wince and chuckle (in agreement):
"The profile section tries to emulate Facebook, and it's almost creepy."

"For me, I know I want to sign off Learn@UW as soon as I log in."

"...every time I sign on Learn@UW a piece of me dies."

"I would rather spend more time learning at UW and less time Learn@UW-ing."
But when I really listened to what the student was saying, he was lamenting instructors' lack of use or ineffective use of the system. Some of his comments mirror what we have heard from students through surveys and focus groups:
"I only have three out of my six classes that make use of the would-be wonderful online grade and announcement portal."

"The program would be infinitely more effective if all classes were mandated to use it..."

Three out of six classes use Learn@UW? Generally, that's at or above average--something people like me celebrate! If this student is typical, then our students have high expectations for their instructors.

I was able to glean a few useful nuggets from this article: students could really use the course widget that shows updates (we've been told to disable it for performance reasons) and we might not be able to expect students to complete their profile (photo, interests, etc.).

I'm also heartened to know that for one student at least, this learning tool has the potential to be so much more valuable. That's something we can work on.

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