How to Promote Changes in D2L

Over the last few weeks, I’ve been making the rounds talking about Grades, Daylight and the upcoming changes to email.  During these talks, I’m often asked about other topics and other tools are likely to change.  To respond to any such question, I have to first determine if the issue is able to be handled locally, at the CCCS level or at the D2L level.  So, I figured I’d give you a few examples of each and how change is influenced.

Local Changes

These are the changes PPCC controls and eLearning implements.  Examples of these changes are the colors, navigation, homepage layout and specific permissions.  One of the great things about D2L is the precision at which we can adjust it to meet the needs of each organization.  So, if CCCOnline wants a green color with permissions to prevent their all-adjunct and all online instructors from deleting items, they can do that.  Meanwhile, PPCC can stay with the red scheme and allow their diverse faculty more flexibility.

To enact change at this level, please talk to eLearning and your academic leadership.  Whole we try to limit the big changes to May, often times we will adjust to the needs of our users on the fly.  If it meets the needs and regulations of PPCC, we can implement these changes here without going any further.

CCCS Changes

Most of the time, these changes are related to the connection to Banner.  For example the titles and dates of the courses follow CCCS standards.  So, when CCD wanted to make bulk changes to the Start Date of courses in D2L, they had to work through CCCS-IT to get this change implemented.  (It was changed and now all system colleges has more flexibility in Start/End Dates in D2L.) We have some say in how CCCS-IT operates, but we are only 1 of 14 (13 colleges and CCCOnline) voices at the table.  Most of the time, this runs through the Vice Presidents.

To enact change at this level, we need to convince a Vice President to sponsor the change and have them convince the system it’s a good idea.  Honestly, I’d still work through eLearning and your academic leadership to gain grassroots support before moving forward to a VP.  Unfortunately, many times the issue here is Banner and no LMS administrator, Dean or VP can change Banner.

D2L Changes

These are core changes to code.  The one thing to remember here is, D2L is a multi-national company with literally millions of users from K-12 to higher-ed to governments.  They are going to design the tool to fit the best needs of most of their users.

For example, one change I get asked at least once a month is connecting Attendance to Grades.  Unfortunately, this is not on D2L’s roadmap, even after now almost 5 years of asking.  Why? My guess is, it’s not on the radar of enough clients.  K-12 users probably have other tools for attendance and 4-year schools and government clients probably don’t use attendance at all.  So, here we are in the middle with an idea going nowhere.  Unfortunately, this is the nature of any large piece of software like an LMS.

So, how do we influence change in D2L’s code?  Well, the way they tell me is the Product Idea Exchange (PIE).  You are welcome to register, give new ideas and vote on others’ ideas.  Just know in my 8 years working with D2L, I’ve personally only had two ideas adopted (closed eye in grades and final grades released by default).  I jokingly call it “where good ideas go to die”.

The good news is, if the stars align and others like your idea, it can be done.  For example, below is a video going over the changes for March which include some great features which I’ll explain in a later post.  (Note the number of PIE items implemented.)

 

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