Online learning that is feature-rich
INTO had already embarked upon a selection process to find a new out-of-the-box LMS that would support thousands of users worldwide and be intuitive to use. This process had revealed D2L’s feature-rich Brightspace platform to be the best fit. Now, the teams had to work together to implement the solution and equip teaching staff within a matter of weeks.
“Brightspace already ticked the boxes for scalability, reliability and accessibility. Now, we were asking to accelerate implementation,” says Mike. “The team was very responsive, working with us to understand the experience of students accessing the platform from all parts of the world and putting us in touch with other customers who had knowledge of this area too. It was reassuring to see the team’s commitment to ensuring every student has the same quality experience.”
From an initial engagement with D2L in March 2020, four online courses were developed by June – an implementation of under eight weeks. Around 1,000 students participated in the summer courses for English language learning, with a further cohort following soon after in September.
“As the Brightspace platform is SCORM compliant, it gives us the flexibility in how we author, build and manage our content. It allows us to offer our students high quality interactive online content and offers additional means to track student performance integrated into Brightspace’s platform data tracking,” says Grainne O’Neil, INTO’s Director for Learning Solutions.
Running alongside the technical and administrative implementation was a significant programme of training and support for educators and staff. Four D2L-led sessions prepared INTO’s learning solutions team who then trained educators on preparing and delivering courses through D2L Brightspace.
On the lead up to delivery and for the month thereafter, Learning Solutions delivered 77 training sessions to 1200 educators. “We continue to run our monthly training programmes to upskill our educators and staff on using technology to deliver our programmes,” says Grainne.
“We worked collaboratively with our university partners on an upskilling approach,” says Sarah. “Initially addressing key priorities such as how to teach an online class, how to check student engagement, how to add content. Then we built on that knowledge.”
Live, as well as asynchronous, classes were subsequently taught through the platform which also housed content for students to pre-read in preparation for the taught sessions. Quizzes and discussions were also used to check student understanding and promote collaboration and engagement. All the while, notifications kept students on track.
“Students found deadline reminders one of the most useful features,” adds Sarah. “We use as many features as we can to enable students to engage more with their studies and we do lots of training on different techniques.”
INTO expanded its expertise by employing learning technologists to work alongside staff to ensure an excellent grounding in the pedagogy of online teaching and learning. A centralised support system, resembling a virtual reception, was also developed by INTO and linked to the platform to maximise levels of student support. This housed a knowledge base on the functions and services of a university and provided access to a support worker and live chat service where students could raise issues and get help.