A strong front-runner out of the gate
In La Cité’s evaluation of new learning management systems, the Brightspace platform emerged as a promising candidate. In addition to the solution having the robust functionality La Cité was seeking, the D2L team also demonstrated a willingness to partner with the educational institution and tailor the solution specifically to fit La Cité’s needs. “Brightspace was already the premium solution by far, but in practice, it has far exceeded our expectations,” says Singh. “It was also the right timing within the institution. Brightspace was relevant, fit within our vision at the college, and we had the team in place internally to see the implementation through to a successful conclusion.”
Identify at-risk students
As a key part of the Brightspace implementation, La Cité custom-developed a system called ‘Savoir’ (the French term for ‘knowledge’) using D2L Valence
, D2L’s extensibility technology. Valence provides all the APIs, client libraries and tools developers need to create value on top of the Brightspace platform.
Savoir is a student success system that gathers qualitative insights from faculty captured through an instructor’s face-to-face interactions and observations in the classroom. Savoir then couples this information with data from the student’s interactions with learning material to quickly identify students at risk. As early as week three in a term, and then again at week six, faculty provide feedback to students via the Gradebook tool using familiar red, green, and yellow status indicators. Feedback is based on qualitative observations by faculty members and can be captured much earlier than more traditional quantitative quiz-based insights.
“One of the big takeaways for us from the Brightspace/Savoir implementation was the vital importance of feedback to the learning experience,” says Singh. “We absolutely learned through this process that if we want to identify students at risk, the best people to provide subjective information about student engagement are the teachers who are in front of them in the classroom. It’s more than just test scores.”
Feedback is critical to learning success
Now, using D2L Valence, La Cité is able to draw faculty feedback and observations from the Gradebook
tool into the student portal, presenting each student with their own individualized report card in real-time. “Students are excited about this progress meter. They are talking about the system and really care about their performance,” says Singh.
Students are also discovering they can use the Brightspace platform to extend their learning experience beyond the face-to-face teaching they receive in the classroom. “We can see students going into the system and into courses at different times of the day. It opens up new possibilities for learning. The students are leveraging the LMS on their terms to enhance their learning experiences,” says Singh.