Jeff describes the transition to Brightspace as “instantly upgrading from a 2002 Cadillac to a 2016 Lexus,” over the previous LMS. He credits the Implementation Services team at D2L with being an integral part of ensuring that upgrade ran smoothly. In fact, those quick wins and the ease of working together allowed the Saint Leo team to focus on the other tools included in the system and ensure they would work just as effectively.
About four months before beta testing and eight months prior to full launch, Saint Leo hosted a vendor summit where all desired platform representatives came to campus. Jeff describes, “We locked them in a room and made them promise to come out only when we had one system, one experience. D2L helped lead the charge and within 24 hours had already integrated with our most promising on-ground tool, MeTL.” Saint Leo would use the MeTL technology as a digital whiteboard with powerful analytics.
During the fall, Saint Leo added in the other tools, all of which are white-labeled to students. This put the finishing touches on the infrastructure of the ecosystem that is Lions SHARE. Including Social, Courses, Whiteboard, Folio, and Productivity, Lions SHARE went live for all 15,000 students in January 2017.
For the first time, Saint Leo students can instantly connect to other students and faculty at any of the school’s locations, in 44 centers or fully online from around the world.
Almost instantly, students were impressed with the new system. Some students have posted that they never felt connected to the students outside of their courses before, actually thanking Saint Leo for the move.
Another immediate benefit was a mobile experience. Lions SHARE now has an app for the social component as well as leveraging Brightspace Pulse to give its students access to their courses, making it far more in line with how many students today want to learn. When they took courses at other schools, the students couldn’t access materials in the middle of the night or on a train. Now, Saint Leo doesn’t have to stand in the way of students looking to learn anywhere, anytime.
Finally, students are also being supported 24 hours a day, seven days a week throughout the whole platform. Through email, phone, or live chat, students can get help with any of the diverse parts of Lions SHARE, allowing them to quickly resolve any issues and get back to learning. Through D2L, students’ needs are met by a single helpdesk, only receiving warm transfers if a student needs to speak with a Saint Leo representative. According to Saint Leo, with a current 95% first call resolution rate, faculty and students have never felt so supported.
Saint Leo is looking forward to the flexibility that this new ecosystem has added for both its teachers and students. Jeff has ambitious goals for Lions SHARE. He says, “We think we will be able to create a kind of learning environment that students won’t get in most other places.”
Jeff says he’s never been one of those people who says, “If we could only save one student, it’s worth it.” While that sounds nice, it doesn’t result in a particularly impactful school. Instead, Jeff notes, “what we’re doing here is savings a truckload of ‘one-students.’” And it’s all because when the school was faced with a challenge, it decided to think differently. Saint Leo connected learners to one another, to educational experiences, and ultimately to success.
Saint Leo received honorable mention at the 2017 Learning Impact Awards.
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