News

eCampus Gets a Makeover

news-ecampus-pg-1The eCampus learning system provided by vendor Desire2Learn, made some changes over the summer to make room for a new version with updated features and interface changes.

The new server, called Desire2Learn’s Learning Environment Version 10.0 (D2L LE v10) was put into place over the course of two days in late August. The date was chosen to refrain from troubling students and instructors who use eCampus regularly.

“Taking the system down for 24 hours during summer classes wasn’t an option.” said Wayne Elliot, Instructional Technologist and LMS (Learning Management System) Administrator of Information Management.

“Especially since meeting schedules are condensed into four, six and 12 weeks. There would be a change to the look and feel after the upgrade,” said Elliot.

The upgrade took place after faculty and Information Management members investigated LMS options and saw significant changes in D2L LE v10. It was the first major update to modernize the visual interface.
Desire2Learn has made in several years, according to Elliott.

Features of the new eCampus include that of a visually updated interface that is cleaner, sleeker and less cluttered. Elliot says that most of the changes are cosmetic and most of the underlying functionality is still there. Buttons are larger (better for navigating on a tablet device), customization options are available and the “Minibar” is a new option.

“I like the new eCampus better,” said Julia Shpliman, a senior Medical Technologies/Cytotechnologies student. “The pictures on the background make it look more casual.”

According to Elliot, the Minibar was designed to allow constant access to courses and account settings from anywhere within the system and the course selector allows you to jump from one course to another without having to go all the way back to the home. Users can “spotlight” a specific course by “pinning it,” so that it is always on top.

New to the system as well are some different types of alerts: message, updates and chatter alerts. All of these can be found under the red dot icon, which indicates newer alerts that come through. Notifications tools allow the student to get a daily email with a summary of activity or instant notifications through e-mail or SMS message (text rates apply).

The profile tool has also been updated so that the student can list their social networking sites including Twitter, Facebook, Google and LinkedIn. Always encouraged though, is to not share too much information as you may not want all of your classmates to have your phone number or address, says Elliot.

Among these changes, there are many more that await students and faculty as they warm up to eCampus this semester. Elliot has confidence and knows that there is an initial shock, but people will learn the change fast.

“Think of all the people who complained about being ‘timelined’ on Facebook,” he said, “After the initial change, people get accustomed to where the links they need are and begin to explore some of the new features.”
If students, faculty or anyone who else uses the system needs help adjusting to it, there are plenty of ways to find that assistance. A bout 100 instructors have come to 27 sessions that have already been offered (group training, drop-in course building support, and one-on-one consultation). Because of these tools, response has been good.

“They (instructors) like that additional tools have been made available,” said Elliot. “Most students seem to take interface changes pretty well, exploring and finding their way around.”

If assistance is necessary, call the help desk at anytime at 732-923- 4357 or by e-mail at helpdesk@ monmouth.edu. The office is located on the second floor of the Edison Science Building.