Dec. 16, 2013

Desire2Learn to replace Blackboard as university's new learning management system

Four faculties to use Desire2Learn for all Winter 2014 courses
Interface of the new program, Desire2Learn.

Interface of the new program, Desire2Learn.

Desire2Learn (D2L) is a modern and robust learning management system set to completely replace Blackboard by May 31, 2014. 

This past semester, 40 courses from a variety of disciplines were successfully piloted in the D2L environment.  According to a survey of pilot participants, both faculty and students were impressed with the new system, preferring D2L over Blackboard.

University leadership is also impressed with the tool, and believes its intuitive and robust design will please the university community. “Desire2Learn is an industry-leading learning management system that is designed to work well with any computer operating system and modern web browser,” says Mike Rannelli, interim chief information officer. “The D2L interface is optimized for use on mobile devices, which is a major improvement over our previous system and will undoubtedly please our tech savvy students.”

Although full D2L implementation will not be completed until late spring, the Werklund School of Education and the faculties of science, social work, and veterinary medicine have agreed to participate in the second phase of the pilot, and will be using D2L for all Winter 2014 courses. 

Other faculties, including the Haskayne School of Business, Kinesiology and the Schulich School of Engineering will have a few courses in the Desire2Learn environment, with all others remaining in Blackboard.

Throughout this transition period, students may be required to use both learning management platforms. “We recognize it may be frustrating for students who have to switch between platforms, but we want to assure everyone that this is only temporary as all courses are scheduled to be in D2L by the spring,” says Lynn Taylor, Vice-Provost (Teaching and Learning). “We appreciate the university community’s understanding during this period of transition and hope our students and instructors will benefit from the many advantages D2L offers.”

Beginning in January, Desire2Learn will be accessible in two ways: from the myUofC portal, students and instructors will find the link to D2L underneath the Academic tab, and staff will be able to locate the link under My work; D2L can also be accessed directly by going to   

Full Desire2Learn implementation will be completed by May 31, 2014, at which time Blackboard will no longer be available. All credited and non-credited courses will be in Desire2Learn and past Blackboard courses will be archived.

For more information on the D2L project, including support documentation for instructors and students, visit