D2L Brightspace now has an app you can use on your mobile device: D2L Brightspace Pulse. The app came out a couple of years ago, but the university didn’t have access to it until this past summer.
The new app has both advantages and disadvantages. John Bayerl is an instructional technologist in charge of D2L on campus for IT solutions. The app is lacking, but still has conveniences.
“I’ve still been playing around with the app myself recently,” Bayerl said, “and it seems like we’re missing some of the functionality that’s normally within D2L. But it should allow you to more quickly access some more pertinent materials on D2L right on your phone.”
The missing pieces within the app are the reason why a lot of people might not know about it.
“We’re not currently pushing it out too much right now because of the lack of functionality there that we’re still trying to identify,” said Bayerl.
Bayerl explained which pieces of the app are missing, as compared to what you can access on D2L on your desktop.
“On D2L itself, you may see your homepage having announcements, some links down below to resources you may need as a student or as an instructor,” he said. “They aren’t there on the mobile app; it’s just all the courses you have access to.”
The format of D2L on the app will look less like you would see it on your desktop and more similar to how you would see it if you logged into D2L on your phone.
“I think it’s incredibly easy to navigate. It’s just that a few things are missing here and there,” Bayerl said.
Despite the lack of functionality, there are still advantages to using the app. One convenience of the app is the accessible calendar.
“You have a nice link to your full calendar for all of your courses,” Bayerl said. “That’s pretty great, to be able to see everything you have to do. You’d have to go into each one of your courses on the website to be able to see that.”
D2L has an instant messaging feature, which shows up on the app. Discussion threads will also appear on the app.
You can also get notifications on your phone from the app, telling you when assignments are due or when you have received a grade on your homework.
“It’s easy to see your notifications for anything that is newsworthy in each of your courses,” Bayerl said. “But I’m not sure if the announcements globally are actually showing up on [t]here.”
One major convenience of the app is that you don’t have to log in every time you need to use D2L. You can just select the app and you’re in. It will not automatically log you out like it would on a computer.
The app displays the content of the course right away rather than showing announcements on the first page.
“There’s no way while you’re viewing this stuff to go right over to your grade book to see the quiz you’ve gotta do [or] see the assignments you have to submit—it’s just the content,” Bayerl said. “If your instructor, for instance, didn’t have your quiz listed within the content section, you wouldn’t be able to see it.”
The purpose of this app is to help students navigate their classes more easily and succeed in school. Bayerl hopes that the functionality of the app will improve, so that the app will be more convenient for students.
“I have to have talks with D2L about it within the next week and see if we’re missing some stuff that we should be getting already,” he said.
Unfortunately, after following up a week later, Bayerl said, “Nothing has changed on the app and it looks like it is going to take some time before we might even be able to change anything.”