UW-ACE replaced by LEARN in January 2012

Don't Panic imageDon’t Panic.

Wise counsel from the Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy as we move to a new learning management system (LMS) in the Winter 2012 term. In January 2012 UW-ACE (Angel)  will be replaced by LEARN (Desire2Learn) and all courses for the Winter 2012 term will use LEARN. To learn more about the background and why we need to change, see the LMS Selection Project site.

LEARN has all of the same basic functionality as UW-ACE including posting files, links, dropboxes, discussion boards, quizzes, surveys, teams for group projects/collaboration, grades, and more. Linda Carson from Knowledge Integration, who was one of the first instructors using LEARN, said it well “For people who are dreading having to change, think of it like a car…it’s a different make of car, but it’s still a car. There’s going to be a steering wheel, brakes and an accelerator…they’re going to be subtly different, but for all practical purposes, it will do the things you want it to do. I think it’s a better car. The quality of the ride and the handling is noticeably better.”

Instructors can either start fresh with a clean slate or have content from courses converted from UW-ACE to LEARN. With the end of term upon us, there is now 3 weeks until the university closes for the holidays. Please keep in mind:

  • courses must be requested – as with UW-ACE, courses on LEARN are not automatically created. Contact your CTE Faculty Liaison or LEARN Help (learnhelp@uwaterloo.ca) to request your course.
  • instructors who want material converted from ACE to LEARN should contact their CTE Liaison soon. Conversions can take up to one week to complete and conversions aren’t always clean. IST currently has some resources to help fix conversion issues, but time and resources are limited.
  • the university will be closed from Dec 24-Jan 2 inclusive, and only limited technical support will be available via LEARN Help (learnhelp@uwaterloo.ca).

Key Dates
December 16, 2011 – requests to convert courses from ACE to LEARN received by December 16 will be complete before the university closes on December 23.

December 21, 2011 – requests to start with a clean slate received by December 21 will be processed before the university closes on Dec 23.

Course requests received on or after December 22, 2011 will be processed, but may not be complete until January.

Training
There are introductory training sessions each week until the university closes and in January. Attending a training session is strongly recommended. See a full list of training sessions.
*   click on “Getting Started in D2L” for intro training sessions

Drop-in sessions
There are also drop-in sessions each week in EV1-242 staffed by CTE Liaisons. These are not intro training sessions, but more like “office hours” where you can show up and ask questions. View a full list of drop-in sessions.
*   click on “Drop-in Sessions for LEARN (D2L Learning Management System)”

Although time is getting tight, there’s no reason to panic, but do contact your CTE Liaison soon.

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The Centre for Teaching Excellence welcomes contributions to its blog. If you are a faculty member, staff member, or student at the University of Waterloo (or beyond!) and would like contribute a posting about some aspect of teaching or learning, please contact Mark Morton or Trevor Holmes.

Scott Anderson

As a CTE Faculty Liaison, Scott Anderson helps instructors in the Faculties of Arts and Environment integrate technology into their teaching through innovative learning activities. He also serves as guide for instructors to access other CTE resources. Prior to joining the Centre for Teaching Excellence Scott worked as a consultant primarily with environmental organizations. He received his BSc from the University of Toronto. In his spare time, Scott enjoys playing ultimate frisbee recreationally and competitively.

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