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Thursday, 28 August 2014 15:19

Victoria University eyes big data with new learning platform

D2L's John Baker at the Ignite Conference, held in Melbourne earlier this week D2L's John Baker at the Ignite Conference, held in Melbourne earlier this week

Melbourne's Victoria University has switched on its new learning management platform, Brightspace, to 40,000 students across both TAFE and higher education.

VU, which has campuses in Melbourne’s west and the CBD, as well as a campus in Sydney and several offshore partner sites in Asia, put out a tender in 2011 for a new learning management system.

It ended up choosing Brightspace - a learning platform from US-based education tech firm Desire2Learn.

Dr Lisa Germany, Associate Director of Blended Learning at VU, said the old system was limited in the learning opportunities it afforded students and teaching staff.

“With a user-friendly interface, comprehensive course design capabilities, extensive reporting, assessment and collaboration options, the Brightspace platform was the right fit and closely aligned with our strategic development goals,” Germany said.

“We wanted to revitalise our e-learning environment so it could support our Blended Learning Strategy, and we felt D2L would allow us to do this with its modern, inviting and fully-featured platform.

“A big component of our Blended Learning Strategy is to be able to support our students effectively and the learning analytics within D2L was a big draw card. We are entering the era of big data and if you don’t have a system that offers opportunities to drill down and learn about your students, then you’re doing them a disservice.”

Germany said VU is now well-positioned to create a "more pervasive and personalised learning experience for students" through new features it can utlilise like D2L ePortfolio, content repository, analytics and mobile applications.

“The ePortfolio mobile app will help our students capture evidence of their learning, as many of them spend quite a lot of time out in the workplace as part of their studies,” Germany said. “Students will be able to showcase achievements and milestones related to their work experience from their mobile D2L ePortfolio app.”

Peter Kokkinos, Asia Pacific Sales Director at D2L, said an ILP is vital for universities experiencing major changes as a result of the Federal Government’s planned deregulation of the higher education sector.

“Having real-time analytics offers actionable insights on student progress and engagement levels, enabling teaching staff to determine strategies to further personalise the support for a student’s journey,” he said.

“This plays a pivotal role in increasing student retention and completion rates to ensure continual funding.”

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