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MSU chooses Desire2Learn to replace ANGEL in 2013

August 2, 2012

After many technical difficulties, lost homework assignments, complaints and deliberation, MSU announced Tuesday the selection of Desire2Learn, or D2L, as the university’s new online learning management system, or LMS.

Blackboard’s purchase of the company that built ANGEL in 2009 was the push for MSU to officially start looking for a new LMS, Brendan Guenther, director of teaching and learning support teams in MSU Information Technology, said.

MSU considered proposals from two systems to potentially replace ANGEL: Blackboard and D2L.
The LMS Futures Committee, consisting of spokespeople from each college and Libraries and IT Services, along with faculty and student input, considered both systems before making the final decision this summer.

“These are two really good options,” Guenther said. “The differentiation came from the majority of faculty choosing one over the other.”

Guenther said D2L will be able to solve the issues and complaints people have with ANGEL, including better mobile access for smartphone users and compatibility with more web browsers.

Fisheries and wildlife and zoology senior Gina Sellinger spent the spring 2012 semester in Australia on an exchange program where she used D2L for her schoolwork.

Sellinger said she found D2L to be simple and easy to navigate, and she did not have any problems with it.

“I was partial to ANGEL because I used it longer,” Sellinger said. “If I got the chance to get used to (D2L) and used it longer, I would like D2L more.”

Sellinger said D2L was more visually appealing than ANGEL, but overall the two sites were very similar.

Guenther said the site will be both easy and sophisticated, catering to professors with large or small classes.

“We hope faculty find it easy to use and therefore use it in the way students want,” Guenther said.

Guenther said some of the other features D2L has is a one-stop shop for all course materials, simplified navigation and a better calendar.

D2L will be available at the end of the fall 2012 semester, but Guenther said he does not expect professors to switch until the spring 2013 semester, with ANGEL being available until spring 2015.

“Professors will switch when they are comfortable,” Guenther said. “Some students will have courses on both (sites).”

Alumna Alyssa Vennard said having classes simultaneously on both systems would be confusing, but she understands why it has to be that way.

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