Compiled Data and Interpretation
This page contains selected data from the survey responses we have received from the D2L Specific surveys. Basic interpretation of the data by the Ecat team accompanies the displays below.
Interpretation of Survey Data Circa Late March 2013:
Six complete sets of data have been collected to this point from student D2L users (semesters Spring 2010, Fall 2010, Spring 2011, Fall 2011, Spring 2012, Fall 2012) and five complete sets of data have been collected from instructor D2L users (Spring 2010, Fall 2010, Spring 2011, Spring 2012 and Spring 2013). Overall, the data collected indicates a largely positive adoption of the D2L platform. Though there are issues that need addressed for both students and instructors, in general the D2L Learning Environment (D2L LE) tool and use of the tool is acceptable to most individuals who responded to the surveys. Users indicate that they are, for the most part, aware of support mechanisms that are in place and data seems to indicate a growing comfort with the tool as individuals use it more.
There are misconceptions (see the "Complaints and Explanations" area) that the Ecat team is identifying with the help of the survey data and additional areas related to tool operability that the Ecat team is aware of and working to resolve. Ongoing faculty training, phone support and one-on-one help combined with expanded tutorial creation will continue to bolster the knowledge of instructors and students about how to use D2L LE effectively.
The Ecat team knows that it can’t necessarily do anything to change the D2L Learning Environment ITSELF but can (and do) pass on information that is gathered from these surveys to the D2L corporation in the form of requests that target specific usability issues. The D2L support team continues to actively lobby for inclusions of what are seen as necessary "fixes" and adjustments related to the learning environment in D2L’s frequent upgrade cycle.
The Ecat team is paying attention to the message(s) that these surveys are sending and will continue to work to make your D2L experience the best it can be. Enjoy the data!
This area contains information about active users of D2L at MSU-Bozeman.
Course type - enrolled
Course type - teaching
A fairly even distribution from all class levels...
Note also male/female ratio where there are similar percentages of gender across both semesters- majority of which is female
- Spring 2010: 61.5% female, 35.3% male, 3.2% undisclosed
- Fall 2010: 59.3% female, 38.6% male, 2.1% undisclosed
- Spring 2011: 60.1% female, 38.8% male, 1.4% undisclosed
- Fall 2011: 60.5% female, 37.8% male, 1.72% undisclosed
- Spring 2012: 58.87 female, 39.11 male, 2.02 undisclosed
- Fall 2012: 60.4% female, 36.6% male, 3% undisclosed
Those individuals who selected 'Other' supplied these following descriptions in varied amounts across varied survey dates:
- Adjunct Assistant Professor
- Associate Clinical Professor
- Research faculty
- Visiting Professor
- Instructor/Team Adviser
- Graduate Teaching Assistant
Those individuals who selected 'Other' in the Spring 2012 survey indicated:
- Honors Program
- Average number of years teaching experience = 14.6
- Range: 7 months to 40 years
- Average number of years teaching experience = 15.07
- Range: 0 months to 40 years
- Average number of years teaching experience = 12.05
- Range: 0 months to 40 years
This data indicates respondents are part of a seasoned teaching staff - note the average of almost 14 years experience across the 3 semesters being presented here. This represents a huge range of teaching experience.
Response from students indicates that the majority are encountering D2L in a Blended or Web-Enhanced course format as opposed to a purely online educational experience.
Overall, the survey is getting many more responses from instructors using D2L to deliver a Blended or Web Enhanced course offering as opposed to using D2L to teach a purely online course.
How much is D2L being used by students and instructors in the MSU-Bozeman system?
Shows 31% overall increase in active (have logged in) student users from Spring semester 2010 to Fall Semester 2012. Note the flattening or slight decrease in users from Fall semesters to the following Spring semesters. This relates to a typical trend in which more students start school in the Fall but by Spring semester the active log in numbers tend to flatten out. Reasons for this might include less active course offerings available in D2L and/or students electing to take Spring semester off. Overall though, the data indicates that active D2L use is increasing by both students and instructors (as indicated in the chart below).
Shows 42% increase in active (have logged in) instructor users from Spring semester 2010 to Spring semester 2013. This data indicates that more instructors are starting to utilize the D2L Learning Environment to either deliver purely online course offerings or are using the system to help supplement traditional face-to-face courses.
The majority of students who responded to this survey log in at least four times per week. This indicates that D2L is being used regularly. For each semester, almost half of the respondents to the survey indicate they use the system on a daily basis. This usage pattern indicates that the D2L LE is becoming a well used learning environment affiliated with all manner of course offerings at Montana State University - Bozeman.
The majority of instructors who responded to this survey log in at least four times per week though daily use of D2L has declined over the past few years. A significant portion of the respondents indicate daily use in each semester - which in turn points towards more consistent use of the D2L tool as a teaching aid in the delivery of course offerings here at Montana State University - Bozeman.
Most (71- 76%) of the student respondents report logging in to D2L for 30 minutes or less. The percentages of time spent in the D2L system reported by students are fairly consistent across all semesters.
Most instructor survey respondents (66-70%) log in for more than 30 minutes according to the data from Spring and Fall semester 2010. However, beginning in Spring 2011, the majority of instructors are reporting 30 minutes or less. Instructors traditionally have more "work" to do in D2L (grading, uploading content, management) though the figures from Spring 2011 and on indicate that less time is being spent logged in to the system. Perhaps respondents are getting more used to the system and this helps with their ability to get in, get the work done, and thus get out more quickly.
This section shows trends in mobile use that are ongoing and changing rapidly. Mobile device use and demand for D2L mobile access among respondents has increased tremendously over the past 3 years.
I am able to access email on my Droid X but cannot respond or create new emails. It would be very helpful to be able to do that. - student comment
adding blackberry connectivity would be a distinct advantage when i receive email from a student and need to reset something in D2L. - faculty comment
D2L LE version 9 and subsequent upgrades are attempting to respond to increased demand for mobile everything - including improved access and functionality with D2L LE via mobile technologies.
Student and Instructor - reported access to or use of a mobile device
'Yes' indicates that they have access to a mobile device:
'Yes' indicates that they have access to a mobile device:
Instructor and student reported use of mobile devices are growing at a steady rate.
Student and Instructor - Do you want to be able to connect to D2L using a mobile device?
The data demonstrates that over the past 3 years users do want increased access to D2L via a mobile device.
Both student and instructor respondents were asked to select most effective and least effective tools that are used in the D2L system to help facilitate learning.
Most Effective D2L tools used in courses - top 5 - Student
According to the student respondents to the survey, Content is essential to facilitate effective learning in a D2L course offering whether purely online or as a supplemental resource.Approximately half of the respondents also indicate that accessing the Grades area in D2L LE is helpful to their learning. Discussions, Quizzes, and Dropbox are other tools that are consistently chosen as some of the tools most effective at enhancing student learning.
These tools listed as ineffective by student respondents are tools that are in the D2L system but are not used on a regular basis the within the system. Perhaps perception of effectiveness of a tool is directly related to how often a tool is encountered? Or maybe the tools are perceived as having limited educational value to both instructors and students. Chat and Locker have always been the top 2 "Least Effective" tools listed by students, and Checklist has always shown up in the top five least effective tools. Some other tools that are frequently mentioned in the "least effective tools" include Surveys, Groups, Class FAQ and Glossary.
There was more variance in instructor selection of effective tools that they use in D2L as identified in the chart above where six tools were isolated as being most effective by the instructor respondents. Note that Content, Grades, and Discussions also appeared in the student most effective tools list. And Content, as expected, is king in both camps.
The instructor tally in this area closely resembles that of the student respondents. Also, it is important to note that the D2L Locker is typically specific to a personal account - not able to be used except by an individual for storage and easy access to files. Note, however, that Group Lockers can be set up in D2L to allow ease of file sharing between groups that exist in the course. "None" was most frequently cited least effective tool (36.8%); Locker (20.6%) and Email (19.1%) ranked high in Spring 2012. In Spring 2013 Email and Rubrics were tied for second least effective tools with Checklist at 16.4%, and "none" was the most frequently cited least effective tool (40%).
Student Primary Help Resources
Instructor Primary Help Resources
Where do instructors look for help?
Make it easier?
Awareness of help resources
Percentage of students that utilize “Instructor” as Primary D2L Help Resource, by class:
When you take this response chart and combine it with the chart directly below (primary D2L help resource equals "None") you see that student responses indicate that they are contacting their instructor when they need help with D2L OR indicate that they do not need help specific to D2L - it is definitely one of the more polarized responses encountered and the data is similar for all reported semesters.
Percentage of students that utilize "None" as Primary D2L Help Resource, by class:
The other interesting part of this data set is the simple idea that as D2L gets used more often and both students and instructors get more used to the system there may be a trend towards students and instructors exhibiting less need for support OR an adjustment to the types of support offered as techniques associated with the D2L system begin to become more sophisticated.
Extended University (EU) of Montana State University-Bozeman is the department that administers the D2L LE for the Bozeman campus so it is no surprise that instructors look to EU for support and training associated with the system. However, starting in Spring 2011 the data indicates growing signs of diversification among the respondents - a significant portion still look to EU for help with the system but the other avenues of support are also gaining popularity.
The data suggests that instructors have many varied opinions regarding successful design and teaching of course offerings using D2L. When presented with the five choices above, "more time" and "nothing is needed" rank high on the list - which may suggest that instructors are starting to feel more comfortable using the tool yet also express a desire to get more time to focus on the tool itself - perhaps to learn greater mastery and in turn create better products and/or more manageable course offerings.
Instructor respondents indicate that they are aware of the help resources that are available to them when they are working with D2L LE. Typically, awareness of support resources translates into a clear option for both students and faculty as to where they need to reach out to when help is needed.
Log in experience - student
Ease of working in D2L
Log in experience - instructor
Ease of working in D2L
Make it easier?
Awareness of help resources
The high averages indicate that the students are experiencing occasional problems logging in to D2L LE with most respondents experiencing smooth sailing when logging in to the system. The data also indicates that this trend stays stable across all semesters of responses.
As with the student responses, the high averages indicate that the instructors are experiencing occasional problems logging in to D2L LE with most respondents experiencing smooth sailing when logging in to the system.
The higher averages indicate that the majority of student respondents feel that working in the D2L LE is easy though there are still some who report difficulty in regards to using the D2L LE system. This data confirms that, overall, the D2L LE system is relatively user friendly and stable - at least across all semesters of data collected so far. The decrease from Spring 2012 to Fall 2012 may represent "backlash" from students in response to the D2L system upgrade which occurred in August of 2012. With this upgrade, there were significant navigational and visual changes to the D2L interface.
The higher averages indicate that many of the instructor respondents feel that working in the D2L LE is fairly easy and they encounter lesser degrees of difficulty in regards to using the system.
When compared to the student respondent results the instructor respondents are indicating slightly less perceived ease of use. This most likely corresponds to the fact that instructors have different duties with relation to how they must use D2L. Course set-up and class management figure prominently into instructor experience with the D2L LE and this complicates the experience for some of the instructors. In addition, we also see a slight decline from Spring 2012 to Spring 2013, which may be due to the system upgrade which occurred in the interim.
Overall experience with D2L- Student
The averages over all semesters are holding steady in the higher regions which are an indication that the D2L LE is working well for most students who responded to the survey. The higher average suggests that the learning environment is meeting the needs of the students at this time. The larger decrease from Spring 2012 to Fall 2012 may again represent "backlash" from students in response to the D2L system upgrade which occurred in August of 2012 in which there were significant navigational and visual changes to the D2L interface.
Overall experience with D2L- Instructor
The averages over all semesters are holding steady in the mid to higher range which is an indication that the D2L LE is working well for most instructors who responded to the survey. The slightly lower than student average suggests that the learning environment is meeting the needs of the instructors at this time but that there is room for improvement either in the technology itself or the support structures that surround the roll-out.
D2L helped me learn the material of the course - Student
Student respondents report that the use of the D2L LE helps them learn the material of the course about the same or better greater than 90% of the time in all of the semesters surveyed. This indicates that the learning environment is worthwhile in terms of whether or not it is effective in helping students understand the material in their courses of study.
The surveys include a lot of comments of all varied types - from love poems to the fury-filled vitriol of dissatisfied individuals. Below is a sampling of comments received.
- The worst thing about using D2L was putting na in all the boxes while taking this survey - that's how easy it is to use D2L. (Student; question 34; Fall 2010)
- If i had an hour to live, i'd spend it on D2L. It would feel like a lifetime. (Student; question 32; Spring 2010)
- It helps if the instructor is knowledgeable in D2L and it hurts if not. (Student; question 16; Spring 2010)
- When I first started using D2L I was surprised to find out from my students and my department that my courses were the only ones using the program. It took a while to get my students on board, and even then, some did not like the system or being required to check it daily for class updates. But this is the challenge of any new technology. I've found it essential when I was sick and had to cancel class. It's a great avenue for communicating with the class. There again, it's a two way street & the students have to do their part. It would work better if all of my students had already been introduced to working in D2L. (Instructor, question 15, Spring 2010)
- Whatevah (Student, question 35, Spring 2011)
- Thank you for making D2L available. With everyone's schedules, various Professor's office hours and the such, it's fantastic having email and class lists all in one, convenient location. (Student; question 34; Fall 2010)
- Thanks! I really have enjoyed getting our class materials pulled together, and D2L has been pretty easy to use, with a few time consuming exceptions. It makes me very glad I am not xeroxing big weekly packets and mailing them out, old style. (Instructor, question 22, Fall 2010)
- I love being able to attend class whenever I can manage to fit it into my schedule. I love being able to email classmates. I love being provided a ton of information to research. I love selecting which items to print or not to print--useful items--instead of buying books. (Student, question 12, Spring 2010)
- I really appreciate professors that use D2L, mainly because it is an easy way to find information that is all in the same spot. I also like being able to check up on my grades at any time. (Student, question 12, Spring 2011)
- I think it was great having things posted on D2L. It great being able to follow my professors and what they had planned for our use each day or week. You could down load information to be used in class before it being actually discussed. Thank you! (Student, question 32, Spring 2010)
- It jams up my mac, the printer options are screwed up and don't work well with printers available (options), adobe made this program worse. It's slow to load content and a pain in the butt, kinda useless as the teachers don't use it for e-mail or for anything for class. The only reason I log on is to print out content notes from instructors, which is huge waste of paper, why don't they print out booklets that can be passed on like books. Powerpoint slides are out of control and wasteful. (Student; question 12; Spring 2011)
- I found it infuriating to have class notes posted on D2L, such that the instructor would fly by them in class and say no biggie they are on D2L you can get them there later. I found this decreased my understanding of the content presented in class and made it more difficult for me to engage during class time. (Student; question 34; Fall 2010)
- The main problem with D2L is that students do not use it. You want to use a tool that serves all your course needs such as contents, announcements, email, etc. If students don't use the tool, then it's not gionna be effective. (Instructor, question 24, Spring 2011)
- TELL SOMEONE TO GET THE UNIVERSITY FASTER INTERNET!!! RESNET IS CRAAAAAPNET!!! We are in COLLEGE and the internet is slower than at my GRANDMA"s, she doesn't even have an INTERNET CONNECTION!! THAT'S HOW SLOW THE INTERNET IS HERE!!! (Student, question 35, Spring 2011)
- As an online delivery program, I find it to be very limited. What it does, it does well, but I would like to see the capacity to include online individual and group live conferencing added as a component. Additionally, I find other aspects of the program cumbersome, but neither of these comments pertains to the support provided for D2L. (Instructor, question 24, Spring 2011)
- The only upsetting thing is that we as MSU students have three different usernames for D2L, Email, and my Info. It would seem that with so much available now that we wouldn't have to access all three on a regular basis to gain access to information from the University. It reminds me a little of detective movies from the 40s where a multi-line phone meant having 3 different phones to answer. (Student; question 16; Fall 2010)
- It would be useful if all teachers used D2L for their class website, or there was at least a link on D2L to the other class websites, it is a hassle to have to log into D2L and remember other class web addresses. (Student; question 35; Spring 2011)
- a description at the beginning of each course on how that instructor uses D2L - each instructor this semester has used if very differently, and since this was my first semester ever using it, my learning curve was pretty steep, since I had a hard time figuring out what was important and what wasn't. (Student; question 8; Fall 2010)
- I wish the teachers would not use D2l it makes things more complicated and easier to loose track of what is due where and when (Student; question 16; Spring 2010)
- There needs to be consistent messaging from the university about the definitions of online and web enhanced courses. There is tremendous variation in how instructors define these and the best methods of teaching in these formats. I am concerned about academic integrity without oversight about course development. (Instructor, question 16, Spring 2011)
Thanks to all who participate in the surveys during Fall and Spring semesters (Student) and Spring semesters (Instructor). This data helps the Ecat team to better understand the needs of the MSU-Bozeman learning community and keeps us working towards a better learning environment to more effectively meet the needs of all who benefit from the technology.