Column: D2L server crashes impact UA's online learning enviornment

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Sydney Richardson | The Daily Wildcat

English freshman Jenny Aranda peruses through her class’ D2L page on Friday, May 20.

Desire2Learn, or D2L, is essential to a UA student’s success and needs to be properly maintained.

Lately, the UA’s D2L system has been crashing multiple times a week. It’ll sometimes be a login issue or some sort of server error, but whatever the reason, it’s an inconvenient problem, especially with the amount of work required in college. How can students use this online tool to complete homework when it continues to have a server problem?

Almost all college students, myself included, use D2L to check what assignments are due, turn in assignments in the dropbox and communicate with classmates in the discussions tab.

Pima Community College uses D2L, as well. When I attended PCC, I became familiar with D2L as I took multiple online courses.

For the two years I used Pima’s D2L system, I hardly ever experienced server issues. The only time that the site was down was during its required monthly maintenance time, which was usually one late Saturday night to early Sunday morning during the time people sleep. I really enjoyed using D2L, and I wish that I could go back to the simplicity.

Related: UA online offers students an alternative way to learn

I’ve only been here at the UA for two semesters, and I have learned D2L is an essential to complete almost every assignment. Professors post lectures, homework, grades and feedback on assignments online. Students and professors log onto D2L multiple times a day. It has become a daily routine for us at the UA. When it crashes, it not only causes a wave of panic; it also frustrates faculty and students.

I get frustrated when I’m trying to complete a quiz. When I click the “submit” button, I expect to read my quiz has been submitted, not a “server error” message. I’m thankful D2L has a “save changes” button. It reassures me, when a server error happens, my answers and work will still be there and I can re-submit my work.

Let’s face it, though: Who wants to have to re-submit their work twice?

If you don’t save your work, then you’re back at square one with re-doing the whole assignment. That’s never any fun.

As college students, we rely heavily on the internet and technology. Every day we Google different topics that we need to learn. We log onto our Gmail accounts to communicate with professors and colleagues. We even have educational mobile apps so we can access what we need on our phones. We have grown accustomed to accessing things at a rapid speed and in turn get impatient when things (like D2L crashes) take forever to load. The internet and technology are a must-have for us.

There have been rumors the reason the D2L bugs aren’t being fixed right away is because the system will be updated in 2019. This is unconfirmed talk, but still, it’s not a valid reason to allow the system to fail so much. We are nowhere near 2019, and I would appreciate if these problems were a priority rather than just letting it continuously lag on everyone.

Related: The UA toys with the idea of replacing D2L, opens up to new platforms

Yes, at times it might be a win because we have an extra day to turn in our homework assignments we forgot to do, but it’s definitely not a win when you’re in the middle of a lecture and you have to access an in-class assignment right away, especially when it’s a timed assignment.

D2L isn’t exclusive to just the UA or PCC. Many other colleges and universities have their own D2L database.

It’s very important that UA’s D2L system is maintained properly so students can complete required assignments before the designated deadline. It doesn’t only take time away from the students; it takes away from the faculty, as well.

D2L is an efficient and effective system here at the UA, that is when it is working. Without it, college would be one big chaotic mess, which is usually what happens when it crashes.


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