Students and professors at Stony Brook University have mixed feelings about using D2L Brightspace to access their assignments this Fall 2022 semester.
The transition from using Blackboard as the primary learning management system to D2L Brightspace is in gradual effect. For the Fall 2022 semester, professors had a choice between which platform they wanted to use for their classes. In the spring, D2L Brightspace will be the only option.
Both Blackboard and D2L Brightspace are online platforms that are used for academic purposes. Professors can assign coursework, attach course materials, administer exams, post grades and make class announcements using these platforms. Both platforms debuted in the late 1990s.
To ease the transition, Stony Brook has released video and written resources catered to both students and professors. These resources include “Exporting your Course Content from Blackboard to Brightspace” and “Question types in Brightspace.”
For students, confusion has arisen from some professors continuing to use Blackboard, while others have elected to use Brightspace. Another cause of skepticism is students’ lack of familiarity with Brightspace.
According to Kachun Huang, a junior applied mathematics major, most of his classes use Blackboard, with only one using Brightspace. Although he is comfortable with Brightspace, he has become used to Blackboard.
“I got used to it now.” Huang explained. “I have no complaints with Blackboard, but I know it can be better.”
Huang likes how Brightspace shows students what percentage of an assignment they have completed, which he considers to be an improvement. However, he still prefers Blackboard over Brightspace because he’s been using it for so long.
“Maybe if I got used to [Brightspace] I would like it,” Huang said.
In contrast, Dakota Lerma and Nicholas Tan, both freshman computer science majors, prefer Brightspace over Blackboard. They like Brightspace more because of its user interface.
“I like Brightspace. I think it’s better.” Lerma said about Brightspace. “I think it just looks cleaner than Blackboard, and more new.”
Tan agreed with Lerma about liking Brightspace’s user interface more than Blackboard’s.
“I’d rather have one app. Like why have both?” Tan said.
Lerma agreed with Tan’s criticism. “Yeah, I don’t like that there’s both. I think if they said to use one, either one, I’d be happy,” he said.
Professors have their own reasonings behind why they prefer either platform.
Turhan Canli, a professor of psychology and psychiatry at Stony Brook University, is using Brightspace instead of Blackboard during the Fall 2022 semester.
“I think it’s okay. In the end, it’s not that different from what I’m used to doing with Blackboard,” Canli explained. “I use it primarily to post course documents, PowerPoint presentations and readings.”
Canli has not heard any complaints from his students about using Brightspace, but he understands why students are confused.
“Students weren’t sure if [they were] supposed to use one platform or the other since currently we’re using both.”
Richard Duque, a sociology professor at Stony Brook University, has used Brightspace and Blackboard for 10 years. Although he thinks Brightspace is easier for students to understand, Blackboard has features that help professors manage their classes.
“One of the big differences that Blackboard gives you, especially in communicating with students, is that you are able to communicate very quickly to all your students at the same time,” Duque said.
Blackboard allows professors to email the entire class at the same time. Brightspace also has this feature, though Duque was unaware.
“[If] you have a very large class in Brightspace, like over 200, there really is no function to email all [students]. You’ve got to do it in pages like page one, page two, page three,” Duque said. “That’s going to be challenging for faculty to communicate with their students.”
CORRECTION: A previous version of this article incorrectly stated that professors could not email their entire class at once using Brightspace. This article was updated on Oct. 27.