Goodbye Angel

By September 2012 the University of Manitoba will be using a learning management system (LMS) called Desire2Learn (D2L) instead of Angel.

The university’s license with Angel expires Aug. 31  and the university made the decision to switch to D2L for several reasons.

Jim Hounslow, e-learning specialist who does LMS administration support training, said the university’s infrastructure could not support the demand students put on Angel.

Hounslow explained the university’s license with Angel had a user cap of 30,000 and if they hit that cap then no one would be able to log in.

Hounslow said the most recent version of Angel is 8, but the university is using version 7.4 and it is getting dated.

Hounslow said another problem with Angel 7.4 is it only fully supports Internet Explorer and Firefox.

Hounslow said when the university switches systems it will be using the most current version of D2L which will fully support Safari and Chrome browsers too.

Hounslow also added that D2L has no user cap, so the university can have as many users as it needs.

“For the end user, instructor or student, [there are] going to be significantly less delays,” said Hounslow.

Hounslow said D2L has a third party wiki and a built in blog tool and the university is developing mobile apps for D2L, while Angel 7.4 does not support mobile apps.

He explained the university is going to start with simple apps on the U of M’s store with the first app supported by Android and then iPhone.

Hounslow said an advantage for professors in math, science, or engineering courses is that D2L has an equations editor so equations can be typed into the system as opposed to in Angel 7.4 where they would have to be created as images.

Hounslow said D2L also has a plagiarism tool built into it that will scan assignments for plagiarism.

Hounslow said the U of M has been using a D2L production site for quizzes in distance education since September and a pilot project started in early January for two courses.

Kevin Stewart, project manager, said there will be a few courses using D2L in spring and summer sessions and by the fall all courses that are currently using Angel will move to D2L.

Stewart said D2L is a more expensive product then Angel 7.4 was when the university purchased it but that cost was only a small factor when choosing the product.

“Our primary factor was that it had to meet the needs of the university community,” Stewart stated.

David Watt, an english professor at the U of M, said he thinks it will be beneficial for the university to switch systems.

“There are a lot of systems that do things that Angel [7.4] does, better,” said Watt.

Watt said he started using Angel 7.4 in 2009 for on campus courses but decided to stop using it because he felt it wasn’t doing anything that Jump couldn’t already do.

Phyllis Portnoy, an english professor who uses Angel 7.4 for distance education courses, said her experience with Angel 7.4 has been frustrating.

“The email is especially slow and cumbersome, particularly for attachments,” Portnoy said.