Cleveland Rocks! Happy New Year!

Lia and I just ate a candle! Celebrating NYE at the Greenhouse Tavern.

GNR at the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame

Holiday Spectacular!

It has to be good with a name like that

Wine tasting

Before my first NBA game

D2L Fusion 2013

This week, I attended Fusion, Desire2Learn's annual User's conference. I've been fortunate to get to attend Fusion for the past 5 years and have always had a blast connecting with other instructional technologists, educators, and D2L staff. This year was no exception. Some of my favorite conference moments were Alec Couros's inspirational keynote presentation, sampling flights of beer from local breweries at the JFK Presidential Museum and Library, learning about some exciting upcoming products, getting recognized by the awesome Barry Dahl for my D2L book, and wrapping up the conference at The Pour House, where I enjoyed my first pickelback with some great friends.

Audrey and I were also fortunate to have the best group of participants we could have hoped for in our session on Replace Strings on Tuesday afternoon. We've posted both the presentation and handout to Github, so feel free to check it out if you're interested.

A Semester With Glassboard

I’ve never been a big fan of Desire2Learn’s mobile interface. The Discussion tool, particularly, lacks many of the features that would make it useful to mobile users. For that reason, I decided to use an external service for all class discussions and announcements in WEB 2710: Web Design for Mobile Devices this semester. In this post, I’ll give a brief overview of Glassboard, the service I chose, and share my experiences using it for a semester.


Glassboard is a collaboration tool that allows you to create private meeting rooms, or boards, where members can post messages and share files with each other. Users can access their boards throught the website or by downloading the free iOS and Android applications. The interface is intuitive and similar to other social networking apps you may already use.

Glassboard's compose screen (web)

Boards are private, so anything you post is only available to members of the board. This means you can create a separate board for each class you teach and you don’t have to worry about students from different sections reading the wrong content. If you’ve ever tried using Twitter hashtags to organize content for different classes you’re going to love this feature! You can create up to 10 boards with a free account and an unlimited number of boards if you go for the pro account ($50/year). Once you create a board, you can invite participants by providing a list of email addresses or by sharing a customized invite code/URL. I prefer the second option because it lets students choose the email address they want to use.Invite code for channel

Users can choose to receive notifications of new content on their mobile devices or through email. Notifications settings are board specific, so you can choose different options for each board if you’d like. I ended up turning on device notifications so I could keep up with the discussion throughout the day.

Notifications preferences

My Thoughts

Glassboard alleviated a lot of my past problems with using social media in the classroom. For example, I didn't have to juggle multiple Twitter accounts or course hashtags this semester. Because students can start their own threads (or even their own boards), I feel the discussions were more engaging and student-focused than in previous semesters when I used the LMS's built-in discussion tool.

Despite being a great tool, Glassboard still has room for improvement though. There's no built-in search functionality, so finding a topic discussed several days or weeks ago can be problematic. In addition, text formatting is minimal - there's no way to bold text or create a bulleted list, for example.

Will I use Glassboard again in the future? Absolutely. It is a fantastic collaboration tool that is both powerful and easy to use. And students seem to love it. My class of 13 (amazing) students ended over a week ago and the board has already had 15+ posts today.

D2L Book Update

(Update - 4/18)

According to the publisher, the corrected version of the book is now available through all channels!

(Update - 2/1)

Great news - it looks like Packt will be releasing an updated version of the book after all! I am not sure when it will be available, but I’ll share details as soon as I find out.

(Update - 1/29)

I finally heard back from Packt Publishing today. Unfortunately, they’ve decided not to release an updated version of the book to address the numerous grammatical errors I discovered after the book’s original publication. I feel this is a huge mistake and a great disservice to potential customers. While I sincerely hope they decide to publish these updates in a future edition, I can’t recommend buying the current version. If anything changes, I’ll add another update to this post.

As some readers of the site are already aware, the current version of Desire2Learn for Higher Education Cookbook contains a number of grammatical errors. Many of these errors were added to the book during the technical editing stage of the book’s production. I’ve contacted the publisher and provided a list of required changes and am currently waiting for a response back from the company. In the meantime, I highly recommend that you don’t purchase the book until these issues are addressed. I’ll post an update to this website when the necessary corrections are made.