I was able to attend Fusion, the Desire2Learn users conference, along with the D2L UnConference in Chicago last week. Like last year, both events turned out to be great get-togethers full of both information and inspiration.
The announcement that I’m most excited about is that we’ll soon have a mobile version of the D2L learning environment! Although they announced plans to develop native applications Android, iPhone, and Blackberry devices, the demo of their mobile-optimized website impressed me the most. The service is focused mostly on allowing students quick, on-the-go access to course content. Users accessing the system from a mobile device are automatically redirected to the mobile site, where they can browse content, check news items, and visit bookmarked items.
Another welcome addition to the LE is an updated version of the TinyMCE HTML Editor. The new editor appears to do a MUCH better job stripping out Microsoft crap-code when content is pasted from Word into the editor. The new MathML and LaTeX tools within the editor also look promising, but I am not a math person and haven’t tried entering formulas myself. While the much-hated Object item still lives in the toolbar for now, an “Insert Stuff” tool is being developed that should make it much less painful to embed audio, video, and other stuff in the HTML editor.
On the development side, the folks at D2L are adding a REST API for their web services. I never took the time to learn to work much with SOAP and this should make it much easier to interact with the system (at least for me). I’m not sure if they announced a timeline for introducing the new API, but I’m anxious to check it out when it does arrive!
I also had lunch with a Kaltura representative and was excited to hear about SSO with D2L, integration with TechSmith’s Relay product, and an HTML 5 version available soon. He also mentioned the ability to upload caption files for hosted videos and said that Kaltura and D2L were working together on deeper integrations which would be announced in a few months. I’ve been interested in Kaltura before, but found the lack of captions to be a deal breaker – it’s probably time to take another look now!
So, those are the tidbits I found most interesting from D2L’s Fusion 2010 conference. Of course, getting to meet new D2L users and chat with some of the great folks I met last year was wonderful too.