Desire2Learn Enters MOOC Market as It Updates Its Platform

The course-management company Desire2Learn unveiled a MOOC-enabled version of its online-learning platform on Tuesday, joining two competitors, Blackboard and Instructure, in entering the market for massive open online courses.

John Baker, Desire2Learn’s president and chief executive, said the company’s online-learning suite was now an all-encompassing platform that integrated online assets commonly used for classroom instruction as well as the new MOOC platform, called Desire2Learn Open Courses.

With the updated learning platform, students and faculty members won’t have to log into different accounts, said Mr. Baker. Options as diverse as Wiggio, a free working-group toolkit, and Google Docs will be integrated with a one-time sign-in. “Instead of learning six or seven logins,” he said, “now they can focus on the work in front of them.”

An integrated e-textbook feature will benefit both students and faculty members, Mr. Baker said. For students, it means cheaper textbooks that can be read across platforms—on tablets, mobile phones, and computers. And for instructors, it’s an easier place to put required reading so everyone has access to it.

He said the updated system also increased integration among the e-textbooks, the group-work applications, and the new MOOC system.

Desire2Learn Open Courses, he said, will let professors and institutions import content from the existing Desire2Learn platform, create their own MOOCs, and maintain copyright on their own materials. The new platform will also be available through a cloud application within the existing learning suite.

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