DePaul moves beyond online classes with Lynda

DePaul now provides free memberships to Lynda, an online learning portal, for students, staff and faculty. Users receive certificates upon the completion of courses. (Screenshot courtesy of Lynda.com)
DePaul now provides free memberships to Lynda, an online learning portal, for students, staff and faculty. Users receive certificates upon the completion of courses. (Screenshot courtesy of Lynda.com)

Virtual learning has moved beyond the online class. Last week, DePaul announced that Lynda, an online library of learning videos and courses, would be available to all students.

Lynda features more than 2,900 courses taught by industry professionals and is used by companies and universities. Designed to help individuals learn everything from Adobe Suite to leadership skills,  students work through lecture videos at their own pace and order, and are able to jot down notes and work through examples. Upon course completion, a certificate is available to print or share through a link. The site is also supported by IOS and Android.

“Lynda is especially great for me because they have fantastic video tutorials for filming techniques and filming software,” Langdon Auld, a junior digital cinema student, said. Some of the video editing software, he said, is “incredibly complex.”

Screen shot 2014-10-19 at 7.08.27 PMChristine Gramlick, associate director of Media Production and Training in Information Services, said that the service was purchased last summer and became available to faculty, staff and students at the beginning of the term. Gramlick says that students were notified of the service via email last Monday because the university was conducting a soft launch to ensure that logins were properly working and to complete testing.

Adjunct faculty member in the College of Computing and Digital Media Mary Omelina began using Lynda since the beginning of the term. In her advanced animation classes, Omelina assigned basic tutorials to supplement in-class instruction and to help students who may not have taken beginner-level classes. However, the way she uses the program differs depending on the class and student needs.

“Sometimes we go over the exercise beforehand and they use the tutorial to replicate or finish up their in-class exercise,” she said. “Sometimes I assign specific tutorials to work ahead on things we’re going to be covering in the next class.”

Gramlick maintains that the service is not meant to replace classroom instruction.

Instead, she said, it is a means for students to supplement their in-class work with readily available and self-guided tutorials.  The service is also available for faculty and staff use.

“LyndaCampus will be used by each person differently,” she said, referring to the specific product purchased by the university, LyndaCampus.

She said that this particular program was chosen based upon the quality and variety of courses. “For faculty, it can be used to supplement their in-class instruction.  For staff, it can be used for professional development and job skill training.”

The introduction of Lynda also means an additional Web portal for students to use among D2L, Campus Connect and for CDM students, The university no longer uses ColWeb, but many CDM students still have to search for classes through MyCDM, a separate portal from Campus Connect.

“Overall, I’d say it’s not that much of a hassle,” Auld said. “You get used to it pretty quick.”

The site’s library features a heavy load of software courses, but Ryan Woodman, a junior marketing student, said that he would use it to “learn how to use complicated software better, specifically Dreamweaver.”

“I may use it to enhance my understanding of Excel, which is extremely important in marketing, but I’ll probably be using it to gain knowledge in categories that I’m not already taking classes in,” he said.