Customer Showcase March 2024: Stefanie from D2L Brightspace Community

stefanieb Vanilla Flower
edited March 25 in Talk Community #1

Hi I’m Stefanie Baldwin, Team Lead for the D2L Brightspace Community. The D2L Brightspace Community relaunched on the Vanilla Platform just over one year ago and continues its evolution as a large and vibrant space that includes:

- An integrated Learning Ecosystem, Brightspace
- Communities of Practice
- Events
- Ideation
- Discussions
- Product and Community Roadmaps
- and a whole lot more!


D2L Brightspace Community serves folks who are inspired and inspiring others through Online, and Blended Learning using D2L’s Brightspace. Members connect and post for a variety of reasons that reflect the places where they teach and learn (vertical) and their role (persona) within that space.

Ex. A Faculty member from a university may access Community to learn how to create lecture materials that are accessible to assistive technologies like screen readers.

Voice of the Customer

Community plays an important role in operationalizing customer feedback.

So how do we strategically learn from the voices of our customers in Community?

Find out about the Vanilla Tools D2L uses, and how these support D2L’s community strategy to partner and grow with Community members.

Vanilla Features

🏷️Discussion Tagging

Including Discussion Tags has been a very important strategic choice in Community to highlight Brightspace Tools (products) Community members speak about most frequently each month.

Tagging questions facilitates:

👍🏿 Better and faster answers

👍🏿 Data driven decision making by tracking which tools are asked about the most for a given time period!

👍🏿 Greater understanding of opportunity and challenge for each product.
Product teams can track incoming questions for each product using the unique url associated with a tag.
That unique url autopopulates with the most recently asked questions appearing at the top of the page for each tag.

👍🏿Real time FAQs!
Members can review the most recently asked questions about a tool they’re interested in and get the most up to date answers

📊 Analytics

Thanks to a recent Analytics Update in Vanilla Community it’s possible to automate what used to be a more time-consuming administrative task: reporting on the frequency of tags per month.

This tracking helps to prioritize efforts to create new customer onboarding material, documentation updates, and webinar/event planning.

That means the voices of D2L Brightspace customers guide the direction of new Community based services!

🔎APIs and Qualitative Data

  • The Vanilla API can be used to GET discussions that include a tag that’s of a particular interest for a specific time period.

    This data is analyzed by Community, Support and Product Teams todefine and apply qualitative codes to identify future opportunities for a particular product.
  • Knowledge Management & Internal Engagement
    Role based permissions to ensure staff members have access to resources that encourage and involve them in Voice of Customer programming.

    📖This includes the use of Vanilla Knowledge Bases where staff work on new documentation inspired by Community Member questions.

🎮Staff Leaderboard

The Staff Leaderboard tracks staff engagement with Community tools and services. This tracking helps to describe the impact of individuals and teams in spaces like discussions and groups in Community and measure the future opportunity for our speed to answer questions, and increase engagement across other Subject Matter Expert areas.

Realizing ROI

  • The Brightspace Learning Center demonstrates a variety of D2L Brightspace Tools in Action! UTM Links can be used to track lead generation offered by our Learning Center, Newsletters and Events- offering a new way to describe these areas of Community value generation
  • The D2L Brightspace Community plays an important Support Function. Using metrics like number of “accepted answers” per months is another way to describe the value in terms of support case deflections.

Staying In Touch

Connecting here in Vanilla Success Community has been such a 💎WONDERFUL💎 way to keep learning and to connect with other Community Leaders!

I'd love to hear more about:

  • what each of you are doing in your own Communities
  • what new automations with Zapier you're building, or
  • API pro-tips you may have!

There's so much I'd love to share about Groups and Learning Center Programming including the Customer Showcase posts you'll find in D2L Brightspace Community!

Please don't be a stranger- I'd love to connect and chat more!


  • HollyR
    HollyR Vanilla Flower

    @stefanieb Thanks for sharing! It's fun to see what others are doing to maximize the impact of their community😊.

  • stefanieb
    stefanieb Vanilla Flower

    Hi @HollyR I'm so glad to meet you through this forum and to be learning from your Community too!
    I really like your "How I Built It Series!"

    Do you have Community Members indicate their interest to contribute through a dedicated discussion in Community?

    Does your team also use an internal leaderboard to help triage technical questions to the right internal SMEs?

  • stephanierichardson

    I really like your idea of the dashboard for tags, I'll be trying that out. Can you tell a bit more about the outcomes this has driven? Have you had success with events based on topics to do with tags that have been used most frequently?

  • stefanieb
    stefanieb Vanilla Flower

    Hi fellow Steph @stephanierichardson 😀

    I'm so grateful to you for reading my post and for your great question!!! I noticed your Community also uses tags- but maybe in a slightly different way- maybe workflow focussed? I'd love to hear more about how your Community uses tags, and also about the approach you take to tagging questions in your Community.

    For D2L Brightspace Community this tagging strategy drives a few outcomes- but yes events are one of them.

    Tracking the number of questions posted to each Brightspace tool on a monthly basis allows us to:

    1. Compile data driven recommendation report for Product Teams: Comparing this Community data to support cases helps inform reports for the product team that uses real feedback to drive recommended next steps for product exploration/design/development.

    2. Improve documentation based on customer needs: Reviewing questions posted to the site pertaining to the most frequently asked about tool for a given time period, is used to identify if there is a gap in existing documentation, or an opportunity to improve the existing content.

    3. Create more customer-focused events: Tracking trends across discussions using tags has helped informed the selection of some recent tools highlighted in events. The Brightspace Community has offered polls and dedicated discussions to invite members to join in building the agenda for the event. Reviewing themes for recently posted questions can also be useful in planning more meaningful interaction. For example, in a recent event focused on a new tool we noticed that some of the recently posted questions were focused on early adoption/onboarding, so part of the demo was devoted to these steps specifically. However, we also included a poll that allowed those interested in the event to choose more advanced features that could be demoed, spoken about in greater detail during the event. Online Community events include a feedback survey toward the end of the event asking attendees to rate the degree to which the event met their expectations. Building the agenda with Members has been showing positive results in increased alignment and satisfaction with the delivered event.