One of the real benefits of using WordPress rather than Blackboard or Desire2Learn is that connections can be easily made between people, and across courses and programs. The BuddyPress social platform unlocks a bunch of potential for this, so I’m working to install that over the Christmas break. There will likely be some things that change as a result – off the bat, avatar images are handled differently when BuddyPress is installed, and users get profiles (and I’ve installed a plugin to let you all set the privacy level of your profile and activity stream).
More info to come. If you notice things going horribly awry, please let me know ASAP.