You can use a VLE as a starting point for a classroom session, allowing you to quickly access web sites, NLN materials and presentations, etc.. with the advantage that you can also allow your learners to access the “lesson” again on the VLE at a time and place to suit them…
You may already be familiar with using PowerPoint on a laptop and a data projector in a classroom situation.
If you have internet access you can use the VLE as a lesson planning tool with the ability to quickly access notes, NLN materials, PowerPoint presentations, web links, images and so on…
Of course once the lesson is there (whether it be a set of links, a package or a chapter) the learners can access the “lesson” again at a time and place to suit them.
Learners who were absent from the lesson can also access the “lesson” therefore avoiding the need to find out what they missed and thus saving you and them time.
Evidence shows that using a VLE in this way actually improves attendance at sessions rather than as you might think result in a drop in attendance.
The lesson can be extended on the VLE through adding additional resources and web links; and the use of discussions groups to continue and further any discussion in the classroom. These virtual discussions can certainly benefit reflective learners and those that lack confidence to speak in class but are happy to write down their views and opinions.
This lesson will also be available for the rest of the year, supporting revision for example.
The lesson will also be available next year, saving time on preparation and planning.
The VLE will never replace classroom teaching, but it can be used to supplement and enhance a classroom session that was never possible before.
You may already have a filing cabinet (or a cupboard) which you store copies of your assignments, handouts, briefings and other paper based resources.
You may have a folder on your desk which students can access copies of missing resources.
You may already give your learners access to this file storage and allow them to pick and choose which paper based resources they need.
You do though need to ask the questions:
- how do learners access the resources, do they need a key or authorisation?
- what happens when a copy runs out, who prints out and copies the resource?
- who identified that a resource has run out?
The advantages of placing electronic copies of resources on a VLE are:
- the resources are available all the time from anywhere, whether that be home, work or college;
- as they are electronic copies, they never run out, you don’t need to print or copy them again;
- students can have multiple copies, one at home and one for college;
- you can specify if resources are available all the time or for a set time;
- you will be able to find copies for yourself so allowing you to access them from home or work if they need updating.
The VLE is a powerful asset and tool for teaching and learning, but even using it as a simple file storage area can prove to be an advantage to yourself and your learners.
The VLE is available 24 hours a day, seven days a week, 365 days a year from any internet connected computer.
One of the useful aspects of the Gloucestershire College VLE is the ability to store a series of bookmarked web links on a course.
These links can be accessed from any computer which is something that Internet Explorer fails to do as it is restricted to one computer.
Also these links can be accessed by your students at a time and place convenient to them (whether that be at home, in college, or at work). Rather than type them out they can click and there the page is there for them either within the campus or in a new window.
You could always use a social bookmarking site such as del.icio.us, but one of the advantages of using the VLE is that it can track who has clicked the links.