Tag Archives: vle

Merging the Distance

Yesterdays sunrise in Iceland near Bifrost University

One of the interesting talks I listened to at the BETT show was from Bifröst University who had merged their distance online courses with their campus based courses.

From a learner’s perspective they received the “same” experience regardless if they accessed the course online or on campus.

The learner feedback was very positive as it allowed them to pick and choose how they accessed the learning on the course depending on their personal circumstances and context. You can imagine how one week due to snow or holiday they accessed the course online, the following week they were in a face to face session on campus.

In this blog post I am going to look at and discuss some of the technical issues that Bifröst University had to consider and out into place before moving forward on merging online and campus based courses.

Bifröst University in their presentation made some key points on the technical requirements. They needed to have in place a robust IT infrastructure in place to host and distribute the various types of content and video for the courses. They also needed to ensure there was solid scalable WiFi available to all users, taking into account the changing landscape of devices that learners would be using. As well as campus connectivity there is the issue of external internet access and bandwidth, as far as Bifröst University are concerned, they see really essential for learners to have access to high speed internet.

The other main consideration, that Bifröst University mentioned, was the need to have a robust Learning Management System (or VLE) and interesting for this to be backed up by good communication software and group productivity tools.

This is a very similar concept that I have spoken at length about in various bog posts and conference sessions, notably the VLE is Dead debate back in 2009 at the ALT Conference. What I said was that the VLE was an important portal for learners, but that didn’t stop organisations from adding in external tools. These tools could be Google+, Twitter, Google Docs, Office 365, or other communication and productivity tools. The tools that the learners use would then be accessed or linked to from the VLE.

Bifröst University also embraced the concept of BYOD and making sure both learners and teachers understood the limitations of this, but also ensure they re was a willingness to cater for the variety of devices that learners would be using.

One aspect that Bifröst University put a lot of emphasis on was on the importance of training and the large amount of training that would be needed. They certainly understood that even with a so called digital generation there was a need to provide training for learners before the start of the course, and this training would need to be repeated throughout the year. Training sessions were also run for staff at the start of the year, with additional micro sessions run throughout the duration of the course. Bifröst University also made sure they had good support materials for all key systems backed up by a range of guides and handouts.

In a future blog post I will look at the curriculum design implications of merging online and campus based courses.

Photo Credit: Iceland by Jakub on Flickr

Moodlemoot 2012

It’s been a while since I attended a Moodlemoot, however this year I am attending Moodlemoot 2012 which takes place in the fair city of Dublin, 2nd-4th April 2012.

Moodlemoots are an opportunity for the Moodle community to gather and share experiences, new things and learn from each other.

I am interested to see what I can learn from others at this Moodlemoot. The technical for us is less important since we decided to outsource our hosting (and maintenance) to ULCC. This doesn’t mean I am not interested in the roadmap of Moodle, I am and really would like to see where Moodle is going over the next few years. I am pleased to see Moodle making the move to mobile and I hope that continues.

The real challenge as far as I am concerned with Moodle, is not the technical nature of the software, but how do you get teachers to use it effectively with learners.

I always find it interesting that some people talk about how easy to use and intuitive Moodle is, whilst some people complain about how complicated and unintuitive Moodle is. You won’t find many of the latter group at a Moodlemoot, but I do think their viewpoint is noted and listened to.

One of the things I want to find out at this Moodlemoot is what strategies are people using to motivate teachers to use Moodle and what things work well and what things have broad appeal. How are people making Moodle more engaging and interactive and encouraging learners to make that move from a passive user of Moodle to a learner that engages and interacts with the platform.

Another aspect of the moot will be the networking and engagement with the community. It will be great to discuss the above with old friends and with new ones.

e-Learning Stuff Podcast #073: Has he got a Sinclair C5? a

James talks with Rob Whitehouse about how he uses ILT and the VLE to support teaching and learning.

This is the seventy third e-Learning Stuff Podcast, Has he got a Sinclair C5?

Audio MP3

Download the podcast in mp3 format: Has he got a Sinclair C5?

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Shownotes

To be added…