Technology allows us to do things faster, easier and at a time and place to suit our individual needs; sometimes technology provides new opportunities and new experiences.
From a student experience perspective technology can improve their experience. Technological advances and new media rarely replace existing practice and media, but often supplement, enhance and enrich them.
e-Books for example have not replaced paper books, but allow access to collections that may either not be available or allow easier access at a time and place to suit the student.
e-Journals similarly make it much easier to find relevant articles and access can be from home, college or in the library.
The Virtual Learning Environment (VLE) is used in many different ways, but the key again is access to learning where and when the learner needs it. It allows access to resources, discussion, interactivity, assessment from a computer at home, in a computer suite, from a laptop in a coffee shop, via a mobile device on the train. Whereas learning may currently only take place within the institution or individually outside the institution, the VLE allows learning, both individual and group learning from anywhere.
Technology can also be used to enhance existing practice, making it more engaging and interactive. The use of video, audio and voting handsets (clickers) allow traditional learning activities to be enhanced and enriched.
A journal, how on earth can you read a journal or magazine on the VLE?
A printed paper thing!
Of course we are talking about electronic journals, e-journals.
e-Journals are of course easy to access through publishers platforms, online collections or library catalogues. If you know which article or issue you are looking for then you should be able to find it…
Of course if you are researching a topic or subject than that might be a little more challenging. You might not even know which journal you should start your search at.
So how do you inform learners about where they should be looking or beginning to start searching?
Signposting or linking to specific journals or articles on the VLE is about increasing access to resources for learners.
This is not to say that learners should never start searching from scratch, but is this always necessary? Isn’t the learning process also about the subject sometimes in addition to the process. Reading lists of journals and journal articles are useful support tools for learners, by linking to the electronic versions and placing those links on the VLE, you can save learners time. This is time saved in both getting hold of those links (or typing them in) and the use of e-journals allows the learners to access the articles at a time and place to suit them too. Placing them on the VLE means they can refer back to them at a later date and also saves time for the practitioner or academic as the following year they can use the same list again with a new cohort of learners.
Open Access journals can also make this whole process even simpler in terms of authentication and access.
So with the preponderance of e-journals now available, it is possible to “read” a journal on the VLE.
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