Thursday, 23 February 2012

VLEs and beyond

Last year at the Gartner conference some of us visited the Open University of Catalunya just outside Barcelona to look at how they had developed their VLE.

It's not a big, designed system, there's lots of projects which contribute to it, it's more of an ecosystem than a VLE. Not all done in IT services.
They based it on an underlying ESB and a set of data standards. Then procured or built selection of modules. Eg some Moodle, some blackboard, some using blog tools,some other web services. Used common look and feel as far as possible. All web based, very agile, and easy to develop new services.

Very easy for staff and students to use. Lots of very rich media including audio blogs, electronic annotation, eFeedback, student video conferencing, video assignments. It also serviced a lot of different academic approaches, not a one size fits all approach.

A presentation on this to the rest of RUGIT kicked off a discussion on the future of the VLE, and how appropriate this sort of model would be to a research based, campus university, rather than a distance learning one.

We also talked about how we ensure an effective route for the adoption of technology and applications into our core learning and teaching offer. Most of us have a mixture of core, supported, recommended and recognised applications. So a recognised app might not come anywhere us, staff find it, use it and often fund it. When it becomes recommended, we give more help and provide the environment. When it's supported, we set it up and integrate it with rest of systems. Core systems are provided and supported and we expect everyone to use them. So, what's the route through all of these different stages? And how do we ensure the effective use of these different technologies?
Do we need to send people out into the faculties to look at the "recognised" apps, see how they're being used, see if they're scaleable, supportable.
Is there another layer of "discouraged"? (Some here suggesting Dropbox should be in that category! ) If there is, it should be between recognised and recommended. Most innovation sits outside of " core" apps. We need to encourage an environment of innovation in teaching and learning, whilst still being able to support core stuff.

- Posted using BlogPress from my iPad

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