Monday, June 15, 2009

Universities learning e-learning

Greetings from the ANU where engineers and computer scientists are having a forum on the pilot use of Moodle in first semester 2009. In "Universities are alive and changing" I discussed some of the changes taking place in universities with the use of the Internet for learning. One issue which has come up is the ethics of being able to examine in detail how each student uses the system. Also student's enthusiasm for instant messaging and how staff cope is an issue: you can't instantly answer hundreds of individual messages from students. The limitations and complexity of Learning Management Systems are also of interest. What was not discussed where the bigger issues of why do this and what the overall direction for education was. There are further sessions planned accross the university.

For second semester 2009 I will be running a Green ICT course at ANU (COMP7310). This is essentially an e-learning course, with face-to-face seminars added. I see this as a good option for "research intensive" universities like ANU. Courses can be partly online and partly face-to-face, with students choosing the mode, as required. This mode would not suite very large institutions with many hundreds of students in a class. But it suits a more boutique institution, such as ANU, with more personal learning styles.

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