Thursday, 22 May 2008

Personal Teaching Environment: Exam revision, Google Talk and Social Software

I blogged earlier about the Examopedia site I maintain. Currently this is open to acces by all. Next year I might have to move it behind the intranet. Will it be good or bad I wonder?

I am very happy with the site's use and performance so far. My students used it in the last few days before the exam as can be seen from webstats and Site behaviour. If only they used it throughout the semester ...

Intended us of the site was to tap into collaborative revision amongst the following other things:
  1. provide quick feedback on how to improve exam answers
  2. indicate how many marks an answer would get
  3. encourage sharing and collaboration amongst the students on informal learning activities
  4. reach out to the students who do not normally like taking part
  5. communicate using google talk directly with the students
  6. create a personalised teaching environment that is in my control - (is the VLE/LMS dead really? as Martin Weller said some time ago).
I think we are seeing a change yet again. The VLE era may well be over (for at least it is over). I like the fact that I can use powerful scripts that give me VLE like features to something simple as a wiki. For each course or innovation I can use a set of these scripts to do things I want to.
Forums that we use in my department are much better than those supported in our VLE. To be fair the new WebCTVista seems to have some new features that I would like to use. I wonder in this day and age where you can easily add functionalities to web pages WebCT's model of one size fits all product will stay for long? Besides the boundaries between academic generated content and student generated content are becoming less and less significant.
We are seeing a change where our roles are changing inevitably from teachers to facilitators be it in online distance learning or blended learning environments. In blended learning there will still be the need to be a teacher, however new skills will be needed to facilitate students and their work as more and more students and staff start using the read write web. It looks like I am talking about Web 3.0 (video link).
Comments welcome.

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