Learning on the Internet
Chair: Chris Simpson
Speaker: Neil Chidwick, Telford College
This workshop looked at the issues surrounding students studying from home, not simply by using open learning packages but having electronic links to the tutor, the college, its facilities and other useful documentation. The workshop gave the group the opportunity to find out what is going on in this area at Telford College.
Scotland's Virtual College
An initial pilot began in September 1997 and is still running. SVC is available globally and has been used with HMForces.
There are two strands to the project; the learner can either follow courses on the WWW with information sent through the post or delivered electronically - and email assignments to tutors.
Alternatively, participating using dedicated PCs in 6 public libraries across Scotland. This element of the project is funded by Scottish Enterprise.
Edinburgh's Telford College offers approximately 500 paper based open learning courses and SVC blends with this offering the following small range of courses chosen from across the curriculum:
- Introduction to the microcomputer
- Developing and Using Learning Skills
- Computer Applications: Database (Microsoft Access)
- Computer Applications: Word Processing (Microsoft Word)
- Open Learning in Public Libraries
- Introduction to C++ Programming
- HN unit in European Institutions
- Financial Record Keeping SCOTVEC 3
Implications for learners
- They can apply on-line
- They can use the Internet to contact their tutor, virtual classmates and other students at SVC
- They can read course notes and assignments and then return assessments
- Conference - user groups and supergroups
- Services provided can be replicated on-line e.g. guidance
SVC is free in year 1 for public library sites.
SVC is charged as per standard distance learning fee outwith libraries.
Training & support was required for library staff to help end users. SVC developed a core training unit
Difficulty in delivering some courses on-line i.e. catering
Use of multimedia could be beyond the boundaries of public networks
Need to bring in broad cross sectoral teaching staff and provide IT Training as course conversion of open learning packages convert to HTML format for WWW access. Staff need to feel comfortable with the medium to provide effective support to learners.
Issues for TAP/LIS Agents
Need to examine how we represent learning opportunities such as cyberspace and teleflex on datasets.
Issues of support and training for site staff - perhaps a standardised core module should be made available to all UK Agents to ensure consistency of standards.