A student’s view on things…

Of course the debate about VLEs/LMS vs. PLEs and beyond has been raging for years, malady but with the increasing impact of Web 2.0 technologies and the shift towards more open philosophies (Open Source, buy Open Content, mind etc.) and associated high impact applications of these (facebook apps, now OpenSocial) it seems to have gained momentum as is evident by a spike in the discussion I noticed this week. Now we all now this isn’t a simple question of right or wrong – the arguments are complicated. But to pick up the gist of some of the recent arguments for and against (or perhaps it might be more appropriate to say round and about!!) have a look at a couple of the postings yesterday - Martin Weller’s ‘The VLE/LMS is dead’ referring to Scott Leslies ‘Loosely couple teaching’ “versus” Niall Sclater’s ‘The VLE is dead, long live the VLE’.

I don’t want to repeat the arguments they make, but want instead to take a student perspective on all this, namely my own. As I posted recently here and here I have started an OU Spanish course. The quality of the materials are excellent and it’s great to have both books and pdfs and I have downloaded the audio files to my iPOD and listen to it in the car (still in the keen stage as you can see ;-)). But the social dimensions of the course are important to me as well. I had my first audio conference this week via Lyceum. It was great to connect with others on the course, the tutor gave clear objectives for the session and steered us well. My version of the system kept falling over which was irritating but that’s technology for you. My main point is this. In the course web site (which is generally very good) there is a discussion area using FirstClass – ‘great I thought, a chance to make connections with others on the course’. A dip into it and I saw hundreds of messages across disparate courses and so gave up. In contrast, during the audio conference, a couple of us side chatted, mentioned we were on facebook, five minute after the tutorial finished I got an email from one of the other students pointing me to a group set up in facebook for our cohort, I joined and was soon adding to the discussion area and exchanging initial thoughts on the course. Somehow I can’t see me using the firstclass area much…

One Response to “A student’s view on things…”

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