How suitable is Wimba Classroom as an online learning tool and as a medium for producing Reusable Learning Objects?
The Brookes Student Learning Experience Strategy (Oxford Brookes University, 2006) proposes eight strategic activities to guide its future planning. These include increasing the diversity of the student body, developing the quality and diversity of staff and making more effective use of Brookes' facilities. The Strategy then suggests that it is seeking to establish learning environments that provide students with the opportunity to use technologies to enhance their particular learning styles.
Data gathered from the Unite Survey supports this and confirms that students want more access to technology, smaller teaching groups and more lecturer contact time.
The Green Paper: University strategy 2010 to 2020 further confirms this activity but asks the question how do we achieve it?
The Brookes e-learning strategy proposes that Brookes' students should be digitally literate and capable of using an ever expanding range of digital technologies. In order to be able to achieve this, the strategy suggests that staff should personally experience Web 2.0 technologies (e.g. wikis for collaborative learning) so that they can inform their students.
With the increasing growth and therein importance of e-learning as part of both a blended learning environment and a wholly online learning environment at Brookes, there is a definite need to improve staff e-learning skills.
The Media Workshop is responsible for training staff to use all aspects of e-learning at Brookes and as such it has developed a wide range of courses that staff can attend for free. The sessions run several times a semester and are available at different times and dates to try to accommodate staff needs. However, over the past few years there has been a significant decrease in the number of staff attending the traditional face to face e-learning training sessions. Through the use of questionnaires it has been established that one of the reasons for this poor attendance is the lack of time available for the traditional face to face sessions. Respondents felt that the benefits they would receive from attending the sessions did not out weigh the time costs they would incur and therefore they chose not to attend. Respondents from campuses other than Headington suggested that the sessions might be delivered in an online format to negate the need to travel to Headington. Another issue with the scheduled sessions was that if staff did not use the skills they had learned at the sessions they soon forgot what they had learned. Therefore interest was expressed in the idea of RLOS that could be used repeatedly to consolidate staff learning as and when staff needed them.