A Virtual Learning Environment like WebLearn can facilitate distance learning that is the match of Oxford-based courses for quality and experience, according to Dr Catherine Walter, Department of Education. Dr Walter teaches the MSc / Postgraduate Diploma in Teaching English Language in University Setting, a mainly virtual course attracting applicants in many different countries.
With colleagues she tailored WebLearn's community building tools so that students could take full advantage of her teaching and course materials online - centred around weekly postings of module topics and tasks - and support and learn from each other in a chatroom dedicated to feedback and discussion.
Teaching online is every bit as time-consuming as tutoring a traditional course, and may require you to do things a bit differently. But tools are there that could ensure delivery of teaching, encourage exchange, facilitate group discussions and feedback, provide training in research skills, and provide pastoral care for students.
Make sure that students are competent with the technical aspects of the course before teaching begins, including VPN, WebLearn, online library access and email.
– Dr Catherine Walter, Department of Education