Date:     Wednesday 18 Mar 2009
Time:     18:30 – Tea 6:00pm for 6:30 start
Speaker:     David Morris – Coventry University www.coventry.ac.uk/researchnet/d/153
Location:     AS124, Coventry University


Just when we thought we had it all sorted, life got interesting again……

In the mid 1990’s we began to build university-wide intranets to help manage teaching and learning content. However we struggled to add any interactive activity around this content. Then our problems seemed to be solved with the emergence of VLEs (Virtual Learning Environments), new-fangled software systems built on web technology. For the next five or six years we spent our time steadily developing the technology, adding functionality, improving the user interface and speeding the systems up. The gold-plated VLE was here, we knew where we were going and pretty much we were on top of the technology.

But then two things happened. Firstly “the no significant difference” phenomenon gained ground. Put simply, for all the money spent on the technology, it was very difficult to see what difference it made to students’ learning. Secondly, Web 2.0 arrived and we began to see all the inadequacies of our gold-plated VLEs. We had to begin thinking again.

In this wide ranging and highly absorbing lecture David Morris described the e-learning journey over the last ten or so years from a small-scale cottage industry for enthusiasts to the cutting edge systems we develop and run today. We also debated the future of learning and teaching and how technology is fundamentally changing the nature of universities. Did you know Coventry University is the third biggest commissioner of building projects in Coventry city centre? did you know that most of their course material will eventually be online? Did you spot the change to their home page, and the “Facebook” type interfaces they now have there?

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