Case studies: Integrating the use of web based learning systems into student learning
AbstractCompetitive pressures on universities to adopt flexible learning are intense. Many academics and managers are responding by incorporating web based learning (WBL) tools into the teaching environment. WBL tools have proliferated in recent years, and some can be used to manage entire courses. The simplicity of WBL systems, like WebCT, TopClass and Blackboard, makes their use in teaching an option for many academics, even those operating without institutional support or encouragement.
Academics are seeking meaningful uses of these WBL systems for teaching and learning. The objective of this paper is to describe some meaningful uses with five fictional case studies based on our experiences in innovation and academic development. Our motivation is that academics and academic managers will identify one or more opportunities from the case studies to apply in their own context. Others including Hara and Kling (1999) have identified the need for this research. The case studies show ways in which teaching, learning and administration can be supported, adapted and extended with web based learning systems. Well understood teaching strategies can be improved with simple and easily implemented uses of WBL systems that can benefit on and off campus students. If underpinned by student centred teaching practices, these tools can make significant contributions to the effectiveness of teaching without also imposing an unsustainable demand for resources.
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