1. General Information
WebLearn: Allowing members of the University to create and store materials to support their teaching and learning activities. Easy to create and upload materials, easy to foster collaboration and easy to secure access.
"All of our course outlines, timetables, lecture notes, reading lists, and resources are available on WebLearn. [....] It makes communicating information and sharing resources extremely effective since anyone in our course, including the administrator, can provide or receive up-to-date information at any time of day." - a Medical Sciences student
Read the latest news and views in this blog centred mainly around WebLearn.
WebLearn is a web-based Virtual Learning Environment (VLE), which can be used to both support and enhance teaching and learning. It provides tools to enable University members with very little web experience to set up a structured web site and provide an excellent resource for their students.
WebLearn is a free service offered to any member of the University - areas are available for all departments, faculties, colleges, schools and other administrative units to focus their electronic teaching and learning activity.
- make announcements;
- share, protect and search for hand-outs, course notes, presentations, podcasts, movies and other multimedia resources;
- set and submit electronic assignments (with optional Turnitin plagiarism detection);
- disseminate reading lists with live links to OLIS;
- promote groups discussion with forums and chat rooms;
- carry out online opinion polls;
- deliver course evaluation and feedback forms;
- advertise and locate graduate training courses;
- perform formative assessments with multiple-choice tests and the like;
- publicise events via the course schedule (calendar);
- enable collaborative authoring within a wiki (which also supports mathematical notation);
- sign-up for tutorials;
- store private files online;
- work with collaborators from other institutions who can easily be issued with their own username and password;
- host surveys;
- and much more!
WebLearn areas can be made publicly available or restricted to specific individuals or ad-hoc and predefined groups. It is also possible to stipulate exactly what site members are allowed to do once they have entered a site. The system contains information regarding course and departmental affiliation for all staff and students, and it is this information that can be used to restrict access. As all areas are arranged in a hierarchy that matches the University's organisational structure, this promotes casual browsing.
WebLearn is based on an open source Collaborative Learning Environment called Sakai CLE. Sakai CLE is used in many of the world's leading Universities such as Cambridge, Yale, UCB, Stanford, ANU and MIT and is administered by the newly formed Apereo Foundation.
To establish a presence in WebLearn, your Head of Department or College will need to authorise somebody to become a 'Local WebLearn Coordinator' and complete the Request for an Administration Site form. Once your department has an Administration Site, it is worth consulting with colleagues and deciding on a mutually agreed structure for consistency, for example, information could be provided by year, by course, by year or by tutor: there are a number of options. IT Services is very happy to offer advice on good practice in this area.
If you are unsure as to whether your unit has requested a presence or want to find out who your Local WebLearn Coordinator is then please consult this list of Administration Sites.
The Request for an Administration Site form also includes a set of guidelines for use of the system. For example, heed must be paid to copyright issues and there is a legal requirement that all material posted for download by students should be accessible (SENDA).
IT Services is happy to offer expert advice about building up an effective departmental presence. To request a one-to-one meeting please contact the WebLearn team by email. Unfortunately, IT Services is not able to actually create course material for departments, however, a commercial service is available from the Technology-Assisted Lifelong Learning Unit (TALL) which is part of the Department for Continuing Education.
IT Services also offers a service based on Microsoft SharePoint. In order to make it easier for staff to know which service is most appropriate, the WebLearn and Nexus teams have written a paper entitled 'WebLearn and Nexus – which tool for which activity?'
Did you know that students can use their mobile phones to sign up to a tutorial or seminar, read WebLearn announcements, listen to a podcast on the train, or access library, weather and travel information?
Visit Mobile Oxford to take advantage of these features.