The moodle experience

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Moodle, the UAL’s new virtual learning environment (VLE) has been operational for about a year now. Each course has a site, and students can use it to check timetables, download files or access a brief, for example. To introduce a VLE into any institution at a time of rapid socio-technical flux can be problematic, especially with so many competing digital platforms vying for students’ attention, such as Facebook, Google Tools, Twitter, or blogs.

In this article Sarah Kante takes a look at the user experience of Moodle, asks a range of students – the primary audience – how they use it and what they think of it, and tries to understand how this very important educational tool might be improved. Continue reading

Online learning: mutuality and desire

 

Copyright Svala Regnars, MA Photojournalism, LCC

Copyright Svala Regnars, MA Photojournalism and Documentary Photography, LCC


I was struck by the comment of Sarah Kante, a recent UAL graduate, who explained, “What really is missing in an online learning environment are the creative physical environments, the people we meet, and of course, the technicians we all rely on so much.” Coincidentally, the previous evening I had read an interview with CSM technical specialist Billy Dickinson who, when asked about his biggest creative inspiration, replied “The students. It’s inspiring to be constantly surrounded by new ideas and be challenged to support them in finding different ways to realise their visions.”  Whilst not wishing to provide a schmaltzy article about an apparent love-in between students and technicians, I do want to highlight how important these reciprocal creative and respectful relationships are, and how vital they are to a successful and socially constructed art and design Higher Education (HE) experience.

Yes, the calibre and commitment of CSM’s technical staff is impressive; they are as good as it gets. But what I want to take for a wander in this post is the concept of mutuality – the active role of the social situation in the spatial context. However, the focus will be the virtual learning environment, i.e. the digital space, so I’m going to shift attention from the emotional creative relationships in the 3D workshop space, and ponder whether the form of social solidarity that Sarah and Billy expressed can be fostered and sustained in an online art and design learning environment. Continue reading

Exploring online learning for art and design

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As we are well aware, digital technologies have impacted massively upon the ways in which students learn, and how they engage with one another and with the University. The learning landscape is morphing, and technologies are playing an instrumental part, e.g. the rapid expansion of online learning provision through MOOCs, the phenomenal use of YouTube as an informal learning platform, Google’s new Helpout offering, and an array of other online initiatives – all available across multiple personal devices.

In this turbulent world where much formal and informal learning is undertaken online, Sarah Kante takes a swift look at MOOCs, e-learning, and ponders: what is a good online learning experience, and how can it be applied to art and design courses?

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Digital literacy: alternative virtual learning environments

Workflow e-portfolio digital environment

Workflow e-portfolio digital environment

In order to continue the exploration of digital literacy within an art and design HE setting, this post focuses on online distance learning. In particular it mulls over alternative perspectives and seeks fresh ‘ways-in’ that may help to adjust our collective e-Learning spectacles.  As such, it is hoped that a stroll around virtual learning environments (VLEs), and alternative online environments, will prove useful. Desire and virtual communities are the conceptual areas framing this swift adventure. So, one question might be ‘are there valuable insights to be gleaned from alternative virtual spaces that could influence the ways we provide for students online at Central Saint Martins?’ Continue reading

The approach of Moodle

The Centre for Learning and Teaching in Art and Design (CLTAD) is leading the university’s transition from Blackboard to Moodle.  The aim is for Moodle to be fully implemented and available to all UAL staff and students by September 2013.

To help colleagues and students find out about Moodle, CLTAD has developed a really useful and user friendly website called Life after Blackboard.  On it you can also see an interactive illustrated map of the UAL’s VLE (virtual learning environment) which clearly visualises the suite of digital tools, including Moodle, that is available to all courses.  The VLE provides a set of tools that allows lecturers to create and deliver course content and assessments, and communicate via the internet.