Sunday, June 22, 2008

Article in NRC on Weblectures

It is rather frustrating to write a blog entry on a newspaper article which is not freely available online, In this saturday's NRC (Education and Science supplement) there is an article on recording lectures. In this article you can find references to the Dutch 'entrepeneurs' in this field (TU Delft and Triple-L) and to the findings we published at Utrecht University.

Saturday, June 21, 2008

In Twente VLE team advises Blackboard

The quickscan report on Blackboard as a VLE for Twente university is now pulic and can be found at: It is a very interesting report for the Dutch VLE watchers. After havng looked at Sakai and Sharepoint, both received a very critical quickscan. Neither were considered suitable as a VLE for Twente. And at the end of the process Blackboard popped up as an option, and very interestingly students had an important role in this decision. Based on this quickscan Blackboard has proven to be the best option as a VLE for Twente, though the decision will still have to be made by the university board.
Utrecht will be presenting its advice to the university board very soon, the question will be if they arrive at the same conclusion or advise reconstructing Sharepoint into a VLE....

Sunday, June 15, 2008

Presentation at Biology on Weblectures

Wednesday the 13th of June I was asked to give a presentation on Weblectures at the Biology department. Elly Langewis was kind enough to record the audio during the presentation. Using slideshare I have created a slidecast, you can find it embedded below.
I am very interested in the outcomes of the evaluations after the final exam of the Biology course that has been recorded. In this course both weblectures and audio podcasts were offered. I am very intrigued how students have used these two different solutions and which they preferred.

At the end of the presentation I was not surprised to find that the teachers present were apprehensive. In the past the worry they conveyed was that students would not come to lectures anymore. The evaluations in previous courses quickly dispelled that concern. They found an other worry in its place: Weblectures would prevent students from acquiring the academic skill of sitting still and taking notes in two sittings of three quarters of an hour. This argument was a little strange for me. In evaluations students have answered that they do not make less notes due to Weblectures. As one of the teachers stated: in the old days we had to concentrate for three quarters of an hour, let them learn to do the same... It felt as a slight fear of modern technology and its possibilities. Fortunately slides, overhead sheets, powerpoints and video have already been incorporated into lecture halls, so I do feel that the teachers will need to have the chance to adjust to this new technology and make it their own. A forceful approach does not feel in place in a setting like this one.

Friday, June 06, 2008

One VLE: the preferences from Social Sciences

Here at Utrecht University we are in the process of deciding on one VLE for the university. I have been busy collecting opinions of teachers, students and supporting staff in the previous months. Our findings and some comments students made can be found here.
Some of the most surprising comments: they would rather have clear courses which are easy to navigate, teachers using the same headings for the same matters, don't mix personal with study related matters, the teacher is respected for his expertise: his/her contributions should be clearly distinguished from the contributions of fellow students...