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Theme: Strategies and innovations in teaching and learning

A Virtual Learning Environment: supporting student learning on-line

Mary Peat, Biological Sciences
The University of Sydney

Whilst teaching budgets are falling and student numbers are rising those of us responsible for the provision of appropriate quality learning experiences for large numbers of students have been looking at alternative strategies to fulfil the expectations of both the students and the administration. In First Year Biology we have been working on the development of a Virtual Learning Environment (VLE) which offers both access to various learning materials and access to other students and staff. In particular we needed to consider the various requirements of our large heterogeneous group with varying incoming academic backgrounds and interests. In an attempt to offer them a greater flexibility in the learning environment we originally launched a Virtual Resources Room in 1997 and this has been remodelled and enlarged to offer the students more materials and functionality and a focus on individual units of study. The paper will show how the learning experiences of first year biology students at the University of Sydney are changing and how we have addressed student needs whilst maintaining the quality of the experience

Full Paper in MS Word

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