Lauren Anderson, 21, is in her third year studying marketing at the University of Hertfordshire. On a work placement at the university’s Blended Learning Unit, which explores ICT for university use, she’s a great enthusiast — “even more so since I started here and found out about the virtual world Second Life and Smirk [software that can transform Powerpoint presentations into weblinks, adding video if required]”.
All Hertfordshire courses are built on and around StudyNet, the university’s own virtual learning environment (VLE). “It’s really useful,” Lauren says. “It’s got all the lecture notes, so you print out Powerpoints before the lecture; it’s got all your booklets, reading lists, assignments and assessments on your log-in, so you can check all your module grades; and it’s also got online revision tasks and quizzes, which I used a lot last year. Some modules have an online multiple-choice weekly task for 10% of the marks. I’m probably on StudyNet several times a day.”
She and her friends spend lunch hours in the learning resource centre when they are working on a wiki (an open-source website, like Wikipedia). Last year’s retail marketing module made use of a wiki, allotting 5% marks to individual work and 10% to group work. It was moderated every day by the lecturer. “It was good to see contributions noticed so quickly.”
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