Can videoconferencing support open learning communities?
The virtual learning environments LearningSpace and LabSpace are part of the OpenLearn initiative, launched by the UK Open University towards the end of 2006. Self motivated learners and educational practitioners have now access to thousands of learning hours for several topics of course materials, in 3 different levels (introductory, intermediate and advanced). In addition, open learners can take advantage of the collaborative tools provided in the websites, in order to communicate with fellow learners, as well as share and reuse course materials. FM has been integrated with the Moodle based environments as a PHP block, providing links to the booking page, demo, private and public events. Anyone in the world can get an account with the OpenLearn websites and use FM with their fellow open learners.
In an open learning environment, in addition to other well-established ways of communication, such as email, forums and instant messaging, videoconferencing transforms synchronous communication with the use of multiple media.
(excerpt from a public FM on statistics: http://fm-openlearn.open.ac.uk/fm/fmm.php?pwd=608a58-162&jt=00:04:30) RR: “When on-line learning just came it was just an expansion of the email system, it’s really terrific to see some of the directions which it’s gone, including this type of online discussion that we’re having right now” BB: “This is a great addition to the class, Moodle just has a text chat, this FM is actually free servers, which ah actually comes from the UK. So, our communication goes through England, … and it’s entirely free”
Over 800 naturalistic meetings not including the word ‘test’ in the title have been recorded in the FM-OpenLearn server in various languages. Over 80 recorded events are syndicated at the FM folksonomy, mostly including moderated project meetings, webcasts, virtual seminars, interviews and peer-to-peer meetings.
For more information, please contact
Dr Eleftheria Tomadaki
The Knowledge Media Institute,
Open University, UK homepage