Is which VLE even the question to ask?

I’ve been up in Inverness as part of a panel looking at UHI’s VLE strategy for the past couple of days (I write this while delayed at Edinburgh airport – not the best place to spend your Friday night). A few things about the rather intense two day process – the first was how much it mirrored the debates we had gone through at the OU. You find yourself continually oscillating between options, which demonstrates that it is a hard decision. The second issue was the tension between what is needed or good now, and what is the better long term, strategic option. The third is the manner in which the decision making approach itself influences the outcome however much we might like to think it is a purely objective, rational process.

What was perhaps different was that with the advent of web 2.0 and portals was whether choosing a VLE was that important anymore. In the end I think getting that enterprise system in place is actually a vital step in then moving beyond it. Even if the technology was mature (which it isn’t) an institution couldn’t go straight to an open portal-based PLE type environment without first having gone through the centralised VLE stage. You have to suck everything in before you can breathe it all out.


  • Tony Hirst

    Maybe if the PLE 2.0 world is that attractive, students will use those apps rather than VLEs, just logging in to the VLE every so often to suck out the content into something more useful?
    Of course, we can make that hard for people – not providing APIs/open data etc.
    People tend to use what they’ve always used (unless they’re into social networking, in which case they go where their friends are). IT skilling is going to play a part in the argument too, i think.
    I am quite confident that i can pick up any pen, any pencil, and take notes with it; i’m also confident about writing a doc in word, zoho, google docs, an html editor etc; some people wonlt be – some will only want to use word.\But I wonder, are you coming to a time where s/w apps are like pencils, and we use what is to hand?
    In which case, why do HEIs insist on making their students use chisels, quills or pencils with pre-broken leads?

  • Alistair

    We’ve just signed up for the new MOOPLE (My Open Online Personal Learning Environment) which seems a greta open platform and allows us to build our own online learning environment from the Web 2.0 apps that we like. Best of all it is free after paying £100 for setting up single sign on with Google Apps for Education. (www.moople.net)

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