Tuesday, September 26, 2006

U Manitoba VLC

The University of Manitoba (Learning Technologies Centre). Peter Tittenberger and others have created the Virtual Learning Commons: “We wanted to develop a site that recognizes that a student’s personal development is not separate from his or her academic development, that informal learning plays a crucial role in academic development, and that learning is a process of social participation,! ”).

Think 43 things and you have the basis for the VLC, but with an educational slant. VLC allows students to drive social dialogue through posting subjects of interest and being connected with others who have similar interests. This is a great way to integrate student support into student activity. There are also a sprinkling of pre seeded links connecting to styudent support services provided by the University (like essay writing, reserach assistance, etc). But student to student support is also a fallout of this approach. Like a hive of bees students can connect with many others and exchange thoughts, ideas, resources - a constant, dynamic network of exchanges, social discourse. A subset of social learning (i.e. available only to registered students) whose uptake will demonstrate that students come to scholl not just to learn, but to connect, to socialize, and learn in so many richer ways than through the organic structures (classroom, teacher to student) framework of the existing educational process. What a great hive for evaluation - to find out what students are really interested in, what they really want help on, and what they really want to be able to do.

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