ICT TEACHERS’ AND DISTANT ICT STUDENTS’ APPROACH TOWARDS WORK AND COMMUNICATION IN VLE
The recent technological developments have created a qualitatively new virtual communication medium in the hope that it will be effectively used in distance learning/teaching. In this article, we describe the reflections of teachers and students, communicating in a virtual learning environment (VLE) in a distance learning course. Representatives - professional ICT teachers and 4th year students participated in this research. The aim of this research: compare the theoretical expectations related to VLE, the ICT teachers’ and students’ experience in building practical skills via work in a VLE.
1) to reveal the expectations related to the employment of the VLE based on the analysis of the scientific literature;
2) to discuss the peculiarities of the ICT studies;
3) to discuss the needs of contemporary students;
4) to summarise the experiences of the teachers‘ and students‘ work in VLE on the basis of qualitative study.
The methodology applied for this research includes the following methods: scientific literature analysis, interview, descriptive content analysis of the responses to the open-ended questions.
1. The distinction of the strengths in the early publications on e-learning and teaching can be identified as the teachers' expectations to supplement and correct teaching materials; to provide text, video, audio material; to change the graphical user interface in the teaching environment; to develop tests and use automated test assessment; to listen / access training materials for an unlimited number of students; to teach at the comfort of students’ home. These expectations are justified when teachers improve their e-teaching competencies.
2. In teaching programming practice is an essential part of it, thus, even the form of teaching is changed. Lectures and laboratory work are changed into the practicum, and the exams and midterms include writing programmes for the assigned tasks. Virtual learning environment provides for the ICT students theoretical part and a variety of examples explaining how to perform one or another task. Practical work consists of individual tasks and each student's task is assessed, which is uploaded by the student in the virtual Moodle environment or presented orally in class.
3. Contemporary students are the representatives of different generations with different needs. University teachers have to work with a heterogeneous audience (as regards the differences of age and abilities).
4. The results of the qualitative research reveal that the successful work in the VLE is strongly influenced by the timely student counselling, and the assessment of the work carried out with the comments; teacher work time management is problematic; assessment process is different from the traditional; the work in a virtual environment causes negative emotions for some teachers; feedback in this case does not always allow the teacher to understand how students have mastered the material. Distance learning is convenient and successful if motivated people participate in this process of learning