REQUIREMENTS OF VIRTUAL LEARNING ENVIRONMENTS IN THE EUROPEAN SPACE FOR HIGHER EDUCATION
1 Universidad Franciso de Vitoria (SPAIN)
2 Universidad de Alcalá (SPAIN)
About this paper:
Appears in: INTED2009 Proceedings
Publication year: 2009
Conference name: 3rd International Technology, Education and Development Conference
Dates: 9-11 March, 2009
Location: Valencia, Spain
Abstract:This paper aims to analize the requirements of b-learning tools and the possibilities of adapting existing e-learning ones to satisfy the needs of the new educational paradigm proposed by the European Space for Higher Education.
The Bologna Declaration was an initiative of twenty-nine signatory european states with the objective of making European Higher Education more compatible and comparable, more competitive and more attractive for Europeans and for students and scholars from other continents. The three priorities of the Bologna process are: Introduction of the three cycle system (bachelor/master/doctorate), quality assurance and recognition of qualifications and periods of study. This implies important changes in the organizative aspects of our spanish university system, but also in the pedagogical and methdological aspects of knowledge transmission.
The main consecuence is that the traditional methods based on teaching must be substituted by new methods based on learning. This implies, amongst other things, a significant decrease in the classroom contact hours which must be complimented with online learning and other similiar methods. This approach is usually known as blended learning o b-learning.
B-learning is mainly focused on increasing the quality of learning, giving the student a greater responsibility and improving the quality of the educative aspects by redesigning the materials. In this context a well designed b-learning tool may notably easy the change in the education paradigm proposed by the Bologna Declaration: on one hand it would permit the user to exploit the learning possibilities that computer networks can offer and on the other it helps with the organization and support of the face-to-face intruction. So far, most popular virtual environments are mainly learning management systems focused on e-learning. In this paper we analize the requirements of b-learning tools and the possibilities of adapting existing e-learning ones to satisfy the needs of these new educational scenarios.
Essentialy, two are the aspects that would have to be improved in the e-learning tools to bring these up to the specs of the Bologna Declaration: The functionality related to the face-to-face instruction and the introduction of new roles. Related to the first one, several functionalities have been identified:
(i) Organizer, to establish the timetable for regular face-to-face sessions of every course and managed the classroom, conference rooms, laboratories and other places available for such sessions
(ii) Scheduler and Attendance Control, focused on scheduling the face-to-face activities within a course and controlling and reporting students and teachers' attendance
(iii) Personal classes / Tutorships, eveything related to this activity, which takes a key rol in the new education paradigm
(iv) Extracurricular Events and Activities, to manage the information related to these events, crucial in a university context, and
(v) Library services, to manage resources and information for learning and research.
According to these functionalities, new roles would be necessary apart from teacher and student: University coordinator, Major/faculty coordinator or extracurricular activities coordinator, among others, having certain priviledges to manage and solve incidents in their fields of responsibility.
We would like to thank the Spanish Ministry of Industry for supporting this research Project SUMA FIT- 350503-2007-8.
Keywords: the bologna declaration, european space for higher education, virtual learning, b-learning tools, e-.