J. Madrid1, F. Hernandez1, M. Romero2, A.F. Pelegrin1

1University of Murcia (SPAIN)
2Open University of Catalunya (SPAIN)
In the framework of Higher Education, there are many Information and Communication Tools (ICTs) that could be applied to the teaching-learning process. However, nowadays the Virtual Learning Environments (VLEs) are becoming more and more important. Therefore, it is necessary to characterize the use of these tools by our students, which could help teachers to understand the real impact of this technology on their students. Detecting habits and deficiencies in the management of these platforms, will help to improve the educational quality. Some Universities have chosen models of Virtual Campus based on proprietary or open-source software, meanwhile others, like the University of Murcia preferred to develop its own VLE, named Services of the Open University of Murcia (SUMA). The aim of this study was to characterize the students' access to the virtual learning environment SUMA, in the field of the Faculty of Veterinary (University of Murcia). A questionnaire was developed to obtain information about the use of the VLE. This research was conducted during the academic year 2009/2010. A random sampling was conducted among veterinary students, obtaining a sample of 177 surveys. Data analysis was performed using several statistical tests. The habitual place of residence was set as the preferred connection site (88.70%) and more than the 50% of the students accessed to the VLE daily. On the other hand, no significant difference in the access-time item was found based on the gender.