UTILITY OF THE FORUM RESOURCES IN THE VIRTUAL CLASSROOM APPLICATION FOR UNIVERSITY STUDENTS IN THE SUBJECT “ENVIRONMENTAL CONTAMINATION”
Universidad de La Laguna (SPAIN)
About this paper:
Appears in: EDULEARN09 Proceedings
Publication year: 2009
Conference name: 1st International Conference on Education and New Learning Technologies
Dates: 6-8 July, 2009
Location: Barcelona ,Spain
Abstract:The Virtual Classroom is a teaching and learning environment located within a computer-mediated communication system. The educational methodology utilized for the concept of the Virtual Classroom reflects asynchronous group communications and collaborative approaches to education and training. The student is an active part of a learning group but proceeds to learn and understand on an individual basis independent of the speed of other learners in the group.
The Virtual Classroom has been used in the optional subject “Environmental Contamination”, given in Pharmacy, La Laguna University, during the academic course 2007/2008. The study was conducted under a funded project by the University. The Virtual Classroom was designed and utilized to supplement magisterial lessons, laboratory practices and seminars as well as field activities. The total timing included a 70% of face-to-face teaching and 30% of Virtual Classroom. The Virtual Classroom was organized to timely include class resources and activities, in concordance with the face-to-face lessons. The mentoring program of the subject included 10 hours in a face-to-face environment and 46.5 hours in the Virtual Classroom. The overall assessment took into account the involvement of the students in the virtual platform.
It was intended, during the design of the Virtual Classroom, to perform activities which actively were going to involve the discussion of the students, taking advantage of the social concerns about environmentalism and contamination arisen in the last years. In this sense, three different general Forums were used in the Virtual Classroom, the “Notice board Forum”, the “FAQs-students Forum” and, mainly, the “Subjects for Environmental Contamination Forum”. This last Discussion Forum was the focus of this study. The Forum was used as a learning area, and it gave the students the role of assessor or designer of their own education, by choosing an environmental topic and preparing it for the rest of the students.
The main objective of this work was to evaluate, qualitatively and quantitatively, the involvement and acceptation of the Forum Activities in the Virtual Classroom by the students.
Keywords: virtual classroom, forum activities, student s motivation.