Virtual learning environment (VLE) or managed learning environment (MLE)
According to the Wikipedia, a virtual learning environment (VLE) created in the virtual space, is a set of teaching and learning tools designed to enhance a student's learning experience by including computers and the Internet in the learning process. The objectives of a virtual of a virtual classroom are to improve access to advanced educational experiences by allowing students and instructors to participate in remote learning communities using personal computers; and to improve the quality and effectiveness of education by using the computer to support a collaborative learning process.
The principal components of a VLE package include breaking curriculum into sections that can be assigned and assessed, student tracking, online support for both teacher and student, electronic communication (e-mail, threaded discussions, chat, Web publishing), and Internet links to outside curriculum resources. In general, VLE users are assigned either a teacher ID or a student ID. The teacher sees what a student sees, but the teacher has additional user rights to create or modify curriculum content and track student performance.
The terms virtual learning environment (VLE) and managed learning environment (MLE) are often interchanged. There are several types of virtual classrooms provided on the internet; some of them are online presentation slides as a representation of white board, video conference which use web camera for distance face to face teaching and learning activity.
Some of online virtual classrooms are integrated with chat box to get teacher and students keep communicating with each other.
How can we take advantages of the Virtual Learning Environments in our EFL class?
Virtual Learning Environments grant teacher with a wide range of new possibilities to make the teaching process a magnificent adventure. .
VLE can help teachers and support staff manage and deliver a variety of daily tasks, including:
general class administration and organisation, the creation of lesson plans using existing resources, assessment and monitoring of students, allocation and marking of on-line assignments,discussion and support with students on line. Aditionally students can:submit and track their assignments on line via a personal home page, they can also contribute to and participate in discussions with classmates and other schools via the various tools. One of the most beneficial effects of the VLE is that the students can work at their own pace within and out of school,complete their worksheets and tests online for final submission and grading, and attempt offline assignments with instructions and guides from the learning platform.
Among some of the most common VLE platforms are: Moodle, Alado,Elluminate, Wiziq.
As I am making this reflection I am also realizing how far I have come regarding ICTs.
I still remember when I first started this Master program, and some of my classmates talked about different things I had no idea of.
One of these things was about Moodle. Albis, Cesar and Lisbeth were very familiar with the Moodle platform, since they have it at their working place but I had never heard anything about it. I wouldn’t dare to ask because I thought I was supposed to know what that was. Actually I hadn’t even known how to spell the word, to be available to look it up in Google.
Now that I have taken this ICTs course, I have finally learned what Moodle, Allado, Elluminate, and Wiziq are, and now I can laugh at myself, and share this with all of you. .
I first became familiar to Wiziq, as I was required to present a class on line for another subject, but fortunatelly for me the class was finally scheduled to be, face to face. This was a great relief for me, but it also meant that I wasn't going to have the chance to practice with the Wiziq platform.How about that?
Nowadays I feel more confident and can actually not only acknowledge what virtual learning environments are, but I can also take advantage of them. To be honest I now understand the amazing tool they are for us teachers, nevertheless I need to get more involved in these virtual environments and take more advantage of the benefits they offer.
My Firts Virtual Class.
Yesterday 7 /23/ 20011. I thought I was going to have a nervous wreck because I was scheduled to give my first Virtual class. I can't start to explain what can of feeling overcame me.Having butterflies in my stomach is an understatement. I kept reviewing my presentation, which at the beggining I was so confident about, and feeling not so sure as time passed. Then a classmate and I realized that the time schedule was not the correct one, because in Venezuela there is a 30 min. difference from the time we had originally set. So we had to rush and tell everybody about our mistake, which meant that I no longer had as much time for the presentation, as I thought. A total stress.!
Finally the moment came. Being in front of a computer talking to a group of students that you can't see, is very weird. Additionaly I had to follow a protocol and read the chat to see the questions, answers and comments, but once I got involved in the class, as much as I tried, I totally forgot about the chat and I couldn't answer anybody's comments or questions.
I surely need to improve that aspect for my next class, because the chat truly represents a powerful tool, aside from being a way to connect with the audience.
Then the class started and I got myself involved on it, explaining and showing the powerpoint presentation I had prepared, but even the supposely easy task of presenting the slides, was dificult. I know now that I need to develop multi - tasking powers.
Instead of moving forward the presentation I moved the slides backards and then forward again, and then I got all lost. Additionally, it seems my computer camera is very sensible to movements and the teacher told me I got her dizzy, because I was moving a lot. ja ja ja.!
I trully was not moving that much but we found out about the camera later.
So as you can see there are many aspects that have to be considered when teaching succesfully on a virtual class. Hopefuly I would be able to improve, as time passes and I do this again. For now I need to recover from this wonderful, but very very frightening experience.
By the way I got a very good feedback from my classmates and from the teacher, which in the end is what counts.