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Virtual Learning Platforms Thread, VLE Options... particularly online quizzing in Technical; Hi all, I have to say after 3 years of having a Virtual Learning Environment within our school it hasn't ...
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    VLE Options... particularly online quizzing

    Hi all,

    I have to say after 3 years of having a Virtual Learning Environment within our school it hasn't really taken off in the way we had hoped with only a couple of departments using it regularly. With students having alternative access to files remotely (with no additional work required for staff) and limited interest in staff quizzing students remotely we are fighting a losing battle to get staff interested in using the VLE (and to some extent I can see their point). Our renewal is coming up in a few months and I have been asked by our head to investigate other options that may be suitable. So far I have looked into the following, with the final option being what we are considering strongly at present.

    • Continuing with our current VLE provider and paying the annual fee for very little use
    • Using Google Apps (something we are currently investigating anyway) in conjunction with sites to allow students remote access to files and quizzing using forms. Although on the service this seems like a great idea - saw a great example of it in use at BETT - from what I can tell the group sharing facility and forms testing has some really severe functionality missing at present (such as being unable to push files and collections into users areas based on groups) which rules it out as a standalone replacement at present.
    • Setting up a locally hosted moodle server (we have the hardware capacity) and provide staff who want to continue using the VLE with training to move over to the new system.
    • My favoured solution: Using our current remote access system for access of files from home, in conjunction with a standalone testing and quizzing platform. Ideally this will be easy to use, will integrate with AD and allow staff to quickly and easily setup tests which can be issued to groups of students. I suppose my main question is does such a system exist?


    Is anyone else thinking of (or has) ditched their VLE and what was your decision making process like?

    Thanks for any help in advance,
    Michael

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    mthomas08's Avatar
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    We ditched ours for Frog our staff suffered the exact same thing that you are - Lack of interest.
    This was due to a number of factors for us:
    Staff didnt feel like they had any input
    They had to wait for the 1 person to get it done (Only he knew how to edit anything)
    Took forever for changes/updates to be implemented
    That 1 person was also hard to reach or contact
    The look and feel of it was appauling

    At the top of my head they were the ones, but there is probably more. We had the choice of Frog or Moodle (the moodle choices we found didnt suit what we wanted). We wanted complete control and no additional costs for more users, space used, sites and bandwidth. We also wanted something which could be made to look fancy in little time that we could also edit if we wanted with several staff and not 1 single person being responsible for it. So after doing our long list of *wants* Frog was the closest thing.

    We had talked to SMT and Staff about what they felt over our current VLE, SMT decided perhaps we need some thing else to take us forward. So we in IT and the Head of ICT researched for months in to VLE Choices and when it came to costs we also planned for a 5-7 year Ark at least and not the typical 3 years. Frog being incredibly expensive in the short term but long term it changes (when you are paying some one a lot of money dedicated to Web Development for 5+ Years).

    In total it has taken us about a year to get a new VLE, we really did put the hours in to it

    *edit

    We also did a lot of survey monkey's for staff and students because the VLE is important to the students as well and if the kids want to use it more then staff will too. Since getting Frog I have had more interest in the last 3 months than the 4 years of our other VLE.
    Last edited by mthomas08; 15th February 2012 at 10:41 AM.

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    The list if items that you have provided can all be done using StudyWiz. You can host the installation yourself, and it has the option of integrating with Google Mail and Google docs. It also has the ability to map what they call the E-Locker to the home dir in school.

    IMO the VLE platform is to some extent irrelevant. If staff don't want to use it then they won't use it. It just depends on the staff you have. Ours isn't very difficult to use and the staff have had 2 training sessions on how to use it, and yet it still doesn't get used as much as it should be. If the SMT/SLT are not behind it pushing it forward then it will not get used. There is only so much that we can do from the ICT side of things.

  4. Thanks to HodgeHi from:

    funkyfin2000 (17th February 2012)

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    I think the key to interest in a VLE is getting the pupils excited and using it. At Abbots Hall Primary school each class has a blog where pupils can share things a la Facebook. They also have their own pages to talk about themselves. Another good feature is the Quiz. The teacher can easily set up a simple quiz with multiple choice questions. The pupils enjoy going on at home to complete it. the teacher can see the reults and send them back a message congratulating them. It's going really well.

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    Using Google Apps (something we are currently investigating anyway) in conjunction with sites to allow students remote access to files and quizzing using forms. Although on the service this seems like a great idea - saw a great example of it in use at BETT - from what I can tell the group sharing facility and forms testing has some really severe functionality missing at present (such as being unable to push files and collections into users areas based on groups) which rules it out as a standalone replacement at present.
    Setting up a locally hosted moodle server (we have the hardware capacity) and provide staff who want to continue using the VLE with training to move over to the new system.
    We use a mix of the above. Moodle is create for course management and Quizes, whilst Google apps is great for collaborative work and sharing. THe two mix very well.

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