MyVLE: A case study in building a universal telematic education environment for a small university
Here we report on the design, building and testing of MyVLE, an internet-based e-learning system that provides a universal telematic education environment for educators. The system was designed from first principles with strong support for numerical disciplines integrated at the outset. From a pedagogical aspect the system is unrestricted in so far as possible to allow various theories of learning to be explored as different disciplines may demand. We consider it a universal system in that it supports broad-spectrum flexible learning from purely online to blended, without administrative overhead. Key features of the environment include interactive forums, comprehensive equation support, interactive testing, digital drop off boxes, integration with existing university computer systems, comprehensive marking management and user interaction statistics. The system was built extremely quickly and inexpensively through an agile software engineering process. The finished environment was tested in a pilot study across 2,700 students over 24 months across 29 disparate courses in a variety of modes. Results suggest that the system performed extremely well. This work should be of interest to researchers in e-learning as a consequence of the finished system's modest build cost, rapid deployment, scalable architecture, pedagogical flexibility and recorded impact.
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