The learning environment

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The eCampus Online University is an educational and training service structure. Service means selective supply for stated and unstated needs and its value depends on the profit the recipient obtains.

The effectiveness of this supply depends on the assessment of the needs we intend to meet, the approach taken, the results obtained and the level of the recipient satisfaction.

The fact that education and training are inviolable services, and in our case non-profit services, does not exempt our structure from adopting an organisational pattern that makes supply and demand effectively work together in an economically advantageous way. The organisational pattern regulate the transition from a theoretical plan to a concrete fulfilment of University.

Education and training service supplied by eCampus University consists of a three subsets infrastructure:

• governance system,

• management system,

• e-learning system.

The problem of making the learning environment extremely clear and easy to use to the students, avoiding them unnecessary anxiety, frustration and the risk of withdrawal, has been solved by choosing simple, friendly technology solutions available in various hours and through a clear and continuous information, in addition to some opportunities of direct meetings.

Essential function of every information environment that is properly established in a service institution is to control and enhance incoming information (input), to manage the consequent “productive” activities, to monitor and capitalise the results (output). In the most wide information background of this University, the e-learning infrastructure we developed - the platform – performs the above-mentioned functions to protect the whole learning and training process. In particular, it takes into account the value students perceive and the service qualifying factors they esteem:

people.

People are the key factor of the service whose quality depends on the way people interact in terms of communication, efficiency, service style. eCampus University learning environment has been designed to make e-learning system access and availability easier to students, to allow a more personal relationship between teacher and student and between tutor and tutee, a more personal learning course, guidance, comfort and hospitality.

facilities, technology, learning techniques.

A serious analysis of learning needs together with a reliable assessment of proficiency will afford to meet students personal demand with an adequate educational offering, guaranteeing them advantages in terms of personal learning and of learning in virtual classroom.

information.

Our system ensures information flow in every necessary way, in terms of control, evaluation, traceability and privacy whatever is the content of the information: subjects content, recruitment rules, administrative files, procedure of service provisioning (synchronous and asynchronous activities, forum, email, chat, videoconference, test and exams requiring physical on-site presence).

eCampus University provides a service that respects multimedia standards, interactivity with materials, human interactivity, personalisation of courses, collaboration among subsystems provided for by the Interministerial Decree of 17th April 2003 (Art. 3, Paragraph 2).

1.1 Learning process requirements

Our platform in keeping with SCORM standards aims to create a learning environment where human and personal aspect predominates over the mere information sharing, despite the spatial and temporal distance.

From a methodological point of view some distance learning platforms use the ‘open and distance learning’ method, that is independent learning but students can be provided with learning support of teachers and tutors.

Although this learning method has been adopted from us, our platform is mainly based on on-line learning and students are never alone, even if they are separated by spatial and temporal distance. They are tutored and spurred to interact with the other players in the learning process (students and tutoring staff) setting the stage for sharing and collaboration. Students can experience a background of both socialisation and learning, in addition to the possibility of individual learning. To do that, our platform provides students with a range of on-line collaboration tools (Forum, Chat) and teachers and tutors with tools to monitor activities and to personalise learning courses.

Communication is the centre of learning and is guaranteed by transparency of information and materials present in the system, in addition to specific technological solution aimed to improve student/teacher relationship and to substitute the absence of non-verbal elements through the Help Desk service centrally managed.

1.1.1 Supply and availability modality

Platform settings meet the following learning needs that are necessary to create an effective learning environment:

  • User friendly and intuitive interface, to minimise the impact with a high-tech reality and to make its use in the learning process;

  • Receipt of simple and standardised learning materials to allow teachers to simply use the existent cultural heritage and the learning materials interaction in compliance with SCORM requirements;

  • Interaction tools among the various players in the online learning process: tutors, students, experts. Our system provides the possibility of using interaction and sharing tools such as Forum, Chat and Schoolbag, a space to share material with teachers;

  • Personalisation of students learning course. Our system provides the possibility of starting personalised learning courses helped by tutors through the "Gestore Piano di Studi Personale" (Personal Programme of Study Management) tool;

  • Interaction with traditional system of electronic communication to avoid technological interference. Our system provides the possibility of informing students about eventual communications of their degree course by sending them emails;

  • Learning course assessment. Our system provides the possibility of creating a range of multiple choice tests and open-ended questions with self-assessment;

  • Tutor support tools to monitor students interactions and presence/partaking in the degree course activities. To do this a monitor detects the access to the learning materials and to the communication rooms in case of both sending and receiving. It promotes the eventual course adjustment to perceive the level of attention and of attendance of students, despite the physical distance between students and teachers.

1.1.2 Defining user profile

Depending on the user our platform confers restriction/authorisation in using the available tools. At the present moment the user role (technically called profiles) to access the platform are the following:

1. Administrator

This user can access every tool available in the platform; he can totally manage the flow of creation and supply of the courses (teaching subjects), monitor and control the activities, supply contents manage users and their profiles.

2. Teacher

This user can access every learning and information tool of his own teaching course. He can enter and modify lessons by using supporting tools to design and create his learning materials: "Editor Progettazione Propri Insegnamenti" (Editor to design teaching subjects). He can manage every communication with the students and access online information about his examination sessions to chair.

Profile features:

  • login and password,

  • personal data,

  • place of residence and domicile,

  • email address,

  • teaching subjects,

  • students assigned.

3. Tutor

This user can access every learning and information tool relating his tutoring activity and individual consulting, his management and supervision of learning groups.

Profile features:

  • login and password,

  • personal data,

  • place of residence and domicile,

  • email address,

  • students and virtual rooms,

  • Management of Personal Programmes of Study of each student assigned,

  • virtual class roll (calendar and meeting tracking both online and face to face).

4. Student

This user can access every learning and information tool.

Profile features:

  • login and password,

  • personal data,

  • place of residence and domicile,

  • email address,

  • enrolment documentation,

  • degree course,

  • personal programme of study,

  • teachers and tutors assigned.

5. Student service office

This user can access every administrative tool and information about students learning activity, teachers and tutors activity that are useful to manage courses, lessons and examination sessions programmes.

Profile features:

  • login and password,

  • personal data.

Any other user (and profiles) can be introduced on the basis of a well designed organisation and/or designed learning when required.

Access rights of every profile are the base of the whole Identity & Access Management system.

All data, including sensitive data, are processed in compliance with the regulations of the “Documento Programmatico di Sicurezza” (DPS) (Programmatic Document on Security), provided by this University in conformity with the legislative decree 196/2003.

1.1.3 Functions and tools

Every course supplied by the platform contains learning environments divided in:

1. Class

It contains learning materials (documents repository), that are the structural content of the course, in keeping with SCORM standards and supporting learning tests.

2. Asynchronous Communication

It contains tools for communication and sharing among students.

Every student can access email and forum tools.

  • Email : one-to-one asynchronous communication.

  • Forum : one-to-many asynchronous communication.

3. Synchronous Communication

In our e-learning system we implemented a traditional LCMS system (Moodle) with a property solutions-based system for learning institutions that provide a tutored and controlled learning system. It guarantees students learning success in the estimated time according to the value of the teaching subjects in terms of ECTS credits.

Our system provides a “restricted area” section containing the following services:

  • Chat: to instantly send text message to the chat participants; users can send message to all chat users, to teachers/tutors or to a single user.

  • Let’s Study: to read the scheduled lessons in various formats (Articulate presentations, Flash animation files, Flash images files (JPEG format), Flash videos, PDF documents, Quizmaker assessment tests.

  • Exam booking: students can book the examination sessions, teachers and student desk office can consult and manage the examination sessions.

4. Sharing

It contains tools for sharing files, lecture notes, links to which teachers, tutors and students can get access. It is called "Schoolbag".

  • Schoolbag: self storage tool, lecture notes and scripts with pictures sharing.

5. Guidance

It contains supporting tools for learning to which students can get access, that is News and Help.

  • News: course information tool (activities or tasks that the course teacher needs to inform).

  • Help: supporting tool and online guide to the platform use.

6. Management

It contains tools for administration, personalisation and management.




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