Virtual Learning and Higher Education

Virtual Learning and Higher Education

Virtual Learning and Higher Education

Virtual Learning and Higher Education


"This book is aimed at researchers of topics such as technology-driven Education, Philosophy, Innovation and Cultural Studies. It is also meant to appeal to anyone with interest in the impact that the technological virtual will have upon Higher Education in future." Title Summary field provided by Blackwell North America, Inc. All Rights Reserved


This book began as one of the main products of a conference entitled ‘Virtual Learning and Higher Education’ held at Mansfield College (Oxford) in September 2002. The conference led to much discussion, mostly carried out, appropriately, via the Internet, to which both original conference delegates and others contributed. As a result of these ‘chats’ it became clear that the Internet affords a significant challenge to Higher Education (HE) and it is far from clear how the sector would be best advised to respond.

In selecting the chapters for this book I have tried to preserve some of the diversity of opinion presented at Oxford. Despite this diversity however, there is a consensus among many individual contributors, including myself, in seeing both the tremendous potential modern information technology affords and the many potential pitfalls it harbours. I have tried to preserve the philosophical nature of this At the Interface series by including only chapters that deal in some way with an issue or problem that ‘Virtual Learning’ affords. Papers that described simply how to create such ‘spaces’ were rejected outright. Perhaps it was Mark Stiles’ contribution that surprised me most revealing as it does his split persona. Here is an educator who has designed and constructed one of the most extensive and user-friendly of virtual learning tools, COSE and yet here too is man who has clearly defined issues with the use of such tools both for now and in the future.

The book is divided into three main parts with the chapters arranged in a 4-3-3 formation: ‘Frontierland: Exploring the Uses of Virtual Learning Environments in Higher Education’; ‘Into the Unknown: Charting the Future of Virtual Learning Environments in Higher Education’; and ‘Looking Before Leaping: Issues in Virtual Higher Education’.

In Chapter One, Kate Boardman and Mike Waring outline and explore the use and potential of a Virtual Learning Environment (VLE) developed to improve access to reflective practice and a researching pedagogy in the development of physical education trainee teachers and their mentors as part of a predominantly school-based one year PostGraduate Certificate in Education course of initial teacher training.

In Chapter Two, Melissa Lee Price and Andy Lapham examine how mode of study, course of study, and previous educational background relate to students’ perceptions of the distance learning experience. Results show that students who were re-entering higher education after a number of years adapted to the ‘any time, any place’ of asynchronous teaching with a higher level of satisfaction than ‘traditional’ students. Traditional students also wanted more synchronous online meetings and felt more isolated during the learning experience. The non-traditional students were intimidated by the educational experiences of the traditional students and . . .

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