Online learning a first for 15,000 students
Tuesday, 12 February 2002
STUDENTS studying at Adelaide University this year will become the first in the institution's 128-year history to benefit from a new online education system that covers each of the university's 2500 courses.
A new web-based initiative called MyUni has been established. The new system, which is ready for first semester this year, is set to revolutionise learning and teaching at Adelaide University.
Every student at Adelaide (around 15,000 in total) will have their own personal MyUni homepage that provides information unique to the courses they are enrolled in.
By using MyUni, students can:
- receive course material online, such as lecture notes and assignments;
- discuss their work with other students and staff via email and discussion boards;
- receive reminder messages for lectures, tutorials and major events;
- hand up assignments and view their results;
- and make use of other personal tools, such as task lists and calendars.
MyUni is the result of more than 12 months of planning and testing by staff and students at Adelaide University.
"The system is not designed to take away from the face-to-face interaction you find in the lecture theatre, seminar room or laboratory," says the director of the Learning and Teaching Development Unit, Dr Geoff Crisp.
"Instead, it complements and enhances the students' learning experience and provides them with a range of services in the one package that was previously not available.
"It's not just a static system -- it offers students an extra level of interactivity with each other and also with staff. We've created an environment that is friendly and easy to use, and both staff and students will get as much benefit out of it as they like."
Demand for a university-wide online learning system came from the students themselves, Dr Crisp says.
"The flexibility it provides to students is an important issue. Those who have difficulty attending lectures because of work commitments or who need to check an important point about an assignment should be able to find what they need on MyUni, from home if need be," he says.
MyUni can be accessed from either home or campus-based computers, providing an extra level of flexibility and convenience to students.
From as early as this March, students who want to access MyUni from home will be able to use a new student dial-up service to access the University directly. This free service means the students won't have to log onto their normal internet service provider to access MyUni from home. The University is installing 1000 modems to cater for student demand, with more to be installed if needed.
In a further benefit to students, the University's Online Education Helpdesk will provide extended support for students and staff, up to 16 hours a day, seven days a week.
"MyUni is a major step forward for Adelaide University," says the Deputy Vice-Chancellor (Education), Professor Penny Boumelha.
"It opens up new educational opportunities for students on campus and provides more options for distance education, allowing us to become more flexible in our teaching and learning.
"This is one of the most significant changes to the educational environment at this university in many years, and we expect that our students and staff will reap its many benefits in the years to come," she says.
Centre for Learning and Professional Development
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