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Transition to the next generation of e-learning: using mind mapping and accessible web pages as part of a university’s academic staff training

Author(s): Anne Dickinson

Journal: ITALICS
ISSN 1473-7507

Volume: 5;
Issue: 4;
Start page: 122;
Date: 2006;
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Keywords: Course Genie | e-learning | Inspiration | online learning | training

A new online learning system, WebCT Vista 4, was piloted at Coventry University and in autumn 2006 replaced WebCT Campus edition 4.1, which had been in use at the University since 1999. Because of the significant differences between the old and the new systems, a substantial amount of academic staff development is required - both for existing users of WebCT and for those across the University who are finding it necessary to become WebCT users as a result of the University’s commitment to implementing an online learning environment.As a recognised pioneer in the implementation of institution-wide online learning technologies, Coventry University provides fertile ground for a case study of how staff training needs in supporting online learning can be assessed and addressed. Drawing on learning technology theories and software that was already available to University staff, namely Inspiration (mind mapping) and Course Genie (electronic course production within Word), gave the author an opportunity both for introducing the software and for making exemplars of the material for Vista 4; furthermore, making sure that what was written was accessible for all.The author of this case study was responsible for writing the training materials, both for academics and students. Drawing upon experience in the Further Education sector, and in particular for people who are disabled, the author made use of an issues-based method that highlights procedures that can be followed to achieve the most effective use of the online learning environment by academics and students.
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