The Virtual Campus

Purpose

To demonstrate that distance education delivery for technical training is a viable and attractive option.

To provide the necessary demonstration materials to allow this concept to be successfully demonstrated to other interested parties.

To provide The management with sufficient knowledge of the possibilities of this new-media learning environment to allow The to conduct reasoned and insightful business planning for its adoption.

Hypothesis

Many people wishing to take training leading to a technical career cannot or don't want to attend traditional classroom-oriented instruction. Distance learning can reach these people.

Traditional distance learning has employed the following techniques:

  • CBT, self paced, no remedial help, relies on individual initiative and tenacity
  • Television ("University of the Air"), uninterruptable, constant pace, non-interactive and difficult to sustain interest

An integrated, WEB-based learning environment combines the best features of self-paced learning with the dynamics of leader-led and student-led real-time distance collaboration.

Conbrio Teamwork has built a practical Demonstration Environment to represent our vision of a Virtual Campus.

This Virtual Campus features a university campus metaphor as an easy-to-navigate student interface, which can be accessed from a web browser plug-in. Behind this intuitive interface will be a suite of sophisticated technologies that creates a seamless integrated learning environment for students and administrators alike.

The Virtual Campus is a high-performance, fully integrated, and customizable environment for accessing, administering and managing its courseware.

Virtual Campus Student Environment

The Virtual Campus offers a single, intuitive interface, making it easy for students to:
  • access and design custom study programs
  • take self-paced courses online
  • download courses to their hard disk
  • request courses from an administrator
  • participate in small, collaborate leader-led workgroups
  • attend real-time lectures, plenary sessions and school-wide general-interest assemblies
  • administer quizzes and formal examinations.

The Virtual Campus interface features the following buildings:

The Training Centre: Powered by Nautikostm, The Training Centre provides a complete catalogue of the courses that are available for students.

Following Pathfinder Learning Systems’ Open Learning Protocoltm, Course Builders use enhanced curriculum development tools to build courses that achieve the desired learning objectives while accommodating a variety of learning styles and reading levels.

Nautikostm automates lesson planning, assignment and test preparation, attendance tracking, and test and assignment marking, all while providing the educator with tools to track the progress of each learner.

From the Training Center, course content can be a collection of any and all media available and considered relevant by the course developers. For example, CBT Systems Inc.’s WEB Live Playtm will allow students to interact in real time with information from a web server. CBT’s courseware can also be downloaded from a LAN or web server to a student’s hard disk or to floppy disks. This capability enables students to take courses remotely, for example at home or on a laptop when traveling. Regardless of how courses are accessed—whether via an intranet, LAN, or WAN, public libraries, purchased texts, video, audio, etc.—course design integrity is maintained, ensuring a consistent and effective learning experience.

The Examination Hall: Students can take pre- or post-tests for courses and curricula as defined in Nautikostm. Pre-test capabilities will allow students to accurately assess their knowledge and skill level for a specific course or curriculum so they can avoid using valuable time studying information they already know. This feature enables students to determine a more specific and effective learning path through a particular course or curriculum. Post-testing ensures that students have achieved full mastery of a course or curriculum.

Tests and quizzes randomly generated by the computer gauge the learner's progress and grasp of each individual concept or skill. Upon achieving or exceeding pre-set mastery levels, learners move to the next set of skills in their path. At less than mastery, new assignments are generated for those specific areas requiring further study.

The Library: The Library features a complete catalog of study materials available to students. The list may include CBT Systems courses, courseware from other technology-based training providers, custom curricula, and other materials such as presentations, documentation, course handouts, administrative documents, and instructor-led material. From the Library, students can get detailed information about a course, including the topics covered and the number of hours of study. Students can view the courses by curriculum as well as in a full list of courses. This information helps students in planning and customizing study programs. If students determine that there are courses in the Library that are relevant to their study but to which they have not been given access, they can send course requests electronically from the Library to training administrators.

The Auditorium. Powered by Placeware’s Auditoriumtm, this area is used for guest speakers, general interest lectures and any other circumstance characterized by a real-time, one-to-many, speaker-led discussion. Audio enabled, with presentation, telestrator and other speaker’s tools, the auditorium is a popular and useful building on-campus.

The Classrooms. Powered by ILINC’s Learnlinctm product, the classrooms are for small, real-time leader-led discussion groups to work on collaborative work assignments without physically getting together. WEB-Safari, shared whiteboards, remote application launching all performed in an full-duplex, audio-enabled environment give distance learners and educators a fun and personal tool to complement self-paced training.

The Meeting Rooms. Powered by WEB-Caucustm, students and faculty interact in a variety of course-specific and fun discussion groups. In contrast to the real-time classrooms, where all participants are interacting live, the Caucus Meeting Rooms are virtual (i.e. discussions span several days or weeks, with participants joining in and contributing when it suits their schedule).

The Virtual Campus Administration Package

Pathfinder Nautikostm automates lesson plans, assignment and test preparation and test and assignment marking. This provides the educator with tools to track the progress of each learner.

Pathfinder Nautikostm has been written and tested by experts in education and training. New features add greater flexibility and decrease the time required for curriculum design and development. Developers can enter information more easily due to word processor-like text fields. The unique tab format provides immediate access to all course elements. A new cross-reference structure enables designers to match their jurisdiction's curriculum requirements exactly. Test items and activities can be referenced at any level within the curriculum.

Cross-curricular pull-down boxes speed the building of cross-curricular learning outcomes into new courses.

The Course Developer

Course development takes place on-line via pre-formatted screens. All screens are easy to navigate with simple to use dialogue boxes and wizards. Courses and resources can be easily updated through pre-formatted screens. Pathfinder Nautikostm is based on a standard, non-proprietary database (Sybase) format that makes it easy to integrate with other applications and databases.

The Instructor

Pathfinder Nautikostm provides the instructor with the tools to streamline administrative tasks. Pathfinder Nautikostm automates lesson planning, assignment and test preparation, attendance tracking, and test and assignment marking - all while providing the educator with tools to track the progress of each student.

Pathfinder Nautikostm provides instructors with a tool that enables them to customize the curricula to meet the specific needs of individual school districts, classes and learners. Instructors can add their own learning materials, write their own assignments, test questions and answers or add entirely new courses. All resource material can be easily updated as soon as new resources become available. This is as easy as changing information on a pre-formatted Pathfinder Nautikostm screen.

Instructors concentrate on what they do best: transferring knowledge, providing guidance and acting as resources for the learners.