Friday, 1 June 2007

Creating an Online Classroom

The Nicenet Classroom Assistant is a really useful tool which enables teachers to very quickly and simply create their own virtual learning environment. I’ve been using this with various classes and groups of teachers for the last 7 or 8 years and it has remained reliable, stable, safe and free.


Features
The VLE it creates has a number of useful features.
  • A messaging function which allows registered users to send personal or group messages to others registered on the VLE (this can be configured to forward messages on to email addresses if the user so chooses)
  • A conferencing function. This acts like a bulletin board where threaded discussions can be created around tasks or topics.
  • A link sharing resources where the tutor and / or users can post and share and annotate links to external sites. This can help to focus your students’ use of web resources.
  • Document publishing. This can be used by either tutor, to publish course materials, or students to publish their work.
  • The tutor has access to administrative functions that will allow them to configure the degree control they retain over these features.
  • The tutor can also set up and schedule tasks for their students to complete within specified deadlines.

Why I like it
This is a really good simple and free solution for any teacher that wants to start exploring online or blended learning. It’s very safe as only registered users have access. Users can only add text, as it doesn’t support picture formats. It enables teachers to create a forum for online communication even for younger learners who don’t have access to things like email.

Because the VLE is text only, it makes it very quick to move around within the environment even if users are accessing the site through a dial-up connection.

The features of the site are integrated so you can set up a task within the conferencing section, provide the resources within the link sharing section and get students to submit completed work and publish it within the document sharing section.

Tutorials
Here are some tutorial sheets showing you how to create your own classroom and manipulate the various features. These tutorials were developed for a workshop presentation that I delivered in Cordoba Argentina. This wokshop was sponsored by the British Coucnil in Argentina

I hope you find this tool as useful as I have. Good luck with your online teaching.

Nik Peachey

3 comments:

Sheryl Nussbaum-Beach said...

Thanks for sharing. I wanted to add your blog to my RSS feed but didnt see a link?

SUSAN BURG said...

thanks for your interesting links which I have saved in my susaneb.wordpress.com

keep on webbing!
Susan

verĂ³nica criado said...

THX for sharing your expertise!!!
I just wanted to share with you this cool place where to collaborate with educators and create virtual classrooms www.TappedIn.org