The effect of using a virtual learning environment on technology students learning experiences – an update

Aidan O’Dwyer

Dublin Institute of Technology

 This contribution will provide an updated evaluation of student usage of web-based resources within the Webcourses virtual learning environment (VLE), and the linkage between the use of these resources and student learning. A previous contribution by the author examined this issue for one first-year student cohort, suggesting that placing lecture material on the VLE does not cause a reduction in lecture attendance, for example.
In a further study, the author has investigated more fully the effect of using a VLE on student learning, for all of the engineering modules for which he is responsible. The VLE is used to store lecture material that users can access at their own convenience, and to enable users to submit assignments; for the latter, students have the option of using the SafeAssign anti-plagiarism tool to ensure that assignments conform to academic standards.
The contribution will detail the effect of the blended learning approach on student learning in the modules, including student experience and use of the SafeAssign tool. In addition, the author will report on whether a statistically significant relationship exists between summative assessment outcomes and student use of the VLE facilities.

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