Saturday, November 5, 2011

The Problem

We have created o-vl.com because we found education a chore. We were told, "Do this! Learn that list! Remember everything!" ... and we didn't. Now we are lecturers and we found ourselves telling our students, "Do this! Learn that list! Remember everything!" ... and funnily enough they don't either. There had to be a better way.

This site is our attempt to find that better way. The problems start with those teaching. We all want to make things as understandable as possible for our students, so we present the material in a way that makes sense to us ... and that may not be the way that works for our students. Therefore, on this site we present the materials as a web page for quick assimilators, as a PDF for those who prefer to take away a printout to work through it slowly, as a sound file for those who learn by hearing it and visually for those who prefer learning through seeing. Learning their way, not ours.

Each aPage (short for atomic page) is a seperate, self-contained piece of learning. An aPage would be one side of paper if printed and only addresses one piece of knowledge. For example, someone might select the book called Software Development and then choose a chapter (a learning criterion) and then you can drill down to an aPage, say, The story of programming. If there are additional materials, such as coursework templates or
subsiduary handouts, these can be found on the chapter page (click on the criterion
page).

Two of us are dylexic and we are also aware that those coming to o-vl.com may have eyesight problems. Dyslexics tend to prefer a pastel colour for reading since the glare of the white background over-powers the letters. This is why the default background colour for the text is a pale yellow. However, you can change that by choosing a different colour from the Content colour drop-down. You can also increase the font size by choosing from the Font size drop-down, if that helps.

Coursework can be completed a bit at a time and stored on the cloud so that marking and feedback are quick. This increases student participation and motivation. It allows the monitoring of progress so those who need more support get it. It allows students to progress at their own speed, which means those who are faster are not held back whilst the slower ones are not pressured by the faster ones.

Lecturers can then hover, cross-legged, one foot off the ground and say "
It's over there ... and it looks like this!"

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