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A course about using electronic technologies
to support and enhance teaching. 

Developed by Tony Whittingham
Go to the Cyberteacher web site

The Virtual Classroom
I cannot teach anybody anything, I can only make them think. -Socrates
Introduction | Learning Gateway | Activities  | Assessment | Follow Up
The virtual classroom may be defined as a teaching and learning environment that provides access to a range of electronic resources to enable the achievement of learning objectives at times and places of the learnerís choosing. The virtual classroom is more than a repository for online courses. It should provide students and teachers with access to communication facilities as well as information, resources and links to support both teaching and learning.

Student-centered learning  
2. Writing intensity  
3. Highly interactive discussions
4. Geared to lifelong learning
5. Enriched course materials
6. On-demand interaction and support services
7. Immediate feedback
8. Flexibility
9. An intimate community of learners

At the completion of this module you will be able to use the FrontPage software to create a 'Virtual Classroom' web site that will provide students with online access to information and services that may include: 
1.Teacher information, virtual office hours, announcements
2.Course description, course outlines, syllabi, and assignments
3.Lecture outlines, class notes, and web bibliographies
4.Testing and grading information, sample tests or test questions
5.Course management policies, means for submission of assignments
6.Communication facilities such as bulletin board, email, and discussion forums.
7.Support links such as libraries, tutoring services, travel information.
8.Links appropriate to lectures to assist students with review of material

Learning Gateway

The following extract from a Cyberteacher's web site illustrates a range of services available to students and teachers in a virtual classroom:

"Hello everybody! My name is Paolo Cutini; I am a teacher of English interested in Informatics applied to education, since I am persuaded that the new technologies are an extremely useful instrument to use in addition to the traditional educational resources: every day, in fact, I can appreciate their great effectiveness on the students' motivation for learning. This Website, whose appearance and structure are deliberately simple, has been created with two basic aims: making some educational resources available to teachers and students of Senior secondary school level and, above all, experimenting with some innovative ideas, such as the possibility of doing on-line exercises whose result is emailed automatically to the teacher. All this has been made possible by both the instruments and the information available on some of the Websites listed on the links page as well as the invaluable contributions from the people who run them. If you like, you can contact me by e-mail, or filling in the feedback form."

A description of the various learning activities supported by virtual classroom technologies.

If you are planning on using technology to enhance your teaching, then this is the guide for you!

Here is a review of recent research that reveals three areas that can enlighten current online learning practices. The three areas are: a) individual differences, b) instructional design, and c) specific skills that are enhanced by online environments.

Instructors must rethink the way that they teach to create an interactive learning environment in a web-based format. Suggestions on how to address classroom management, technical difficulties, and course evaluation are given in this article.

There are many sites that provide information on teaching and learning on the web. This site from the Maricopa College provides over 1000 examples of how the web is being used as a medium for learning.

Cyberteacher sites provide a wide range of teaching support services. Here are some examples for you to review and from which you may gain ideas for your own Cyberteacher site.

Mr Brown's Cyber School

Tony Whittingham's Cyberteacher site

An english teacher's Cyberteacher site

A Cyberteacher site that includes a portal to a wide range of teaching resources

An example of a cyberteacher's home page for a specific subject



Creating a Virtual Classroom

A good way to start a Virtual Classroom is with a web site that introduces the teacher to students, provides links to subject information and teaching resources, a link the teacher's BLOG, and a link for sending email to the teacher. To maintain interest and encouragement for students to use the site it must be regularly updated. 
Designing a screen template and style guide prior to web site development can ensure a consistent screen interface for students using the web site and simplify progressive development of the site by reusing the template for layout of content.

Refer to this activities handouts for instructions on designing and developing your virtual classroom using the FrontPage software.


Self Assessment

You should now be able to use the FrontPage software to develop a web site for use as a virtual classroom that supports and complements your traditional teaching activties.


Follow Up

Publish your virtual classroom and promote its availability to your students and peers. Enhance your web site to include all of the services listed in this module's objective. Examine other virtual classrooms for ideas to incorporate in your web site. Conduct a survey of your students for feedback that will enable you make your 'classroom' more responsive to their needs.



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