Beware the big bill…

March 20, 2010

BBC reports that the EU cap for downloading data doesn’t come into effect until the 1st July.

The consumers’ association Which? is warning that people going abroad with smartphones can still face huge bills if they connect to the internet.

By 1 July, new rules will come into force in the European Union which will cap bills for downloading data.

But, until then, people travelling in Europe could face unlimited bills.

So beware the big mobile data bill if you travel to one of the foreign conferences…

A five stage model for using the VLE

March 20, 2010

VLEs have a huge range of functionality, a lot of criticism often laid against the VLE is that some users are not aware of those functions.

There is often too much information about the VLE for new users who may not understand many of the concepts or have the skills to fully utilise the functionality of the VLE.

Stage One

Upload to the VLE the course resources, handouts, assignments, scheme of work and links.

Now this is something that is often laid against VLEs as why they don’t work as they are merely used as respositories of materials. However practitioners who are unfamiliar with the VLE often need a starting point. To throw the full functionality of the VLE at a practitioner who may be apprehensive about using the VLE and unsure of the benefits, is similar to throwing a learner driver onto a Formula One racetrack!

Stage Two

Add more content try and put up new content at least weekly.

So then you’ll get asked what content should you put up. Well a lot depends on how the practitioner delivers learning, but could include:

  • All the pages from IWB sessions from the classroom;
  • Videos, either embedded, or uploaded, very easy to embed videos from services such as YouTube or Vimeo;
  • Links to e-Books in the virtual library or online libraries;
  • Audio recordings, these could be by learners or by practitioners, an overview of the lesson, topic or subject;
  • Learning objects from Jorum or the NLN.
  • Images and photographs.
  • RSS feeds that learners could subscribe to.
  • Photographs of paper based exercises, if you for example use flip charts for brainstorming sessions, taking photographs of them with digital cameras and uploading those images can make it easier for learners to remember what they did.
  • Don’t forget text!

Stage Three

Add interactivity to the course through the use of quizzes and feedback. Quizzes are often part of the core VLE system, sometimes external quizzes can be uploaded.

Stage Four

Add engagement by learners through the use of discussion forums. Online discussions can engage learners in a variety of learning activities.

Stage Five


By stage five usage of the VLE will be pretty much embedded into the delivery of the course. It will be much easier for the practitioner to offer the course through a blended approach and be more able to deliver learning in times of closure (say through snow).