Last updated: 08.02.12

Online learning 'an enabler for teaching'

Online learning courses have been highlighted as a method of enabling teaching by Thomas Buckley, assistant vice-president of academic services at the Wilfrid Laurier University in Waterloo, Ontario, Canada.

He noted his educational facility is not in a rush to adapt new forms of technology into the classroom, but pointed out some of the benefits of e-learning for students.

Speaking to IT World Canada, he explained online learning must always be viewed as an enabler for education in an academic context if it is to be a success.

Mr Buckley compared online learning systems to the way similar products are used in the private sector in order to boost productivity for businesses.

"If it's not based on sound pedagogy it's like automating a bad business process. You just make mistakes faster," he told the news provider.

The assistant vice-president of academic services noted he is often asked about the future of online learning, but claimed it is impossible to predict without knowing how teaching itself is going to change over the course of the next decade.

"We're very careful and very deliberate to ensure what drives the choices in technology is the pedagogy that's happening in our classrooms," he said of the adoption of e-learning at the Wilfrid Laurier University.

However, Mr Buckley praised the online learning system in place at the educational facility, pointing out it has enabled an instructor to be able to gather a group of students to work on a project in their own virtual classroom.

The comments from Mr Buckley come shortly after it was announced that the e-learning courses offered by the University of Texas (UT) at Dallas in the US are to be expanded.

Dr Darren Crone, UT Dallas eLearning director, announced Blackboard Learn is to be launched by the educational facility, which is less of a "walled garden" than its predecessor.