Learning database software engineering from within virtual environments

Wade, V. P., Grimson, J. B. and Power, C. (1998) Learning database software engineering from within virtual environments. [Conference Proceedings]


Increasing class sizes, expanding curriculum, added time pressure on students and lecturing staff, contention for library resources and study space as well as the cost of educational administration are common problems being experienced within Irish and UK universities today. To alleviate some of these pressures and to improve the overall quality of learning within a university, there is a discernible movement toward enabling and encouraging student centred learning experiences within course curricula. This paper first identifies a range of IT services that are currently being used to support learning within universities. The paper then focuses on one of the increasingly important areas of IT enabled learning, namely virtual learning environments, and identifies general requirements for such environments. The paper describes a virtual learning environment developed at Trinity College Dublin, which seamlessly integrates courseware delivery, participant interaction and dialogue, access to external systems and educational management systems. The experience of applying this virtual learning environment, based on World-Wide-Web technology, in the area of database software engineering is discussed and an overall assessment is presented. The paper concludes by looking at possible Future directions of virtual learning environments and World-Wide-Web delivered courseware.

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