BY LEAH MORROW
Phase one is complete. Over the summer Conestoga College’s Virtual Learning Commons underwent some drastic changes. Though the VLC is still a work in progress Conestoga students have much to look forward to.
The new website is now easier to navigate and geared directly toward students. Unlike the old Virtual Learning Commons that was categorized by service area and topic, the new VLC is set up so that students can easily find resources themselves.
“We tried to compile all the relevant information into one place,” said Erin Ross, VLC/Communication staff member. “All of the tool kits on the VLC have links to other areas of the college that might be beneficial to students. For instance, if a student were to click on group work, there are links so that students can book a meeting room or study space in the library.”
There are no PDF or Word document downloads on the new site – everything is already there on an interactive webpage. This means that students can now access the Virtual Learning Commons through their mobile devices and tablets.
The new VLC offers learner profiles, including quizzes that students can take to help figure out such things as their strengths, weaknesses, personal learning styles and study habits.
“By understanding how they learn, whether it be hands on, auditory or visual, they can understand how to study better and access resources for that style,” said Shannon Glachon, manager, First Generation.
After taking one of the quizzes, the interactive site provides suggestions on areas students could improve upon as well as offering resources specifically tailored to them.
There is also a calendar on the VLC’s home page where students can sign up for workshops or events that they are hosting.
Though this is only phase one of the new Virtual Learning Commons, there are many exciting plans for the website. Right now students are only able to book tutors online but in the future the VLC hopes to improve upon this.
“We hope to further develop the site so students can book all appointments online,” Ross said. “They wouldn’t need to come in or email us.”
The department plans on conducting further studies and arranging focus groups to gather more information on how they can provide further support to students online.