Virtual Learning Environments (VLEs) are central to the learner and educator experience. They have the potential to open up learning opportunities to a significant community of students for whom traditional in-class participation may not be possible. An effective VLE must include support for instructional design, learner community fostering and communication, teamwork, media production and management, analytics, assessment and feedback. At WIT we believe there is no single VLE capable of delivering such a service coherently. Our strategy is to unbundle the VLE into constituent components and services and reassemble a learning technology platform (from multiple sources) using a more loosely coupled, federated approach. In addition, the platform requires a suite of low cost media production studios deployed at the institute and also off site.
We call this strategy TutorStack https://www.slideshare.net/ColmDunphy1/tutorstack-links.
TutorStack consists of 4 layers:
At each layer we have evolved a set of requirements, technology choices, guidelines, examples, supporting infrastructure and staff training resources and materials. WIT’s first fully online synchronous and asynchronous programme, the HDip in Computer Science, utilises the TutorStack approach https://withdip-comp-sci-2019.github.io.
This T&L initiative will focus on enhancing TutorStack layers (1) and (4). In the Instruction layer we will extend our instructional design system with learning analytics, with a focus on gaining deeper insight into student engagement and learning material interaction patterns. In the Media layer we will continue to streamline the production processes and introduce new delivery media options and support systems.