eBridge is a Virtual Learning Environment or VLE. It is based on Sakai, an opensource VLE product. Currently we are running Sakai version 2.9
Virtual learning environments (VLEs) use computers to allow remote access to learning materials. As the routine use of computers becomes all pervasive, there is an expectation that VLEs form a significant part of the next generation's experience of learning.
A virtual learning environment is an online set of tools and spaces that are managed by the institution for use in supporting teaching and learning. It is password protected and has a number of privilege settings. Typically learners are enrolled on a course(s) that are managed by the subject teaching/support staff. The course is available online and available 24/7 365 days a year with the exception of a short period for nightly backups or upgrades.
Not surprisingly for learners, but for most staff, is that the learners will use the VLE over the full 24hr period and not the 9am - to 6pm of most teaching staff.
A VLE can be used for distance learning courses where all teaching, support and learning takes place within the VLE and also for traditionally taught courses where the VLE is used to further support the learners. This latter usage is called a blended approach.
Typical tools of a VLE include:
- Communication tools (Discussion boards, wikis, blogs, chat)
- Assessment tools (quizzes, electronic submission
- Storage of documents including digital media
- Administration (enrolment, tracking, grades)
Some teaching is now taking place using similar tools to a VLE but outside of the VLE. This approach uses third party tools such as Google Documents and what are often termed web 2.0 tools.
Jisc Guide to VLEs
Jisc InfoKit for developing resources for a VLE