All fall semester 2006 courses using the WebCT Campus Education and Blackboard programs provided via Instructional Technology have been moved to WebCT Vista, a virtual course environment built to support different teaching styles and learning needs.

Blended learning lends basic, advanced options

Faculty using a basic approach to blended learning with WebCT Vista may post the syllabi, create learning modules with course materials and assignments, use assignment submission tools such as Turnitin, post grades in the gradebook and communicate with students.

At a more enhanced level, faculty build upon the basic blended learning approach, employing UAB’s official learning-management system and other instructional technologies. The instruction delivered to students is objective-based and uses discussion boards, chat and whiteboard, multimedia technologies, on-line group assignments, assessment and surveys.

With an easy-to-use interface, WebCT Vista offers a complete set of features for faculty and students such as assignments, assessments, learning modules, syllabus, calendar, chat and whiteboard, discussion board, gradebook and course mail. WebCT Vista is designed to provide immediate value to faculty as they prepare, deliver and manage their courses, and university administration expects that all courses will employ at least the basic level of features by fall 2007. WebCT Vista will also be used to roll out a number of online training courses for employees, as well.

Kathy Jackson, a student in the School of Health Professions, says she likes how the virtual program approach has been used in her classes.

“I thought it was a good tool,” she says. “I really liked that the course materials – including the activities, assignments, communication tools, instructor feedback and grades – are all in one place.”

Instructional Technology’s Karen Shader says another advantage of using WebCT Vista is that Turnitin, a plagiarism prevention program used by thousands of institutions in more than 80 countries, is completely integrated with the system.

“When the Turnitin feature is selected, every paper submitted via the assignment feature in WebCT Vista is compared against the most comprehensive digital repository of potentially plagiarizable material,” Shader explains, noting that the Turnitin repository currently consists of three primary databases – both a current and extensively archived copy of the publicly accessible Internet; millions of commercial pages from books, newspapers, and journals; and tens of millions of student papers already submitted to Turnitin.
If you would like to enhance your course and use a basic or enhanced blended learning approach through WebCT Vista:

• Finalized content in the development section

• WebCT Vista training is available to faculty who want to use a basic or enhanced blended learning approach in their courses.