Building Communities of Teachers & Learners: The WebCT E-Learning Hub

Building Communities of Teachers & Learners:
The WebCT E-Learning Hub

M.E. Sokolik, Ph.D., Jim Duber, M.A.
University of California, Berkeley
{sokolik@socrates.berkeley.edu, jim@duber.com}

Introduction

Since its inception, the web has been used for content, research, and publishing in educational contexts. In the beginning, resources were limited, but excitement about the possibilities was great. Resources now have reached proportions only dreamed of, but the excitement has perhaps diminished in some ways due to the overwhelming amount of information now online. Instructors often have insufficient time and resources to assemble meaningful materials, and students often lack the skills to evaluate web-based materials critically or find appropriate materials for their work (cf. Berghal, 1997). One answer to this dilemma is the development of learning portals, online locations that offer searchable indices of discipline-specific data, downloadable learning modules, including syllabi, examinations, slide shows, and so on, and areas for ongoing discussion of academic issues.

As more and more courses throughout higher education include web-based components, the goal of e-learning hubs is to:

Community Features

We have been working with WebCT's e-learning hub (WebCT.com), which launched in January 2000, to build such a portal. WebCT.com's purpose is to provide a place where students, faculty, and web education professionals can go to find content and community to support them as they teach and learn using the World Wide Web. WebCT.com enables faculty and web education professionals and institutions to:

WebCT is a robust platform that enables instructors and schools to build database-driven courses and course supplements.

Discipline Support

The strong focus of this experience is community. From the beginning,  faculty and users of WebCT's platform have created a wide network of support through discussion groups and conferences. The WebCT.com e-learning hub extends the reach of support within the disciplines by providing additional functionalities, namely:

There are currently ten discipline-based communities:

Each community is led by one or two community leaders who are experts in the discipline together with a team of forum leaders who are specialists in sub-disciplines of each community. This poster highlights the functionality of WebCT.com and its developing communities of teachers and learners.

 

English Hub Home Page

 

References

  1. Berghel, H. (1997, Feb.). "Cyberspace 2000:  Dealing with Information Overload," Communications of the ACM,  p. 19.
  2. IMS Global Learning Consortium, http://www.imsproject.org/
  3. The WebCT E-Learning Hub, http://www.webct.com
  4. The WebCT Platform, http://about.webct.com

Vitae