Online Workspaces and VLEs

Learning Objectives

  • explain what an online workspace and a VLE is.

Learning Outcomes

Must – understand what online workspaces and VLEs do.

Should – discuss why people use online workspaces and VLEs to work and learn.

Could – recommend to the business why they should look at using online workspaces and VLEs.

What is an Online Community?

An online community is a group of people who meet up online.  For the exam, you need to recognise that there are lots of different online communities, the features of each online community and their functions.

The following are examples of online communities:

Social Networking – e.g. Facebook

Webmail – e.g. Google Mail

Blogs – e.g – Twitter

Virtual Learning Environments (VLEs) – e.g. a school VLE such as Belper’s WebLearn.

Online Workspaces – e.g Web Conferencing

User Generated Reference sites and Social Bookmarking Sites e.g. Pinterest and Wikipedia

Virtual Words – e.g. Forums and Messageboards.

Online Workspaces and VLEs

Online Workspaces provide an online community for a group of people who work together, whereas Virtual Learning Environments (VLEs) provide an online community for a group of people who learn together.

Online Workspaces

Online Workspaces provide a virtual space for people who work together to meet, share files and work collaboratively online.  Google Drive, through its use of Google Docs, Sheets and Slides allows users to share and work on the same document at the same time.

For example, a spreadsheet shared through Google Sheets can be edited at the same time by different people who it has been shared with and saved with each edit.  This cannot be done on a normal file as it can only be edited by the person who originally opened it.

Online Workspaces allows colleagues to chat using instant messaging chat features.  Files can also be shared quickly.  Some online workspaces allow users to conduct online meetings using webcams and VOIP so it acts as a video conference.

Virtual Learning Environments (VLEs)

A VLE provides information to students to allow them to learn.  It contains information such as the course details, information about tutorials, lessons and topics.  A VLE is built to allow remote learning through the Internet.  For example, a student can access a school’s VLE and login to a GCSE Science course to access additional class and support notes about a topic studied in class.  These will have been uploaded by a teacher.  The VLE helps to encourage students to learn independently.

Other features of VLEs are that they have tools to allow students to submit class work for marking.  The work is marked by the teacher and the work returned electronically with the teacher’s feedback.  Teachers can post interactive quizzes, questionnaires and polls to aid learners.  Some VLEs allow students to message and communicate with teachers and other students to ask for help and guidance.

Google Classroom is a tool provided by Google which teachers and schools can use for free to communicate as a VLE to students.

Task 1a

Exam Question

Paolos Perfect Pizza Company have installed an online workspace on their computer network and also provided it to their restaurants.  Explain using examples how collaborative working could take places using the online workspace.

(6 marks)

Task 1b

Exam Question

Discuss the advantages and benefits of using a VLE such as Google Classroom to a teacher in a school who uses very little technology in their lessons.

(6 marks)