Structures, water, computers, languages and people (not necessarily in this order)

Benchmarking virtual campuses

After visiting three on-line campus in my longlife learning process I made the following comparison:

a) UNESCO - Delft (by Edumedia)

- Designed only for Internet Explorer users.
- Participants do not need to have any particular software on their computers for using the learning system and taking modules.
- 100% multimedia slides are offered in nearly all the modules.
- Lecturers can be reached by e-mail, phone and Skype and they use to be kind and patient.
- Colours of the learning environment are nice and everything seems easy to find.
- Continuous evaluation.

b) UNED - Spanish Open Univ. (by Webcat)

- Mainly thought for Internet Explorer users but Firefox can be used in most of the cases.
- Most of the teaching material is under HTML/PDF format but traditional books are still the main source of information.
- Very little multimedia materials (mp3 and videos) are offered.
- Professors can be contacted by e-mail and phone, but it is not an easy task to get their attention.
- Nice colours and fonts of the learning environment.
- Interaction among students is frequent but there is very little (or no) dialogue between students and lecturers at the fora.
- Some items (tests, examinations, downloadable software, etc...) are difficult to be found.
- Continuous evaluation is rare. Lots of tests and former exams are offered for self-evaluation.

c) UPM - Technical Univ. of Madrid (by Moodle)

- Given that platform is W3C compliant, it is fully independent of the browser of the student.
- The students need to have MS Office, AutoCAD or similar software to run some educational materials.
- The courses do not offer 100% multimedia materials. The course is great for deaf people!!!
- Lecturers can be reached by e-mail and fora easily and at any time.
- Combination of colours is a bit boring, some items are difficult to find and participation of the students is not fully encouraged.
- Continuous assesment.

Related: Benvic project