It’s nearly the end of the first week of teaching at the start of another academic year. I spent much of yesterday morning ‘cleaning out’ and ‘cleaning up’ my VLE (Virtual Learning Environment) space for the module I teach on the Victorians in advance of the evening’s class. Due to being absent for some of last academic year I’ve not done any online work with my students for well over a year so I’m looking forward to doing some again. I update my instructions and online resources for the first session of ‘The Victorian Vision Online’ (VVO), as I call the online component of the course and upload them onto our VLE at Wolverhampton (which is called WOLF: the Wolverhampton Online Learning Framework).
Over the summer our VLE got ‘updated’ by the IT team at Wolverhampton who mastermind it. Combined with my general absence from doing online teaching things for a while this means that I also spend some of the morning trying to work out how to do things on WOLF again. As a lecturer one has to come to know and love the idiosyncracies of one’s institution’s VLE: they all have them.
The evening’s class seems to go well, and I’m energised by it. We’re in a windowless, relatively cosy room and if any more turn up next week I will need to order in oxygen, but in spite of the heat the class seem eager and keen to join in. I’m interrupted a few times with some impressive and attentive readings of some of the extracts I have given them.
I spend the last 15 minutes or so introducing the online component of the course. If the students log on to the module on our VLE this is what they currently see. To the left of the screen is a menu that ‘builds’ as the course progresses. For now I’ve added general ‘Welcome to VVO’ details, stuff about Aims and Assessment, and details of the first VVO Session A, which kicks in once the face-to-face class ends.
The activity for this first week is a kind of icebreaker in which the class are invited to post responses as to how they see the Victorians having influenced the postmodern world we inherit today. We did a brainstorm on what everyone knew about the Victorians to start the class, and they have extracts and a few further general quotes on the Victorians to aid their thinking.
I find myself eagerly logging back in after the class and the next morning to see whether anyone has yet posted. Nope. Just after lunchtime today the posts start. The Victorian Vision Online has begun.