Università telematica internazionale UNINETTUNO

The Didactic Cyberspace

 

 

The fulcrum of didactic activity on the Internet is represented by the WEB macro-area known as the Didactic Cyberspace, which allows those who participate in this learning process to access the areas relating to their area of study.
In the Didactic Cyberspace a learning and developmental process is implemented through a new approach to communicating knowledge.
There are various ways to access the Didactic Cyberspace through login and passwords on the basis of the three different roles of those who participate in the learning process: Professors, Tutors and Students.
The three categories of those who utilize the service can access information linked to each teaching subject. In particular, the Professor and Tutor can modify or substitute didactic materials and add new ones for the duration of the teaching period, while the student has his or her own area where data, information and personal notes can be inserted.
When you enter the Didactic Cyberspace, you can choose your Faculty and your Degree Course.. Then, through the window entitled List of Teaching Subjects, you can access:

- the The Page of the Appointed Teaching Professor
- the Tutor Page
Within these pages you will find the Learning Environments.

 

The Appointed Teaching Professor Page

This contains all of the functions of the Appointed Teaching Professor and allows access to the following areas:

  • Curriculum vitae;
  • Teaching Program;
  • Conceptual Map;
  • Didactic Material;
  • Didactic Planning;
  • Exam Guide;
  • Exam Calendar;
  • Learning Environments;
  • Links to the Tutor Pages

The Teaching Programme is stuctured in such a way as to contain:

  • The description, objectives and contents of the subject being taught;
  • The specification of necessary prerequisites;
  • The reference to exercises relative to the video lessons;
  • The indexing of textbooks;
  • Key words of the subject being taught;
  • Indications as to the methodology along with study suggestions for the subject being taught.

The Concept Map for the teaching subject presents the title of each lesson, a listing of the topics within each lesson along with bookmarks that connect the didactic materials (books and articles, CD-ROM, bibliographies, site links, exercises and virtual laboratories) relating to the various topics that are treated.

The Didactic Material is comprised of elements that have been prepared upon in an ad hoc fashion by the Appointed Teaching Professor. These can include articles, study sheets, exercises, CD-ROM/DVDs and slides. Select materials prepared by students during their collaborative studies may be included at the discretion of the Appointed Teaching Professor.

The Didactic Planning section depends on the number of academic credits, as relates to the amount of work the student does. All of the Teaching Subjects of the Degree Courses at the International Telematic University UNINETTUNO are presented as a series of modules that have a predefined duration according to the number of academic credits attributed to the course, as has been illustrated before. In the Didactic Planning section, the Appointed Teaching Professor will indicate the approach and timing as to his or her teaching programme, the parameters regarding academic credits and other information relative to the teaching subject.

The Exam Guide specifies the following:

  • How the exam wil be carried out;
  • Prerequisites for admission to the exam;
  • The way in which you can reserve a place in order to sit the exam;
  • Documents that must be presented in order to take the exam;
  • The way in which results are communicated;
  • The way in which results are recorded.

The Exam Calendar displays the following:

  • dates, schedules and places where exams are held;
  • the composition of the exam commission.

The didactic activities unfold within the Learning Environments: the Video library, Media library, Virtual Laboratory and Tutoring On Line. For a detailed description of the different environments, please refer to the dedicated paragraph.

The Links to the Tutor Pages allow the appointed Teaching Professor to have at his or her disposal all of the materials, information and tools relative to his or her own subject.

2.1.1 The Functions of the Appointed teaching Professor

The main activities of the Appointed teaching Professor can be summarized as follows:

  • structure the teaching programme or update/adapt the existing one;
  • invent or revise the conceptual map of the subject being taught;
  • furnish didactic materials for in-depth study;
  • didactic planning of the subject;
  • make the exam guide available;
  • coordinate work with the Tutor;
  • organize and lead discussion forums on topical themes of particular relevance to his or her subject;
  • test the students at the conclusion of each teaching module.

In particular, the Appointed Teaching Professor, collaboration with the Tutor:

  • evaluates the topics of the existing lessons and revises them (by reducing them or by integrating new material) if necessary;
  • indexes the video-lessons (available on video cassette) for the dvd layout;
  • if necessary, entrusts one or more of the Video Professors with the task of recording new video lessons;
  • analyses the existing teaching materials in order to select those that he or she still considers to be valid;
  • defines the contents and type of teaching materials to be produced ex novo;
  • specifies, for all of the video lessons, the count in minutes in order to signal the bookmarks relating to the didactic material.

In the case of recording new video lessons, each Video Professor,, where collaboration with the Tutor is necessary, is mainly occupied with:

  • preparing the professorial lesson slides and recording the video lessons;
  • indexing his or her own video lessons for the dvd layout;
  • completing the conceptual map of the subject being taught, connecting several types of didactic materials for in-depth study to the video lesson topics. These materials can include books and articles, CD-ROMs, bibliographies, site links and exercises;
  • specifying, for all of the video lessons, the minute count details in order to signal the bookmarks relative to the didactic materials.

 

The Tutor Page

The on line page for each Tutor of the subject being taught will communicate his or her availabilty (dates and schedules) along with contact details (e-mail, telephone and fax number), whilst in addition allowing access to the following areas:

  • Curriculum vitae;;
  • Teaching Program;
  • Conceptual Map;
  • Didactic Materials;
  • Didactic Planning;
  • Agenda;
  • Evaluation and Statistics;
  • Learning Environments;
  • Links to the Page of the Appointed Teaching Professor;

The Program, Conceptual Map and Didactic Planning of the subject being taught are the same documents that can be found on the Appointed Teaching Professor Page.

The Didactic Material is comprised of:

  • subjects that have been explained in an ad hoc fashion by the Tutor on the basis of student profiles and on the results of the qualitative evaluations that the Tutor periodically administers to the students;
  • a selection, made by the Tutor, of materials developed by students during their activities with the Tutor or with other students during collaborative learning tasks.

The materials developed or selected by the Tutor represent an integral part of the Media Library and of the Virtual Laboratory, and are aimed at a specific class of students.

The Agenda is the tool that the Tutor uses in order to fix appointments and on line meetings, confirm meeting requests made by students and manage his or her personal agenda.

In the area of Evaluation and Statistics the following are made available:

  • the tools of quantitative evaluation, or the statistics tracking the activity of the students (at both the individual and aggregate level). This is done in terms of the number of access times and time of use in the Learning environments on the part of the students as well as by tracking the use of the Tutoring On Line tools, number of exercises completed and the mean average of evaluation and self-evaluation;
  • the tools of qualitative evaluation, or the evaluation of each student based on evaluation sheets (with open questions and/or exercise), developed by the Tutor in order to monitor the learning progress of the student in his or her class.

The Tutor Page, as with the Appointed teaching Professor Page, allows access to the four Learning Environments: Video Library, Media Library, Virtual Laboratory and Tutoring On Line.

The Tutor Page contains links to the Appointed Teaching Professor Page in order to facilitate navigating the Didactic Cyberspace..

The Appointed teaching Professor and Tutor can know about the composition of their own classes of students and have access to the pages of single students through the List of Teaching Subjects for Degree Courses window.

As stated before, in the Educational Psychology Model of the International Telematic University UNINETTUNO, the student is at the centre of the learning process, which is designed on the basis of his or her needs and created through a high level of interactivity between the Professor, Tutor and Student

The professors’ and the tutors’ knowledge of their students is possible by several diverse means, including the entrance Questionnaire, which is filled out during enrolment, and the frequent virtual and face to face meetings with the Mentors and Tutors during the entire course of study.

Each and every student has at his or her disposal a page, called My student page”, that can be personalized at will in such a way as to allow the student to use the various didactic support materials available to better meet his or her needs. This makes it easier for the student to actively contribute to the collaborative educational process.

Your home page offers the following possibilities:

  • to personalize your study itinerary by choosing the teaching activities to follow and making note of the last lesson that you have visited in each pf the chosen teaching subjects;
  • verify your progress by checking your self-evaluations as well as those of your Tutor and viewing, for every lesson, which didactic materials you have used, how many times and for how long;
  • plan your didactic activities, by mean of an Agenda, in order to view appointments in the Chat Rooms, Forums and Virtual Classrooms set by your Tutors, to insert reminders and request intervention on the part of your Tutors;
  • send your didactic materials to your Tutors or to your Appointed Teaching Professor which, if selected, can be published on the site and thus made available to the entire scientific community;
  • always have at your disposal your Tutors by accessing the Tutor Page with a simple click.

2.2.1 The functions of the Tutor

Within the didactic model adopted by the International Telematic University UNINETTUNO, the Tutor plays a crucial role, acting as mediator between the participants in the Learning Process, so that a Network of Knowledge Exchange (NEKE) is created.

The tutoring activity represents one of the most significant moments of learning input and requires a high level of interactivity between Tutor and Student. It has been noted that the student learns through the continuous integration of theoretical knowledge (through the professor’s lessons), concepts that are acquired thanks to examples and advice provided by experts (through discussions and comparing ideas in the Forums) and practice in the field (through exercises guided by the Professor and/or Tutor that are offered singularly and personally to the student).

The Tutoring phase is therefore a necessary complement to the lessons of the professor and to the period of self study that follows.

The Tutor is presented as a “planner” for the learning experiences of the students, a consultant and guide to the Learning Process; thus he becomes a member of the learning team, reducing the risk of isolation on the part of the student.

The Tutor has the task of organizing and making available to the students a series of materials and tools. These match the lessons given telematically and, taken altogether, give a precise picture of the individual topics being taught.

As shown in various studies conducted in the field, the role of the Tutor is considered by the learners to be a sort of interface between the student and the teaching subject; his or her activity should be aimed at creating the interactivity between student and professor that is missing in the video-lessons.

In addition, an undeniable characteristic is the quickness of response. This underlines the need of the students to have someone who represents a constant and reliable presence. The contribution of the Tutor will be even more appreciated with the preparation and correction of written exercises in preparation for the exam. In this way, a didactic ‘semi-guided’ itinerary is created, taking the student up to the final exam with a preparation suited to the needs of each and every program.

The tasks of the Tutor at the International Telematic University UNINETTUNO are orientated towards organization, both their own and that of the students.

The tasks geared towards organization consist of the following:

  1. Selecting/adapting learning materials:
    • Selecting supplementary learning resources;
    • Organizing the access of the learner to learning resources.
  2. Giving an evaluation/some feedback:
    • Regarding the results of the learner and his or her experiences in the program and the course;
    • Regarding the materials and the organizational aspects;
    • Regarding the students’ problems.

The tasks of the Tutor where the learner is concerned are the following:

  1. Help the student stay motivated:
    • Actively bring about and maintain motivation;
    • Create an open and positive climate;
    • Help fill the gap in a student’s social needs.
  2. Provide help concerning the course contents:
    • Connect the contents to the previous knowledge of the student;
    • Solve problems regarding content;
    • Stimulate the application of the course contents in a professional context.
  3. Develop study skills:
    • Promote a critical spirit;
    • Develop learning styles and cognitive strategies;
    • Help the student to self-regulate his or her study and learning;
    • Promote knowledge of contextual factors in learning;
    • Introduce the student to the use of new technology (e-mail, chat rooms, videoconferencing and Internet).
  4. Give an evaluation/ feedback
    • Inform the learner about his or her progress;
    • Prepare the learner for exams;
    • Help the learner to develop realistic self-evaluation skills.

To these tasks are added other functions specific to tutoring.

At the beginning of the course, for example, the Tutor:
defines what the learner is to expect from the course;
- verifies previously acquired knowledge;
- offers suggestions and materials to strengthen any weak spots in the student’s preparation and, if necessary, offers training to improve study skills (especially time management).

During the next phase, which begins at the start of the course itself, the Tutor’s role as mediator comes into play. In fact, during the course the Tutor carries out a series of tasks with the precise aim of guiding the various aspects of learning and laying the basis for the exchange of knowledge between the participants in the Learning Process.

These tasks are to:
- enrich the materials of the course and provide access to the learning resources (by creating Internet site links, exercises on the web, etc.);
- identify study problems and find eventual solutions;
- instill specific study skills and improve learning capacity;
- lend support in practice activities;
- “try” the contents of the course;
- give objective and constructive feedback on the results of the learning process in the interest of ensuring success on the part of the student;
- help the student to apply the contents of the course in real life situations;
- instill a spirit of cooperation among the students (functioning in this way as mediator); - monitor (evaluate) performance.

As the teaching modules are presented, the Tutor provides qualitative and quantitative evaluations on the student’s learning so as to constantly monitor the results of the Process of Learning, as well as giving the students personalized support in preparation for the exam at the end of the module.

The quantitative evaluation of the student’s participation is given by the Tutor on the basis of statistics regarding the student’s navigation through the Didactic Cyberspace. These are defined as follows: number of access times throughout the time of use on the part of the student within the Learning Environments, the Tutoring On Line tools, the number of exercises completed and the average of the evaluations/self-evaluations.

In order to integrate this level of monitoring, the Tutor administers evaluation sheets to all the students (preferably with questions and open answers and/or exercises) in order to check and see how well the student has assimilated the contents of the professor’s lessons.

The results of the qualitative and quantitative evaluations constitute the basis for carrying out the aims of the Tutor, namely strengthening the student’s cognitive abilities along with preparing him for the exam.

The Tutor’s offering of supplementary learning materials serves two purposes: on one hand to strengthen any weak spots in the Learning Process of the single student or group of students and on the other hand to satisfy eventual requests for study in greater depth. These materials can be: books and articles (therefore study sheets and projects), CD-ROMs, bibliographical or site link references, exercises and and virtual laboratories.

The Tutor’s role as mediator involves a last phase that coincides with the end of the presentation of teaching materials. Here the Tutor helps the student review the teaching contents and prepare for the exam. The Tutor also asks the student for their evaluation of the teaching itself, thus obtaining valuable feedback on the teaching/training process from the student.

As has been previously stated, the Tutor works in close contact with the students and his/her activity is aimed at creating a collaborative environment characterized by direct support for the students through two complementary approaches: the long distance (synchronic and diachronic) method and the traditional one.

In order to carry out such an important and complex role, the Tutor must possess a combination of abilities. These can be boiled down to five fundamental areas:

  • specific ability to control and direct;
  • specific professional ability;
  • organizational ability;
  • communicative and relational abilities;
  • pedagogical and didactic abilities.

Naturally the content of the Tutoring activity and the combination of abilities necessary to carry it out will vary based on various factors, including the aims to be reached, the specific needs of the students, the characteristics of the Degree Course, the type of subject beingtaught, etc.

 

2.3 The Student Page

It includes the functions at the students’ disposal and allows access to the following areas:

  • Customised didactic planning: this supplies the student with a customized study programme and the didactic activities planning referring to each course. Every student can find the planning of his didactic activities, divided into four didactic periods, on the Internet. The inclusion in the online study classes is structured in such a way as to grant the student the possibility of attending two subjects for each didactic period while being guided by a professor/tutor. The result of the intermediate assessment that can also be checked by each individual student along with the tracking of his Internet-based learning , so allowing admission to the exams Getting through the exams of the attended didactic modules allows getting enrolled and included into the classes of the following courses.
  • Learning process check: each individual student can check, for each Internet-based didactic activity, his own self-assessment and compare it with that one given by his tutor. He can check by himself if there are some gaps in his learning and develop new learning strategies with the support of not only the professor/tutor, but also of his own classmates.
  • Agenda (planning of didactic activities): This displays the rendezvous fixed by the tutors or by the professor in the Chat-room, Forum and in the Virtual Classroom; it is possible to use the Agenda to include personal memos or ask for the professor/tutor’s support to overcome any learning difficulties.
  • My lessons on TV today: This displays the video lessons programming schedule being broadcast on the satellite television channel for the subjects being currently delivered.

 

2.4 The Learning Environments

2.4.1 The Video Library

videoteca.jpg

The Video Library contains the lessons taught by the professor, namely the digitalized video lessons and their relative slides.

The use of the digitalized video lessons allows the student to activate learning processes of a symbolic and reconstructive kind. These are linked to a Classical linear approach to teaching. In addition, the modular layout of the contents and the indexing of topics together with bookmarks help the student to develop a hyper-textual and multimedia approach to the learning process. This results in improved meta-cognitive strategies that lead to a more personalized learning path.

Each video-lesson is created with a predefined indexing system that allows the professor to structure the program according to the topics presented, and then point out the tools that allow the student to study diverse topics in an in-depth fashion. Thus the video lesson is conceptualized as a hyper-textual itinerary

During the Learning Process the bookmarks allow the student to connect various topics presented in the video lesson to learning materials that are found in the Media Library. In this way, the student can find contextual study resources in the form of books, articles, CD-ROMs, bibliographic references, site link references, exercises and virtual laboratories. These give the student the opportunity to combine practical and theoretical study methods in a Learning Process known as learning by doing.

 

2.4.2 The Media Library

mediateca.jpg

The Media Library contains didactic materials (Learning Objects) connected to the video lessons – for example study sheets, films, images, diagrams, animated material which are all gathered under an Intelligent Bibliographic System.

The elements that make up the Media Library represent in-depth study materials connected to the contents of the video lessons. They can be associated with a topic, a series of topics, an entire video lesson, a series of video lessons or the entire course.

The objects that make up the Media Library are categorized as follows: books and articles, CD-ROMs, bibliographical references and site link references.

The Media Library does not contain the Virtual Laboratories or exercises connected to the video lessons. These are made available (without answers) in the Virtual Laboratory..

The in-depth study materials developed in an ad hoc fashion by the Tutor (or Appointed Teaching Professor) for the students in their class and those study materials sent by students and selected by the Tutor (or Appointed Teaching Professor) are only made available on the Tutor Page (or that of the Appointed Teaching Professor), as they refer to a specific class of students.

2.4.3 Il Laboratorio Virtuale

laboratorio.jpg

In the Virtual Laboratory you can check your progress and expand your knowledge thanks to the approach of learning by doing, which is by an on-going Socratic tutoring method which is carried out in two ways: individual and group exercises.

Individual Exercises: You can access the dedicated learning environment and find a series of exercises on the topic being studied. These can be completed on line or down-loaded onto your computer. The exercises made available on line are minus the answers. This way you can check the results with your Tutor later on.

Group Exercises: you can complete an exercise with the help and support of your Tutor or Appointed Teaching Professor, in which case you will have to schedule a laboratory session. The tool used is the Video Chat Room, where the Tutor or Appointed Teaching Professor and the students are connected to one another and can interact.

Other types of Virtual Laboratories can be activated as proposed by the Tutor or Appointed Teaching Professor.

 

2.4.4 Il Tutoring OnLine

tutoring.jpg

In the learning environment dedicated to Tutoring On Line, which makes available all of the tools necessary for long distance tutoring, you can:

  • access collaborative and cooperative learning environments on the web with other students;
  • open a Socratic dialogue with your Tutor, which helps and guides the learning process;
  • interact in the educational process with other participants from diverse cultural and linguistic backgrounds, so creating a learning opportunity that is no longer local but global.

 

 

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Certified mail

info@pec.uninettunouniversity.net

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tel: +39 06 692076.71
e-mail: info@uninettunouniversity.net

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