Utilizing Virtual Learning and a Virtual GIS Computer Laboratory in Spatial Sciences Learning for the Expanded Open Distance Education at Mzuzu University
MetadataShow full item record
This article describes the application of an emerging virtual learning environment for the teaching of GIS and spatial sciences to open and distance learning (ODL) graduate as well as undergraduate students of Mzuzu University. Focusing mainly on the innovative hybrid architecture of the virtual GIS computer laboratory, benefits and constraints of this mixed architecture are discussed. To develop this virtual learning environment, consideration was made to use a combination of synchronous and asynchronous communication tools so as to enable interaction between student and facilitator, student and computer, and student and student; to develop a liberated online learning environment where students will access a group of passive and active multi-media tools; and to allow students access a mixed Web-facilitated and hybrid architecture that arouses their cognitive geographic skills and affords hands-on experience in GIS use. This innovative architecture is simple, affordable, and versatile; and provides a flexible and collaborative virtual learning environment for distance education instruction.