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Using the VLE to overcome campus closures

January 11, 2010

In a blog post simply entitled Snow James Clay points out that, if teachers and learners make use of the technological tools now available to them, just because a physical campus is closed learning doesn’t have to cease.

“Yes snow makes it dangerous to travel, but with the internet and mobile technologies, does it mean that learners need to stop learning just because the decision is taken to close the physical location?”

But often educational establishements send out the message that they are closed because of extreme weather conditions – when in fact it’s only their physical sites which are closed.

James concludes “Last year we had the “worst snow” for twenty years, here we are less than twelve months later and the snow is not only back it’s even worse! Culturally we have some way to go I think before snow only closes the physical location and doesn’t close the institution.”

Here at TVU, it seems to me, we made a pretty good job of keeping staff and students up to date on campus closures, using email, announcements on Blackboard, the TVU website, and Twitter (well done in particular to whoever’s responsible for posting to And all A level students were sent a text with information about this week’s exams.

I’m not sure how far staff at TVU used the VLE to mitigate lost contact time. Unusually, I was due to deliver two sessions last Thursday (to teacher training students), which had to be cancelled. I took the opportunity to email them via Blackboard the night before, with links to my Powerpoint presentation and a handout I had planned to use. And I’m aware of other lecturers who used Blackboard to contact their students reminding them that they had to work to do, that resources to use were on the VLE, that they (the lecturers) were available to respond to students’ queries…

How widespread was that approach, I wonder?

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