Farming course reaps e-prize

September 14, 2001

The first eTutor of the Year plans to use his £1,000 prize money "to have a small holiday" before helping other staff at his agricultural college develop their own interactive online courses.

John Whalley, a business lecturer at Bishop Burton College in east Yorkshire, received his prize at the Association for Learning Technology's conference in Edinburgh on Wednesday for his e-tutoring support in an animal-care course for higher national diploma students.

The competition was co-sponsored by The THES and the Learning and Teaching Support Network.

Mr Whalley said: "It's nice to get a bit of recognition. Lecturing can be a lonely job, although you are with lots of people. It is even lonelier online, although my course is a combination of lectures and online activities."

Bishop Burton is planning to use virtual learning environments in a big way. More than 40 staff are taking their European Computer Driving Licence in general information technology.

"Staff have seen what I've been doing and are planning to follow. E-tutoring is an extra tool for lecturers' armouries and, provided it helps learners to learn, you can't fault it," Mr Whalley said.

The competition drew 32 entries from a wide variety of universities and undergraduate courses. Their websites were assessed for evidence of two-way communication, group work, assessment with feedback, ease of navigation and integrated use of online facilities.

The two runners-up are also business lecturers. Clive Holtham, professor of information management, won with an undergraduate IT and business course that uses a customised learning environment developed by City University Business School. Janis Miller, Nagraj Balakrishnan and Michael Crino, from Clemson University, South Carolina, United States, entered a management course that used the university's collaborative learning environment.

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