Arts & Sciences Shield

Distance Learning


Institute for Distance and Distributed Learning



Educational Technologies

Faculty Development Institute

Teaching Resources

Mission Statement

Cyberschool Policy Recommendations

Course Offerings


Virginia Tech's College of Arts & Sciences in partnership with Information Systems recently proposed the creation of a series of courses, initially in biology, which aim to increase and redefine faculty productivity by fully exploiting asynchronous networked communication.

As part of Virginia Tech's Cyberschool initiative, selected biology faculty are working with an interdisciplinary team to design courses using standard network tools such as e-mail, listservs, and bulletin boards, as well as more customized modes of communication such as Web sites, the Daedalus integrated writing environment and WebChats. Additionally, a technology-based teaching/learning model is to be developed which takes into account cost-saving ROIs (returns on investments) and the quality of the learning experience. Goals are to find out what impact technology has on the economics of education and faculty productivity: namely, the tradeoffs between contact hours, faculty/student ratios, improvements in student learning and the quality of faculty members' professional lives. This project is intended to encourage active rather than passive learning experiences for students who will participate in on-line, collaborative study cells, as we use the technology to enhance individual skill development and customize the learning process.

Literature Initiative in Technology

LIT, the Literature Initiative in Technology, is a Cyberschool project which originated in the English Department for the purpose of developing team-designed and team-taught literature courses which utilize computer technologies to enhance the study of literature within the network environment. LIT teams are particularly, although not exclusively, interested in exploring the possibilities and limitations of asynchronous, distance learning.

Collaborative, interdisciplinary teams will be teaching web-based courses.

For further information about these courses or the project, visit the LIT home page or send a message to the LIT project's design team (Karen Swenson, Randy Patton, and Len Hatfield) at electric.lit@ebbs.english.vt. edu.

The Virginia Tech Online Writing Lab (VT OWL)

VT OWL will offer an Electronic Tutoring Environment. Students enrolled in totally online courses and other students can register for free online tutoring sessions to assist with their writing on any level. Online tutoring sessions are individually scheduled between tutor and client, so there are no fixed hours.

The OWL also includes a Self-Help area and a Grammar Hotline. The Self-Help area contains handouts and exercises to provide any person with 24-hour access to writing assistance. The Grammar Hotline ( is an email-based service available to students and non-students alike; its main purpose is to answer quick writing questions.

To access these services, go to VT OWL. (NOTE: The Electronic Tutoring Environment is restricted to Virginia Tech faculty, staff, and enrolled students.)

Integrating Diverse Learning Environmnents

The Innovations for Digital Learning Environments (IDLE) project, twice funded by the Center for Innovations in Learning, has built an interesting array of modules and tools designed to be used in a variety of disciplinary settings to promote writing and critical thinking. Some tools, such at Write, Invent, Think (WIT) offer content free frameworks to be adapted to specific course material; other modules, like the Grammar Gym, provide automated testing and response on grammar and usage principles; still others focus on specific content (e.g., navigating the Internet, assessing online resources, etc.), but include exercises which the instructor can adapt to his/her specific use.

To view the IDLE tools go to IDLE


Supporting Structures

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