From Researching Virtual Initiatives in Education
The Universidad Virtual de Quilmes (Quilmes Virtual University, UVQ) is the online arm of the Universidad Nacional de Quilmes, or National University of Quilmes (UNQ), Argentina. Founded in 1999, the UVQ currently hosts 6,500 students across undergraduate and postgraduate programmes. It is an online educational initiative using a web-based 'virtual campus' for course delivery.
The National University of Quilmes was founded in 1989. It is located in Buenos Aires, Argentina, and has over 11,000 students. They offer 8 undergratuate programs, 4 postgraduate, and offer several services for the institutions.
It was the first institution of Latin America that saw an oportunity to develop and use a Virtual enviroment. Due to the results of their market research showed that the use of the internet in the country was increased with 540%, and also the bandwich was better. So it was a chance to invest in that niche. The main problem was that they had to invest an important amount of money in research and development because there wasn't a culture of distance learning; despite this they are one of the leaders in Latin America in Distance and virtual enviroment in education. They made several reports and attended forums over the world.
A notable project that they are doing is called PIDA EVES-Q, Programa de Investigación, Desarrollo y Aplicación de Entornos Virtuales para la Educación Superior, (Program of Research, Development and Implementation of Virtual Environments for Higher Education).
This year is the 10th aniversary of UVQ.
The Universidad Virtual de Quilmes web site is at http://www.virtual.unq.edu.ar/
UVQ is using the Moodle platform, locally called Qoodle, and also web 2.0 tools.
Justification for Moodle
The justification for Moodle is at http://www.virtual.unq.edu.ar/index.php?q=content/la-elecci%C3%B3n-de-moodle - and since it is very cogent we translate it in full:
The choice of Moodle as the basis for our development was based on who was the best scores in terms of four dimensions to which we subject to the options tested.
- It is a platform based on open standards and interoperability. Open standards allow us not only freely available source code, giving us autonomy in the development of applications, but also collaborate with the community by allowing us to participate freely and cooperative continuous improvements being made on it. At the same time, being open source is a low cost option for the University, not dependent on the payment of licenses for upgrades and updates.
- It is very versatile. Moodle has a user-friendly environment, which uses transparent criteria of usability and meets accessibility standards defined by W3C. Is extremely flexible for use and offers a considerable variety of resources for teaching and learning. It also offers a wealth of options for assessment, monitoring and support for student activities, as well as comprehensive management of information within the virtual classroom. Moodle also has a powerful built-in internal messaging system allows communication in real time. To these characteristics, we have added to Qoodle new ones, for example, a splash screen with information personalized to the user that allows a single view, see what's new campus in the community: whether new mail has been received, display the billboard news, access to classrooms and tutorial rooms, view the calendar and the academic agenda , among others. We also incorporate a powerful email client, versatile and easy to administer.
- It is designed from a constructivist perspective of learning and thought in terms of asynchronous communication, which makes it compatible with our model student-centered teaching. Not only offers the ability to generate and disseminate content in various formats (Web, documents and files of various formats, hypertext, etc..), But also offers a variety of options for the proposed collaborative learning among students: the possibility to organize groups of students in classrooms, operating through multiple forums and very flexible, the possibility of generating shared documents through the use of wikis, databases, glossaries and other tools suitable for both individual and collective activities.
- A globally distributed platform and is being adopted by the most prestigious educational institutions in the world.Moodle is widely tested by a large international community, composed largely of universities and institutions related to higher education. It is a fertile space where the exchange of experiences and good practices translates into concrete benefits for all. In addition, numerous studies and reports, including awards, position always within Moodle's best options available.