UniServe Science News Volume 11 November 1998

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On-line Communication for Biology Students

Mary Peat
School of Biological Sciences, The University of Sydney

We in First Year Biology at The University of Sydney are using the web to communicate with our 1300 students. We have set up a web site, called the Virtual Resources Room, which originated as a site mimicking a real students' resources room but which now has additional functions. In the VRR students can access teaching materials encompassing lecture notes, CAL revision packages, CAL tutorials, and self-assessment packages. During the last year we have added an asynchronous communication link between students and staff (via email) and between students and students (discussion list). Students can email staff via CyberTutor and ask questions about the course content and organisation. Staff check the CyberTutor email inbox and reply to any questions or send them on to a more appropriate authority. The staff remain anonymous, allowing for the involvement of several staff during the course of the semester. A discussion group allows the students to post questions, or discuss topics with their peers. Students can either join a topic currently under discussion or start a new topic. Students have taken to CyberTutor like ducks to water and they are active on the discussion list. We are thinking of how we will cope with the volume of traffic if it gets too great.


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UniServe Science News Volume 11 November 1998

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