The Handbook for Economics Lecturers

5.6 Virtual Learning Environments

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Collaborative learning can be assisted in many practical ways by Virtual Learning Environments (VLEs) such as Blackboard and WebCT. VLEs can also have beneficial effects on the dynamics of group communication. Manning and Riordan (2000) provide an interesting outline of some of the literature on and benefits of groupware to support collaborative learning, including a macroeconomic case study. O'Leary and Cai (2003) in a SOLE Case Study Series on Economics provide an assessment of two year 1 economics modules that used Blackboard and WebCT, one of these case studies focusing on collaborative learning in groups.