Usage, attitudes and workload implications for a Web-based learning environment
The tools and features of Web-based course-management systems vary (see http:llwww.ctt.bc, callandonlinel, for an analysis and comparison of several commercially available systems) but typically include tools to support the organization of the course, tools to support communication, tools to support student activities such as submission of assignments and collaborative work, and 'back-office' tools to handle user registration, maintenance of user data, and, in some systems, tools to tailor the view of a course site made available to a registered user (Robson, 1999). Although many tools and features are available in such Web-based learning environments, it is not the case that instructors necessarily make use of all these tools and features. Rankin (2000) for example, notes that 'most instructors have failed to take full advantage of the growing resources available to them online'. Rankin suggests that the creation and incorporation of templates into course Web sites could be a strategy to provide instructors with a simple and effective way of developing their Web-accessible materials. Such templates are the basic building blocks of the TeleTOP learning environment used at the University of Twente.