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E-learning at the Latin America Institute

Instructors at the Latin America Institute of the Freie Universität Berlin have been exploring the use of modern media technologies for teaching and learning since 2002. 

Projects have worked with the development of online multi-media resources, the implementation of learning management systems and community database, and experiments with the use of these resources and systems to support the classroom.

These projects have been supported by the office of the President of the Freie Universität Berlin, with the Center for Digital systems (CeDiS) playing a strong role.

These projects have aimed to achieve a variety of goals, including the furthering of cooperation with partner universities abroad by the creation of on-line learning environments featuring innovative contributions to didactics.

At the center of such work is a communications-based concept of "learning communities" where the creation and use of on-line resources is the result of cooperation among all members of the community, including instructors and students in the process of producing knowledge and learning how to use it effectively.

To this end, the Latin America Institute treated the introduction of the Freie Universität's official learning management system, Blackboard, as an opportunity to enhance the active role of students in the learning process by creating a team of specially-trained students to work with faculty in developing relevant implementation strategies.

These activities have been well-received by faculty and students alike as they have welcomed the opportunity to enhance faculty-student interaction, to create and use on-line learning modules, and to explore a variety of web-based innovations in didactics.

The Office of the President of the Freie Universität Berlin has rewarded these efforts through support for a half-dozen special projects as well as awarding special support for the institute-wide use of its learning management system and e-tutor team.