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Teaching online

This section is the first of four sections designed to introduce academics and students to the potential use of the Internet as a teaching and research resource. The other pages are The WWW as a Teaching tool, Virtual Learning Environments, and Finding Resources. This page lists the many portals and services now available to support online teaching.

Online resources for education in general

Education Network Australia (EdNA)

EdNA is an Australian initiative to provide access to online resources for training and education. The project started in 1995, and has developed guidelines and standards for metadata and collections management, as well as exploring user needs and user interfaces. EdNA combines a searchable catalogue of online resources with computer-mediated communication tools - these tools are freely available to education institutions. EdNA Technical Standards for Online Education and Training. http://standards.edna.edu.au/reports/IMStechupdate.doc. EdNA and GEM announced a collaboration Feb 2001 - online at http://www.educationau.edu.au/.

JISC - Joint Information Systems Committee

Teaching and Learning Technology Programme (TLTP)

TLTP has been running since 1992, and is now in its third phase. It is funded by the higher education funding councils for England, Wales, Scotland, and the Department for Education Northern Ireland. The first two phases supported 76 projects on the creation and evaluation of computer-based learning tools. Some of these resources had very little impact on UKHE, and the 31 phase 3 TLTP projects are exploring the pedagogic, subject-specific and institutional factors influencing the implementation and success of new tools in university education. The projects are due to complete between 2000 and 2001. Projects that explore the value of online resources for teaching and learning include:

Online resources for higher education

Resource Discovery Network (RDN)

The RDN is funded by the UK's Joint Information Systems Committee to support academics in finding high quality online resources for teaching and research. The RDN seeks to cover all subject areas covered by UK universities through a range of hubs: BIOME (life sciences), EEVL (engineering), Humbul (humanities), OMNI (health and life sciences), and SOSIG (social sciences). Two new hubs will join the RDN later in 2001: arts and creative industries, and sports, tourism and leisure. As well as the portals, the RDN hosts subject-specific introductions to the Internet - its Virtual Training Suite.

SMETE: Information Portal for Science, Mathematics, Engineering and Technology Education

The USA's National Science Foundation is supporting institutions in developing a digital library for science, mathematics, engineering and technology education. This portal coordinates information about ongoing work to create the digital library, and also has links to online teaching resources (aimed at undergraduates). A beta version of SMETE is now online.

UK e-University

The British government is establishing an e-University, a consortium of higher education institutions to deliver learning online, particularly overseas students. The business model is available online. The directors and committee members were announced on 29th March 2001.


Renardus is developing a portal to online resources for academics and researchers. It will be a single point of entry for academics and researchers to access digital collections catalogued by quality subject gateways. The project is a collaboration between libraries and research centres across Europe, and is funded by the EC through the Information Society Technologies strand of the Fifth Framework Programme.

Online resources for schools

European Schoolnet

European Schoolnet provides access to national and international schools networks, and is available in several languages. It is working on the European Treasury Browser, a new gateway to teaching resources created by and for schools in Europe, and funded under the IST section of the EC's Fifth Framework Programme. The ETB will use metadata to create a multilingual catalogue and thesaurus for describing resources, and tools to support authors in creating and adding resources to the catalogue.

Gateway to Educational Materials (GEM)

GEM is supported by the National Library of Education, and provides access to a wide range of teaching resources over the Web for all levels of education and training (though the majority serve the schools sector). Although GEM currently focuses on USA education, it is collaborating with other institutions and organizations to provide access to education materials around the world. As well as the gateway itself, there is information on the standards and technologies used to build, populate and maintain GEM. Work is underway to convert GEM to a Z39.50 relational database.

National Grid for Learning (NGfL)

The NGfL is is a UK initiative to provide access to teaching and training resources for the UK. Although the grid covers all sectors in education and training, it largely focuses on schools.

Online resources for further education, workplace learning, and lifelong learning

BECTa (British Educational Communications and Technology agency)

BECTa is funded by the British government to support the successful implementation of C&IT into schools and lifelong learning. BECTa is also developing the NGfL (National Grid for Learning), a major gateway to learning resources for all types of education in the UK.


Fathom is 'an interactive knowledge site' that pools together documents, datasets and people from nine major organizations: American Film Institute; the British Library; Cambridge University Press; Columbia University; London School of Economics and Political Science; New York Public Library; RAND; Smithsonian Institution's National Museum of Natural History; University of Chicago; Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution. The project offers individuals and businesses courses, information, tools and other resources (access to some content is free). The teaching and learning element is accompanied by marketing - Fathom sells learning materials in diverse forms online, and study tours.

University for Industry (UfI)

The British Government supports business training through the University for Industry. The UfI is a partnership between government agencies and business, and aims to cater for all businesses and very diverse learner needs. Its online courses are accessed through learndirect. Courses can be taken online, and coordinated through a UfI learning centre.

Further resources

Educational Technology and Society, journal of the International Forum of Educational Technology and Society, and the IEEE Learning Technology Task Force (ISSN: 1436-4522). This journal is published quarterly, and available freely online. Its scope is broad, and caters for academics seeking to incorporate new technologies into their teaching as well as educational technologists and related specialists.

Learning and Teaching Online - papers from the conference held in Guangzhou, China, 10-12 January 2001 are now available online.

Please note that this page was authored during April 2001, and apart from a few minor amendments since that date has remained as it was. Therefore some of the links may have changed or no longer link to the resources indicated. Please contact the webmasters@elpub.org concerning broken links and he will attempt to direct you to a suitable alternative link. (January 2003)

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Last up-dated: 16 February 2024

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