Let start by saying that I sometimes find myself doing things and actually do not know what they are. I had a great opportunity to have classes online and was kindly taught how to manage the tools in WiZiQ. I had a lot of fun and became a fan of those online classes. I was terrified at the beginning but then I got familiar to listen to my professor presenting her slides and giving us the chance to share ideas through the chat. The experience was pretty enriching and fruitful. Poor me! I did not know that it was a kind of virtual learning environments. It is not regret; it is just that we do things without knowing their real names but they absolutely work.
Nowadays, when approaching technology to be updated to implement Web 2.0 tools in my English classes and having an expert’s guidance to manage many of these tools, I came to learn what virtual learning environments (VLEs) are. According to Sharma and Barret (2008, p. 103), a virtual learning environment is “a web-based platform designed to support teachers in the management of online educational courses”. They also state that virtual learning environment consists of communication tools, among these tools we have email and a discussion board, and tools for organizing the administration of a course.
VLEs are often used by universities; Moodle (one of the best known VLEs) is used at Universidad Marítima del Caribe (UMC). After asking the technologist in charge of the technical issues at UMC, he explained that one of the reasons why Moodle software is used in this university is because it is free. He also said that it is a Course Management System (CMS) which uses an Open Source software package designed on pedagogical principles. The purpose of this CMS is to help educators create effective online learning communities. At UMC, educators and students take advantage of this platform. Some educators are allowed to use this platform (since its use is restricted) to promote distance learning through what it is called Virtual Room.