Online Resource Centres
Learn about Virtual Learning Environment/Course Management System content
What is a VLE?
What are the most commonly used VLEs in the UK?
What is a VLE content package file?
What are the benefits of a VLE content package file?
Why are there different versions of VLE content package files?
Which versions of VLE does OUP provide content package files for?
How does a lecturer obtain a VLE content package file?
Download step-by-step guidelines on importing a VLE content package file
A Virtual Learning Environment (VLE) is a system for delivering learning materials to students via the web. These systems include assessment, student tracking, collaboration and communication tools. They can be accessed both on and off-campus, meaning that they can support students' learning outside the lecture hall 24 hours a day, seven days a week. This enables institutions to teach not only traditional full-time students but also those who cannot regularly visit the campus due to geographic or time restrictions, e.g. those on distance learning courses, doing evening classes, or workers studying part-time.
There are different types of VLE, which all work slightly differently but ultimately perform the same function and can deliver the same learning materials. A Higher Education institution is likely to have a licence for a VLE that fits into any one of the following three categories:
• off-the-shelf, such as Blackboard or WebCT
• open source (often free to use and adapt but support is charged for), such as Moodle
• bespoke (developed by institutions for their own individual needs)
VLEs are also known as Course Management Systems (CMS) and Learning Management Systems (LMS), among other names.
There are some international standards associated with VLEs which help to make content and assessments interoperable (i.e. they can be used in different types of VLE). The standard for content is called 'Sharable Content Object Reference Model' (SCORM) and the standard for assessments is called 'Question and Test Interoperability' (QTI).
• WebCT (acquired by Blackboard in 2006)
• Universities' own bespoke systems
In order to help you make your teaching more efficient and learning more effective, content from the Online Resources Centres of selected textbooks is available to adopting lecturers as one single Virtual Learning Environment (VLE)-compatible file.
A VLE 'content package file' is simply this downloadable file, that contains content for use in a VLE. It is a package of all the lecturer and student materials from a single textbook's Online Resource Centre.
It enables lecturers to import all the content from one Online Resource Centre into their VLE at once. This saves time, rather than having to download resources from the website individually and then upload them to the VLE one by one.
• All the textbook-related resources are made available in an institution's own VLE
• Students don't need to leave the institution's network
• The single package makes it easy to import all the materials at once, and therefore saves time
• Lecturers can integrate their chosen textbook's resources with their own course materials so students only need to go to one place to access all their course content
• Once the resource file is uploaded lecturers can utilise the assessment, tracking, and communication tools provided by the VLE in conjunction with the OUP resources to organize the resources as they choose, e.g. by editing, re-ordering or removing resources.
Despite some international standards aimed to facilitate the sharing of content between VLEs, content is not recognized and organized in exactly the same way by each different VLE type. In order to provide content which requires as little tweaking as possible to get it into a VLE, OUP has created specific files for some of the most popular versions of VLEs.
The versions provided by OUP on this website are subject to change occasionally over the years, in line with universities' changing usage patterns. (In other words, OUP will cease to provide VLE content package files for versions of VLEs that are considered generally to have fallen out of use, and will provide content package files for new versions of VLEs once it is considered their use is sufficiently widespread in the market.)
VLE content package files published/publishing on this site from September 2007 onwards are provided in the following formats (those published before this date are in slightly different formats):
WebCT CE 4.1
Blackboard (compatible with versions 6, 7, 8, and 9)
WebCT Vista 3
WebCT CE 6.0
SCORM (Sharable Content Object Reference Model) 1.2 package
Open source and bespoke VLEs that comply with SCORM standards can import the SCORM 1.2 package. Those without SCORM compliance can request a zip file of the Online Resource Centre contents.
OUP aims to provide files which are compatible with the common VLEs used in the UK and Europe. If your institution is planning to upgrade its VLE, or the versions provided are not compatible with your system, please contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org.
VLE content is delivered via the password-protected lecturer area of an Online Resource Centre. Lecturers need first to adopt the related textbook. They can then register on the textbook's Online Resource Centre for a password to access the lecturer area. (All password applications are activated within three working days, once they have been positively verified.)
Once a lecturer has a password they can request or download their version of the VLE content package file directly from the Online Resource Centre.
• Go to the homepage of the Online Resource Centre that corresponds to the adopted textbook.
• Click on the 'VLE content' link on the Online Resource Centre homepage.
• Click on the appropriate version of the content package file and request or download it to your computer (this should only take a few minutes).
• Upload the cartridge to your VLE or pass it to your ICT/VLE support staff to upload on your behalf. Please see the section below for step-by-step guidelines to specific systems.
Please access the links below for step-by-step guidelines for specific systems on how to import a VLE content package file into your Virtual Learning Environment.
• Blackboard version 6, 7, and 8
• Blackboard version 9
• WebCT 4
• WebCT 6
• WebCT Vista