Over the past year or so we've been doing a lot of thinking and work around what we've now come round to calling distributed learning environments. Essentially, ways that you can extend current VLE functionality without having to change/upgrade your VLE.
Concurrently it also seems that every HE institution in the country is either about to start, in the middle of, or has just completed a review of its learning environment provision. So despite many calls of its death, it does seem that the VLE is going to be around (in some shape or form) for a while yet.
Last week in Birmingham we held an event to launch our DLE briefing paper. The event also coincided with the Distributed Virtual Learning Environments call announcement from JISC. During the day we had presentations demoing a number of the models featured in the briefing paper as well as an overview from Peter Hartley of the ALT LER (learning environment review) SIG. Heather Williamson from JISC was also able to give an overview of the DVLE call.
Over all there was a lot of interest from participants in exploring further ways to easily extend functionality of learning environments for users (staff and students) - particularly the development of widgets. Over the next year we are planning to run a number of events where we can bring developers and users together, so watch this space, and if you have any suggestions please let me know.