A virtual course is recommended when more flexible learning, regarding time and place, is needed. Virtual implementation of courses can also be used when you like to give the students a more active role for example if you are teaching a larger group of students. An active community of learners on-line can be more motivating for young people than listening to a lecture.
To teach on-line enables larger groups of participants. Large on-line courses so-called MOOCs (Massive Online Open Courses) are examples of open learning (open educational resources). MOOCs offers, usually, free studying opportunities and their idea is to function as a marketing and recruitment channel for studies with tuition. MOOCs can also function as a channel for adult learners to access topical research as a part of lifelong learning.
From a quality point of view, distance courses do not differ from classroom courses, both types of implementation, you find good and not so good examples. In order to succeed with an on-line course it can be planned in cooperation with other teachers and wit support from the teaching support team. The teachers’ presence on-line is crucial for the success of the course. The supervision and coaching of the course can also be made in cooperation in-between several teachers. A well implemented supervision and coaching in an on-line course is usually a quality stamp for the on-line course!
Check out how Kirsi Aaltonen University of Oulu changed her lecture course to a on-line course.
In France the Ministry of Education has been in charge for the collection of good examples of open resources at universities.
University of Helsinki’s MOOCs.
Network for competence development for health sector professionals.