What is an intranet?
According to the BBC (http://www.bbc.co.uk/webwise/guides/intranets-and-extranets) “An intranet is a private network, operated by a large company or other organisation, which uses internet technologies, but is insulated from the global internet.”
This post will mainly examine the effect that intranets have had on universities. Intranets have grown in popularity in higher educational institutions across the United Kingdom. It has presented the opportunity to become a lot more “connected” between staff and students as lectures and news are posted online. For example, Robert Gordon Universities’ intranet is the “Campus Moodle” which can be accessed on a 24/7 basis. With the service being available at all times, it allows the students to access certain university material whenever they need to, without having to travel into university during the opening hours. Moreover, it means that work in the evening (after 5pm) is made easier, as lecture slides are available and certain “e-books” from the online library service. It also allows students to learn at their own pace and to refer back to slides instead of having to make a lecturer repeat themselves.
However, does this actually create a distance between the staff and students? It could be argued that having university notes so easily accessible at home is a demotivating factor. This is because students will not feel like it is necessary to attend every lecture as they can login to their intranet and read the lectures online. This then leads to a further problem of students continuing to disregard and miss classes.
On the other hand, the use of the intranet allows a more personalised service for students, as there will be links and options available to them that is specifically tailored to their educational needs. Referring back to the Campus Moodle example, this online service allows students to gain access to information on study skills, careers, the modules they are studying, study abroad and the library. This gives the student a more personal relationship with the university.
With technology constantly developing, it is important that universities and organisations consider intranets as a tool of learning. Overall it can enhance a students education as it provides them with the responsibility of taking care of their own studies at their own time which is a skill they need in their careers.