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The WebWise Online Course is launched

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Brett Tremble Brett Tremble | 17:18 UK time, Wednesday, 21 September 2011

The all new WebWise Online Course has arrived, offering users the chance to improve their skills in online safety, using the internet, emails and mobile phones. They can even gain credits towards a formal qualification.

We have all worked very hard to give the course the thorough makeover it deserves, and even a quick look will reveal that the site has a radical bold new look. In fact it is almost unrecognisable from the previous version of the course which went live way back in 2004. It never ceases to amaze me just how fast online content can look dated, especially when, like WebWise it deals with cutting edge technology and how best to use it. Seven years isn't that long a time, or so I keep telling myself, but in terms of technology it is an absolute age.

I have worked on many BBC sites before, including that favourite of 16 year old children everywhere, GCSE Bitesize. The nature of the knowledge being imparted to learners there is very different. Set texts may be added or removed from reading lists and various historical eras may fall out of favour, but by and large the topics that need to be learnt will not vary very much from year to year. With anything vaguely computer-related though, it is often difficult to keep up with the pace of change.

The old course made no reference to social media or to mobile phones for instance, whereas in our marvellous new offering they form a very important, integral part of the course. It's hard to imagine an IT certificate being award these days with making mention of those two now ubiquitous areas of technology!

It's not just the content that has changed since 2004 though. The site looks radically different and is much brighter and clearer to use. What has also changed is what technology allows us to do. You will find clear, easy-to-follow video and animation used throughout the site that copies how mobile phones and internet browsers work. Even a very basic computer user should be able to follow the courses we offer and gain confidence in their abilities.

The march of progress has also allowed us to add many new and exciting features to help adult learners make the most of modern technology. Take for instance the progress bars. If you register with the WebWise site, every time you log in subsequently, even if you switch computers, the site will remember how much of the course you have completed and will save your status every time you complete a module. You don't even have to take the modules in order so it is easy to flit between online safety topics and those covering emails. It's a great new feature and will I hope much improve the user experience.

But enough of me, the course is all about the learners. Please have a look through the site and let us know what you think.


  • Comment number 1.

    I think this is a great initiative and well done. I discovered this on finding that one of many video clips would not play. So a comment on this point, since it seems highly relevant to people who are trying to consume in particular BBC content.

    Why does the BBC persist in publishing (video) content that cannot be viewed on the iPad? The BBC is rightly applauded for often leading the way in it's internet developments (original website, iPlayer, etc.), but in this regard it seems to now be lagging behind. Irrefutable statistics show the dramatic shift to mobile browsing, with Apple devices dominating that sector (p.s. I do not work for them!). There are valid & arguably better alternatives to Flash so will these be explored, or better still, used?

    Please pass on this question to content managers at the BBC, since this may not be the right channel to raise this point :-)


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