Beyond IVLE

Disclaimer: This post is about complementing the goodness of IVLE with other tools available over the Internet. We do not accept responsibility for the leak of your personal NUS-related information through the use of these tools. The usage of the tools described in the article are the reader’s sole responsibility.

So, a couple of weeks into the semester and some students can already feel the burden. There is a certain urge in the air to form groups, to complete assignments on time and chase after other academic pursuits. As mentioned before, one of the major sources of academic resource is the Integrated Virtual Learning Environment, or IVLE. From forums and workbins to consultation planners, IVLE comes with a diverse set of features for students and instructors. Most of us log onto IVLE for downloading course materials and notes. However, the user interface of IVLE has drawn a lot of criticism for its feature-centric approach as opposed to a user-centric one. Sometimes, it is difficult to navigate through it to find the lesson plan or the readings. Luckily, the NUS Centre for Instructional Technology has been kind enough to open up a developer platform for IVLE to allow student-developed applications to be integrated with IVLE. In this post, I am going to talk about two very good tools which can make using IVLE easier.

One of the major issues associated with IVLE is that it is not mobile-friendly at all. The picture below shows how IVLE would look like if opened on a smartphone. With the need to be updated about classes, forum posts and readings on the go, it is vital that one must access IVLE from devices like the iPhone, Android, etc.

IVLE_iPhone

ivle.nus.edu.sg on a smartphone.

MODIVLE goes beyond being IVLE. It is a mobile-friendly and minimalist version of IVLE optimised for speed and efficiency. It does not clutter the screen with annoying screen divisions, buttons, advertisements and pop ups. Instead it presents a clean environment to get you focused on the things you most need, the files for the modules. The website aptly says, “Less Noise, More Work” and it surely means it.

Ivle_Modivle

MODIVLE.

A closer look at the interface.

The greatest feature of MODIVLE is in being completely mobile-compatible. The interface is very clean as can be seen from the screenshots above. Plus, it’s blazing fast even on the second time you use it, since the application does store some data about your modules. Apart from the module files (Workbin), it also has the forum and announcements features which can be great to browse especially when commuting around NUS in a bus.

The developer of the application is Michael Yong, a 3rd year Computer Science student and he can be found at http://yrmichael.com/. If you are interested in the source code of the application you can head over to Github and check out how this application was built. Let us know your experience of using this application in the comments below!

Another  application that caught my eye was the recently launched Arctic Drive. It is a Dropbox-like file-syncing application which automatically downloads files from IVLE and notifies you if there are announcements or new forum posts. Thus one does not need to continuously keep logging into IVLE to check these manually. Although the interface is not very polished yet, it gets the job done in an efficient manner. Once you have authorised the application, it will maintain a log of the forum posts, announcements and files that have been uploaded to IVLE. So, don’t worry about whether the lecture notes are 100 MB in size; Arctic Drive will work in the background to download the files and you will never have to worry about downloading your lecture notes when you need them the most.

Built by two Computer Engineering undergraduates, Arctic Drive has recently been featured on the IVLE Homepage. Arctic Drive works on all the computer platforms (Windows, Mac, and Linux). So do try it and provide some feedback in the comments below!

Till next time, be savvy.

Mohit