The concept of e-learning is an umbrella notion covering web-based learning, computer-assisted learning, virtual classrooms and digital communication. As a rule, e-courses combine a variety of technological means and media. The University of Tartu employs e-learning in UT open university studies as well as in degree programmes and continuing education programmes offered by way of non-distance learning.
The e-courses offered at the University of Tartu are rarely completely Web-based. Instead, they involve a combination of e-learning and classroom learning. Generally, three types of e-learning arrangements can be distinguished:
- fully Web-based learning - the entire learning process (content communication, dissemination of information, communication between course participants, learner evaluations) takes place via the Internet. There are either no classroom meetings, or the classroom meetings are optional. The course can be completed without any classroom contact at all;
- partly Web-based learning - although the learning process takes place via the Internet, there are certain classroom seminars or consolidation sessions which learners are required to attend;
- classroom learning with Web support - the learning process takes place in the classroom (by way of regular lectures, seminars and/or consolidation sessions), while the course's web-based learning environment is used to post study materials or instructions from the teacher, to submit homework assignments, etc.