The access channel provides services for the students to enter the personal space, including user login, quick access to platform subsystems or common functions, specialized learning columns and non-degree training. 


Figure 2  Structure of Portal Columns

2.2 Personal space

The personal space home page is the central reflection of the learning system functions. It is the integrated environment for individualized services for students’ online learning. See the personal space home page design in Figure 3 below.

(1) In terms of function, the personal space functions can be divided into the three categories of personal management, social management and learning management based on student service needs. This provides a virtual context for students’ individualized and socialized development. The various functions can be further divided with clear logic according to the content and nature of the students’ learning activities. 

(2) In terms of functional structure, the personal space functions are connected and integrated, then displayed on the left in a fixed directory tree which helps students view and manage the system. The right side displays the specific content of various functions, which are all geared to focused delivery of individualized learning support for the students.


Figure 3  Structure of Personal Space Columns

(Note: “Learning management” should be part of the left-side directory tree in the actual page)

2.3 Course space

Optimization of the course space home page helps to integrate the course with the platform and refine learning content and activities, thus facilitating their reuse and tracking, etc. Based on the above research results, the design of the course space home page is given in Figure 4 below.

(1) The course space home page provides universal course function columns that are closely related to course learning, and that can be flexibly arranged for different courses to facilitate large-scale production of courses. For instance, the “course experiments” sub-column can be removed for literature courses with no course experiments.

(2) The course function columns are also designed with the directory tree displayed on the left and the specific content of the functional service on the right, providing the students with a connected and integrated course learning space.

Figure 4  Structure of Course Space Columns

The course space is the weakest level of the three levels of the learning system, and it is also the key level for future development of the distance learning and management platform. As described above, LCMS and LAMS are platform design concepts at the course level, and they can be referenced when designing function columns for the course space of China’s distance learning and management platforms. The current state of China's platforms indicates that improvement of the course space should concentrate on the “course learning” column in the above figure, with three possible development trends described below.