The value of a Institution supported VLE whilst you develop your PLE
Consistency of experience must be key, if only as the initially offering, i.e assume nothing about what students bring in terms of IT skills and build on this.
In the past students came to university with the ability to read, this didn't mean they relied on their local library or their own books. The VLE is the digital version of the campus: admin, support, library, course materials, tutor groups, assessment and so on.
We were given reading lists. The student in 2011 still has a reading list, though hopefully there are activities too, beyond reading/observing and taking notes.
There need to be parameters, a 'walled garden' of sorts, in order to create a sense of common purpose, of singing from the same script. The VLE can do this. Whilst also offering what might be a safe training griund for PLE tools, such as e-portfolios, blogs and social media. And bridging the two of course is blended learning, where you can be on campus and online and so mix and match, indeed realising that one compliments the other and both/all represent the new reality - neither VLE or PLE, just how we learn in 2011.
Next thing we'll learn that students can study in the language of their choice as a click of Google Translation and you're communicating.
(Now there's a thought)