Posts Tagged 'authoring tools'

Where I Am Now

I work within a College, which is part of a larger University, the University of the Highlands and Islands. My input into HE materials is less frequent than my input into FE, as decisions at HE level tend to come from the centre, in Inverness. Therefore, my work does tend to concentrate on vocational subjects, and the lower end of HE as defined by UHI (HNC and HND level).

I believe in trying to lead the student towards the constructivist end of the learning spectrum. I think this can be done from NQ level right through to post grad level. How? I think the webquest model is as good a starting point as any. The structure of a webquest leads the student via behaviourist, scaffolded and constructivist models by telling, leading then asking ‘what if?’. Different levels of student would require different levels of materials and challenges, and the webquest model can he used in multiple arenas and using various tools; indeed, it doesn’t need to look like a webquest at all.

What this means in reality for teaching staff, is less time spent on materials creation. As students move up the learning food chain, the teacher’s input (in terms of home grown materials offered to students) lessens. The student goes out and does the work. Finally, they will be seeking new problems as well as solutions to the ones offered as part of their learning.

I’m increasingly coming round to the view that authoring tools are becoming less and less important, as is the flavour of your particular LMS. Do you need an LMS and authoring tool to teach effectively online? I would say the answer to that is categorically ‘no’.

However, my institution insists that we use the organisational VLE, which is currently Blackboard. We use Softchalk to package materials, for the most part, but have access to other tools such as Lectora, Raptivity and Adobe’s eLearning Suite. Softchalk tends to be used for its ease of use, and the look and accessibilty of its output.

I believe in offering students alternative formats of materials, and am constantly pushing the merits of audio and video. We encourage the use of high quality microphones for high quality audio, and video cameras such as the Vado and Flips for quick, cheap and cheerful video production. I would like to experiment with podcasting, but haven’t really done so yet in terms of updated content.

I would love to have the opportunity to be part of a planned and funded online course which would stretch the boundaries of the concepts and tools above, but it never really happens. Materials are usually required ‘next week’, and things are usually done on the hoof.

In terms of social networking, I use Twitter and YourVersion for observation, and sometimes conversation. So I am aware of the concept of connectivism, but not necessarily an advocate for it. Use of social media to keep in touch with latest developments in any sphere seems like a no brainer to me.

I’m also undertaking an Executive Diploma in Management which will run parallel with Change, so I’m in for a few busy months.

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