I’m looking at some interesting uses of PowerPoint/Presenter as stand alone resources which might be seen as multi-modal workbooks, animated, engaging objects which stand-alone for the student.
The other concern about ‘transferring practice to alternative contexts’ has arisen in connection with staff asking about the ‘online delivery of lectures’. It looks like institutionally there will be some support for Adobe Connect but whether staff are in a position to use it effectively will depend on a range of external factors. I’m preparing for a couple of PD events on the PowerPoint-> Presenter-> Connect equation and again, it raises a number of interesting issues.
Why! The educational developer’s favourite question. Why do you want to ‘deliver the lecture’ online? Why is it a lecture? Why is the student going to benefit from this mode of delivery? I’m looking at some interesting uses of PowerPoint/Presenter as stand-alone resources which might be seen as multi-modal workbooks, animated and engaging objects that stand-alone for the student. These might then indeed have some kind of facilitated discourse around them, and that may well happen inside Connect so the presentation (or an alternative version of it) might be shared and annotated, referenced and so on. I am struggling with the concept that the online synchronous ‘presentation’ is an effective use of the student, or lecturer, time. Why (there’s that word again!) would one take the time to present? Maybe it relates in part to the fact that in our face-to-face practice we can ‘half-prepare’ the representation because we often ‘busk’ around the edges. If we want to create a genuinely usefully internally scaffolded and referenced presentation… well that takes real work.
Do most academic staff consider these issues of internal structure to their content? Or are they so used to dealing with a linear information exchange model that they just don’t think about it? Who can blame them? How do we change that? How do we move from the ‘Sage on the Stage’ approach to the ‘content author/facilitator’ model on an institutional basis?
The mismatch or disjuncture in the authoring process for Word and the online learning delivery environment. We may NOT want academic staff authoring content direct into the VLE, but we need them close enough to the delivery context to understand the issues of sequencing, pause, reflection and action.
Working this week with a variety of practical tools to develop learning content and thinking seriously about how they are structured, internally referenced, and where the opportunities for scaffolding professional development within them might be. This seems easiest at first glance with the Frontpage eXe editing tool which creates reasonable XHTML code and has a variety of expert options including IMS/SCORM packages that work fine in Moodle at least. However, it raises some really interesting questions about ‘how’, in practice, most academic staff actually build the materials they use in their teaching. Here I’ve been dealing with content written in word and passed to an administrative member of staff who has ‘transferred’ it into eXe. There are clear issues with awful Mso code being imported which is tiresome to get rid of.
More interesting is perhaps the mismatch or disjuncture in the authoring process for Word than for the delivery environment. We may NOT want academic staff authoring content directly into the VLE, but we need them close enough to the delivery context to understand the issues of sequencing, pause, reflection and action. The argument might be for the development of a more structured ‘template’ for each authoring environment, and indeed the professional conversation with authoring teams around the development of a template would in itself prove valuable. My own development of these MS-Word-> eXe materials for one specific undergraduate course makes me think there must be a better way. Just need more time to think about what it might be.
I’m re-engaging with Second Life. Why? Well partly I like torturing myself in a slightly masochistic sense by visiting all these mammoth University Campus islands with their beautifully designed (empty) lecture theatres and marvel at the idea that so many bright people could have so spectacularly missed the point. But I also feel that I should be giving Vision FLux (yes, that’s my SL name) a little bit more of a run. I fancy Vision is getting somewhat wide around the waist and needs a little more exercise. I have been in SL on and off since 2006 and I still don’t think I’ve quite come to terms with that identity. Needs work.
Had an interesting meeting with staff at SouthPacificPress on the 14th. They produce some really interesting materials to support literacy development in a classroom context called CSI (Comprehension Strategies Instruction), blending PD for staff with learner resource. The ‘interactive’ dimension is relatively limited but not inappropriate given that it is all teacher-led. It was interesting to see that proprietary interactive software being used to protect IPR. It made me think about the effectiveness of teaching literacy and writing and the idea that one can separate the two. As I left I couldn’t help thinking about the improvements in literacy through creative writing workshops using ‘itinerant’ teachers (‘resting’ authors mostly) in the ‘Valencia 826’ project.
It was a very interesting conversation. To come from last weeks focus on OER to be talking about the needs and concerns of publishers, investing a lot in resource development, was very thought provoking.
Creating truly accessible learning objects with basic slideware
It’s always difficult to remember where a good idea comes from ! Two years ago, Kevin Burden and I, along with Theo Kuechel, began to conceptualise what became the DiAL-e Framework of ‘learning designs’ (www.dial-e.net). It was an iterative process of design classifications from 6, then 7 to 9 and finally 10 designs or categories of learner experiences.
Two of these were further divided into different iterations of the design. In London on the 8th/9th April, Kevin and I moved from coffee shop to the Institute of Education to coffee shop describing the process to each other as we remembered it. One wishes one had twittered and blogged then to have captured some of that process. Essentially we were considering a process. We were determined not to illustrate the NewsFilm archive with subject based exemplars back in 2007 and instead developed a framework, a window frame, for looking at a variety of facets, learning objects, archive materials, web 2.0 technologies, even staff assumptions about technology use. We have descriptions, and exemplars of different learning engagement techniques for different learning contexts. At workshops (ASCILITE07, ED-MEDIA08) these were well received and commented on.
Now we are beginning to take them out to everyone, not just the educational technologists and academic developers. And so we have agreed to populate the dial-e.net space with examples which can be ‘backwards engineered’ in a variety of simple accessible forms, slideware such as PowerPoint and HTML editors such as eXe. By the time we get to the European LAMS & Learning design Conference in July09 and EDUCAUSE in Nov09 we would hope to have provided significant access to the DiAL-e designs and see evidence of them being used.
We keep asking ourselves what other people mean by reusability, but seeing people download PPT files, edit them, deliver them and share them again would satisfy my definition !