Friday, June 01, 2012

Capacity Focus, 46c: eXe (a "simpler" tool than Xerte) and Moodle as e-learning content authoring and hosting frameworks for a cybercampus

Over the past few days, we have been looking at how we could author and host content for a cybercampus. Today, let's look a bit at eXe, which can be downloaded here.  

(NB:A step by step vid on downloading, installing and opening up eXe is here. The download package also comes with a manual that is useful, but I find that a live video is ever so much more helpful in initial orientation.)

Assuming you have eXe installed, here is a nice survey on creating an outline, and then we can go to content creation: add idevices (learning content -- several can be added in a page). Following up the overview, on creating content:

Saving and re-editing should be more or less familiar [and can be accessed through the manual], though it should be noted that there are several options. Just play with the program and consult the manual for help. What gets interesting again is the integration with Moodle as content (in this case as saved in SCORM -- a standard educational packaging format):

(Just as a bonus run into: putting Flash into Moodle. Here, on how to do same for a Youtube vid.)

In short, we have a learning management system capable of creating a cybercampus -- Moodle, and we have two content creation authoring packages, the slide oriented Xerte, and the page oriented eXe. Obviously both can be used together.

My suggestion is that slide oriented, multimedia heavy and interactive content should be used to introduce and give overviews, in a motivating manner. That would also fit in well with a teleconference. (This of course points to second chance secondary studies as requiring regular interactive and highly motivating sessions.)

When there is a lot of reading to do, it makes sense to use page oriented content. 

That can be in a PDF, or an e-Book, or just simply a longish web page that then offers the possibility of enfolding multimedia embeds etc. The package eXe looks great for this, and is pre-structured for education, which helps us get around the writer's block problem. 

Y'know: staring at a blank, blinking screen that just will not pull content out of us! 

If you are stuck, try doing a bit of brainstorming and using a group based or individual mind mapping exercise:

That should get the creative juices flowing.

Practically speaking, the slide stuff would work well for introductory summaries or overviews, and should be in a context that then points to detailed content and onward to exercises, case studies and assignments.

I would use web-based forums for interaction, between tutors or facilitators and participants, and between participants. (Moodle provides for that. It also gives us a way to do a collaborative Wiki, if the course participants are documenting a cluster of knowledge!)

 So, it looks like we have some viable free for download content, and only would have to address hosting and bandwidth issues to get the core of a cybercampus. 

(Only??? Da's where the cost and techies come in, or leasing server farms.) 

The micro-campus centres, add to that, by giving us a network of local nodes that students can access the programme, with facilitators, and with an administrative office. All without having to leave home, family, church and work. END