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Xerte Online Toolkits – an ideal OER creation tool?

ManYang13 May 2011

Having heard of Xerte a number of times since starting on the OER project but never had a chance to look at it, I was delighted to find that there was a workshop Content Creation in an Open World: Xerte Online Toolkits and the Xpert Repository on the first day of the OER11 conference that took place in Manchester this week.

The Xerte Online Toolkits is an Open Source content creation tool developed by the Information Services team at the University of Nottingham with the help of JISC Techdis. It allows non-technical staff to quickly and easily build rich, interactive and engaging resources with high levels of accessibility already built in.

I was very impressed by this powerful suite of browser-based tools. The wide discussions on “Your ideal OER creation tool” recently suggest people like the OER creation tool to be cross-platform/web-based, easy to use, have the ability to search for and use existing OER content built in, and encourage creativity through the ability to mash-up and remix text, images, audio, video etc. Xerte plus Xpert, which is a repository of open educational learning resources, seem to match the requirements here.

We were giving a USB flash drive with the toolkits on and I can’t wait to get this installed and tried on my machine.

I’m broadcasting, but is there anyone out there?

Holly JSmith16 February 2011

I’m finding it harder than I thought to convert activities I’ve done many times in face to face classes to individual study materials!  Even where I had a really clear task specification, if it is read by someone alone out there it is completely missing any context.

So, Ive been busy writing introductions to each activity,  a sort of preamble of all the things I might say when I ask people to do the task in a face to face class. It is very different to have these written down as I make  spontaneous remarks, putting my pre-written task in the context of that particular class, and the history of discussions we’ve had in it. I guess when I introduce a task in class I’m selling it to that very particular audience, and so I might do it in different ways with different groups. When I speak I’m locating the activity in the ongoing history of our relationship, and trying to link back to what was said or done earlier and forward to what we’ll be doing later in the course. By writing down these spontaneous remarks as introductions I’m addressing an imagined reader with whom I have no history and will have no interaction. I wonder what they will make of them…

iPad friendly OERs

ManYang15 February 2011

Saw the news article about iPad Officially Passes the Higher Education Test along with the discussion on iPad in Education in ALT forum recently and felt quite interesting.

OER is about portability and re-usability. As the OER developers, we need think again about the file formats we are using, and how to make our OERs more accessible and adoptable. We are already using HTML and PDF. But EPUB format is missing which is great for iPad. Maybe we should try convert some of our handbooks into eBooks?

With the increasing popularity of iPad,  there is no doubt more people will access the OERs from their iPads. So it’s important that our OERs are iPad friendly!

JorumOpen? Now it’s Jorum only

ManYang9 February 2011

Just about to deposit our first release of the resources into JorumOpen. But realised from this week’s  Elluminate session that JorumOpen is no longer exist. Instead all Jorum resources are now in one single database.

It might mean simple platform for Jorum. But be aware that when you search for resources , you will be presented with one single list of resources,  shared under different licence options – Creative Commons and Jorum EducationUK. The latter, which was also introduced recently by Jorum,  allows users to access and use a resource in UK Education for any non-commercial purposes that are conducive to education, teaching, learning, private study and/or research.

It is also interesting to know that new Jorum widgets and API have been developed and will be available for us to use soon. I certainly want to try the widgets on the OER@UCL website, or the  project website?