Tuesday, July 15, 2008

Subject advice

Another issue with repurposing the learning material has been the editing of subject specific content. The first learning object that I uploaded was generic (reading critically) but the two yesterday were to support students learning basic laboratory and microscopy skills.

I've contacted two of the medical sciences academics that I liaise with regularly and asked for their help and advice in repurposing the material. I'll post the outcome of this when I hear back from them.

More repurposing

I spent yesterday uploading more learning material into our WebCT and organising the content into modules. This proved to be a hit and miss affair depending on the organisation of the files within the zip file downloaded from Jorum. Both learning modules were designed as SCORM (Sharable Content Object Reference Model) packages so that you should be able to simply upload them into WebCT as they are.

However, after uploading the first SCORM package I wanted to edit the order of the files and delete a couple of them. I tried to find a way of doing this in WebCT but couldn't. I then tried to edit the original files on my computer then re-save them but this didn't work either. I've contacted one of our eLearning team so I'm hoping that they'll find a way of doing this as editing the SCORM package within WebCT would be by far the most convenient way of repurposing.

I found that most of the files were named according to the original users' needs. This didn't make further organisation very easy as I had to go into each file (about 30) and rename them with meaningful titles. Compare this with the first ever learning object that I downloaded that included a file called 'Read me' with full instructions on which order to put files etc. So, for example the first learning object that I worked on yesterday was a module made up of about 163 HTML files. These were listed as below:

page2.html and so on...

Unfortunately these pages weren't in the order of the module and many of the files included were images (figues and tables within other HTML files) and so weren't necessarily needed to be listed in the module in WebCT.

The compatibility of SCORM with WebCT has big implications for academics, librarians and other learning technologists to be able to repurpose material easily. Having said this, thoughtful organisation and naming of files would also have saved me alot of time and hassle. In our end of project report I'll be compiling all of our usability feedback and contacting Jorum with it. It would be great if when repurposing content new users give tips on how they have either improved the organisation or metadata of the original material and/or highlighted the challenges they faced. If this knowledge could be added to the metadate in Jorum this could improve the process for any further users. Just a thought.