Turns out to be my last session attended at the League for Innovation CIT conference was from the Wisc Online – the Wisconsin Online Resource Center (note: link fails for Safari web browsers despite current flash plug-in).
The presentation pretty much as shown is available directory from their site (the “tour” button bottom center) as well as from the nifty biz-card sized CD-ROMs they provide.
Presenters Kay Chitwood and David Bunnow provided an overview and a good set of examples from the mroe than 1000 learning objects developed under this project. This 5 year old project supports the Wisconsin Technical College System.
Funded by a FIPSE grant in 1999, they started building learning objects but found more important to have a repository. A second grant from the national Science Foundation as supported new objects created for manufacturing areas. New funding from the state for adult education shows support is growing. They also have funding now from “eTech Wisconsin” the distance learning provider for the system.
Their definition of learning objects is “web-based self-contained chunks of learning… small enough to be embedded in a learning activity, lesson, or course. They are flexible, portable, and adaptable and can be used in multiple learning environments and across disciplines.” The presenters admit a narrower than most defintion, but also not that with more than 1000 objects created and in regular use, they have met their goals.
The scope or defined granularity is small, and closer to what others would define as media assets (I am not so sure about that). From a handout (an approximation here):
---- Courses ------ Units ------ Lessons -----
------- Learining Activities ---| learning objects ------|
Their LOs are at or bellow the lesson level.
LOs are proposed and the content provided by faculty, for faculty, with assistance of Wisc-online development teams. Instructors choose content, instructional designers adapt content, and tech developers build it, reviewers and editors evaluate the object, teacher approves final. (so this is a model of tech staff building LOs for faculty). Faculty authors and technical developers are listed on each objects credit screen. Objects also include buttons to submit email delivered “reviews”.
David makes judgement whether proposals are “Cecile B. de Mille” (too grand a production) or something so specialized that it could not be re-used. His key question, “Does it have legs?” meaning is it something that can have a high degree of use and re-use.
They have a team of 6 technical developers. They recruit students from CIS program as interns, paid $10/hour, they get real portfolio examples. Some get hired on full time.
All objects are developed as Flash (having gone through Toolbook, AutthorWare, Director, Flash is now the most prevalent playback platform).
Time for development> 1 hour of content development to 6 hours of development time, for a brand new type fo activity; if it is one of series, the subsequent ones are developed faster.
Objectrs are not open source, they are accessed directly from a link to the Wisc online site, so the ,swf files are not re-purposed in other contexts and the .fla files are not availablr. This is use for WTSC colleges, but outsiders can use but are asked to contact the author.
- Sine Bar- measuring abgles
- Cylnderical Grinder- learn parts of machine
- GWAT Weld Pool- demonstrates welding process with video, an experience cannot be done directly with students
- Reading Indicator Quiz: practice reading gauges
- Using a goniometer- used in physical therapy, determines movability. Measuring angles, uses body figures created in Poser
- Socialization- a simple timeline or lifeline wiht fill in boxes, can be printed or emailed
- Conversions Pre-test – convert fractions, decimals, percents- this is just drill/practice, another one covers explanation of how to do it.
- Anatomy of the Ear
Also 300 LOs being developed for Anatomy and Physiology.
comments It is hard to argue against the sheer number of objects available. The are “re-usable” in the sense that they can be re-used in other disciplines but the media or objects themselves are not resuable because they only way to get to them is via the links on the Wisc-Online site (a use would be a teacher providing a direct link to students, or a link from a web course page).
A number of them are more or less click and read sequenced sections, maybe with animated text and wooshing graphics a la the old hypercard method of content with next and back arrows.Some are pure drill and practice, with just “correct/incorrect” for feedback. I would prefer to see a bit more randomness to these as students can get clued to test and practice patterns and repeated content.
Others have a higher degree of user control and are less linear, and it appears they are getting into ones that are feature virtual tools and manipulatives.
I can see faculty in our system getting some use out if these, if at least to give them some ideas.
But again, 1000 objects is a lot to be said for.