Cool Tools from UBC

An artlcle and links from University of British Columbia’s e-Strategy newsletter (no RSS!) features some interesating tools developed at the UBC Arts ISIT.

<tiphat>Tip of the blg hat to my colleague Michelle, who has one of the funkier blog names for an educator ;-) </tiphat>

You gotta like the fun photos of the tool creators on the news story.

One is a WebCT Discussion board extracter, used to archive parts or all of threaded discussion for analysis or re-use, (see demo), which provides the threads rather than the linear list which WebCT exports. Apparently it also can create RSS feeds from threads as well.

The other is a Timeline constructor tool, which looks like we web page authoring interface to create interactive timelines presented as Flash (see demo), suggesting a way for faculty to be able to build these without “much fuss.”

ˆ¨Weˆ‚ve built learning object tools that in turn build learning objects themselves,ˆÆ said Warren Scott. ˆ¨By doing that, dozens if not hundreds of other people can create timelines and save threaded discussions, which are actually learning objects. This creates exponential growth in the number of re-usable learning objects that can be re-used and re-purposed in other courses by other faculty and students.ˆÆ

While this is the kind of thing I have been barking about (an over emphasis on meta-data and “repositories” and a lack of tools to build things from learning objects), and I know and respect Warren’s work, the quote above is a bit of a stretch. It does allow faculty to create interactive timelines, which very well could be re-usable LOs, but it builds them from not learning obejcts, but media assets. It might be exponential if one could say build timelines from other timelines.

And while I like the concept, the timeline was a little difficult to handle- it is either moving left or right, mking it difficult to click the icons that make the music play or the videos appear (and to click the control buttons on these items). Also, it seemed like the years and.or the events on the timelines are hyperlinked (cursor changes to a hand), but nothing happens- it would be more useful to be able to link event items to external web sites, either to link to related information, or even to pose an activity question.

While I can crtique anything, I do find it is a wonderful first level concept as a tool, so hats off to the Canadians!

We need more tools to build things from learning objects, tagging, searching and finding still leaves you only with a pile of objects.

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Profile Picture for Alan Levine aka CogDog
An early 90s builder of the web and blogging Alan Levine barks at CogDogBlog.com on web storytelling (#ds106 #4life), photography, bending WordPress, and serendipity in the infinite internet river. He thinks it's weird to write about himself in the third person.