Supporting e-Learning applications and tools

During a meeting yesterday, it struck me how many internal and external e-Learning related or Web 2.0 applications I seem to get asked about. As a result of this, I thought it might be good idea to get down a list of tools that I could refer to in future meetings. I’m pretty sure that all of the following have free signups.

e-Learning Tools at the University of Bath

  • Moodle – Our institutional Virtual Learning Environment. We’re currently running version 1.9+.
  • Confluence – A tool that allows for the fast, easy creation of wiki pages which can be used for collaborative activities.
  • Learning Material Filestore (LMF) – An online file storage and sharing facility available to all students and staff at the University of Bath. Whilst strictly speaking this is the responsibility of the Web Services team, we often point colleagues towards this, and might offer some help and advice.

Web 2.0

  • Social networking websites, mostly Facebook and LinkedIn in relation to how it might be used to support learning and teaching related activities.
  • Social bookmarking websites. I usually point colleagues towards my personal favourite del.icio.us, though Diigo seems to be increasing in popularity.
  • Blogging tools such as WordPress. In addition, newer “micro-blogging” websites such as Twitter.
  • A place to find images to use in lecturers or presentations. Flickr and Google Images are two examples, though I often stress the copyright implications of using such resources.
  • Applications for subscribing to RSS feeds are usually of interest. I use Google Reader, though I’m aware of a variety of others. I point colleagues to the BBC website for a good definition of what RSS feeds are and how to get started.
  • For subscribing to podcasts, which could well be hosted in the LMF, I’d recommend iTunes. An alternative is Juice.
  • For podcast creation, as well as other general audio-editing, Audacity comes recommended.
  • For videos, YouTube seems like the obvious choice. The less popular Google Video is alternative for hosting content.
  • There’s also Google Docs, which is a free, Web-based word processor, spreadsheet, and presentation application offered by Google. It allows users to create and edit documents online while collaborating in real-time with other users.
  • In addition, we offer recommend SlideShare, which in the spirit of YouTube [see above], allows users to upload their PowerPoint presentations for viewing and sharing. Presentations can be tagged and permissions set so that downloading of presentations can be allowed/disallowed.

Other

  • The University of Bath has a site licence to Bristol Online Surveys, which is a service that allows staff to develop, deploy and analyse surveys via the web. For a non-University hosted solution (which students can also use to create surveys), SurveyMonkey is often a good alternative.
  • We have implemented phpMyFAQ to power the Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) database for our Moodle installation.

Phew! I think that’s all. If there’s anything else I’ve missed, please do let me know.


19 June 2008 – The e-Learning team have recently acquired in 25 audience response systems from TurningPoint. The specific model that we own is ResponseCard RF. Please do get in touch if you’d like to find out more.

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