What is course authoring software and is it for me?

Authoring software is a tool used to help develop your course presentation. It doesn’t help plan your course or develop your learning goals with plenty of fun and intellectual creativity, what an authoring tool does is give you the ability to be creative with the delivery of your course.

Authoring software (or development tool or platform) allows you, or a group of people working together, to integrate different media with a professional presentation. Depending on which software is used you can integrate and develop all sorts of different media (videos, games, animations etc) to make interactive learning opportunities. There are almost no limitations.

You can customise your content for your business or training organisations needs. Want those logos everywhere? Need to have layout, colours, fonts consistent with other areas of the organisation?

Different software will give you different formats to publish the materials. These options are usually to insert into a webpage, save to disk and to export in various different formats. Some software will also assist with being published to a SCORM (Sharable Content Object Reference Model) package.
 
The great thing about using some kind of authoring software or tool is that you don’t have to be a programmer to get your course content looking primed, smooth and ready to go.
So, what kind of software do you need?

It depends entirely on the needs of your course. If you’re following the very popular and successful MOOC style of course you might just need to use video and forums and might not need any additional software. Check out Coursera to see how their courses are hosted.

Powerpoint could be considered authoring software. Powerpoint can have video and sound as well as many different word and still image features and can also be easily converted into video.
Over the next few weeks I will explore features on different tools. In the meantime the best thing to do is plan your course and explore the media and interactive features that are best going to help achieve your aims.

Remember – it doesn’t just have to look good, it has to be effective!

Here’s links to some popular Authoring Software:

http://exelearning.org/wiki

http://course-genie.software.informer.com/2.0/

http://www.adobe.com/products/captivate.html

http://www.articulate.com/

http://rapidintake.com/overview

http://courselab.com/db/cle/E746101340F8075FC32571690042CB16/doc.html

Check out the original article on eLearn Hub

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Wanna Be A Google Power Searcher?

Image representing Google as depicted in Crunc...

Image via CrunchBase

If you didn’t know already Google have a free online course showcasing their advanced search tools. It’s free and enrolment is open to everyone. Six classes, interactive activities and live chat hangouts all culminate in a post course assessment, yes – the big A – Assessment, after which you receive a certificate to print out and hang on your wall.

Who is doing it? Lots of people, I’m doing it and am looking forward to seeing how it all runs.

Although not being called a ‘MOOC’ it easily falls into being a Massive Open Online Course and has drummed up a lot of blog posts similar to this one – everyone is talking about it. A criticism of MOOC’s is the sheer number of people getting lost amongst the different conversations.  There can be a big learning curve for a participant to take before finding their focus during the course. I’m really looking forward to discovering Google’s structure in handling a large volume of learners.

I am also genuinely interested in learning how to effectively search using Google, it will open up another whole new world.

Check it out, Google Power Search, July 10 – July 23 2012

http://www.google.com/insidesearch/landing/powersearching.html

MOOCey MOOCers

Check out this new MOOC website where you can go to find out more about the latest MOOC happenings.

MOOC me

For those of you who aren’t familiar with the term, MOOC’s are a Massive Open Online Course, most of the time they are completely free – bonus!

What happens is, you sign up and get confirmation with links and support information, there are webinars and content each week followed by online discussions.

The biggest hurdle is transitioning from being a ‘lurker’ to an active participant.  I have spent a lot of time lurking through discussions looking for that place where I feel I fit in before participating.  Sometimes there can be a lot of contributors and so a lot of information to go through.  The best way to handle it is to find topics that interest you and respond to what people have written, contribute to a discussion.

Why do I like MOOC’s so much?  It’s because I get the chance to connect with like minded people and have meaningful discussions.  People can be anywhere in the world and we’ve got the opportunity to connect in a relevant learning space.

Take from it what you like, but give it a go.

MOOCers – everyone’s doing it!