A Trip Across the City!

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For what it’s worth, I found it hard to find a free image of businesswomen shaking hands (clarification: with their faces showing, not just generic hands!). Make of that what you will, and take into account the fact that I spent less than 6 minutes on the endeavor, but it did remind me of Women Laughing Alone with Salad.  

Anyway! My stock photo woes aside, this week is busy busy busy. Yesterday, I took a trip over to Mary Immaculate College to carry out my interview for TW5212. I interviewed an educational technologist, who actually did this MA about 6 years ago! He informed me that there are a few past-MA students working in educational technology over there, which is awesome. 

The interview was a fantastic experience. I am not going to lie, when I first heard about this assignment last semester, I recoiled at the thought of A) tracking down a stranger and asking them to give me an hour of their time, and B) actually interviewing them in person. The horror! I couldn’t have been more wrong.

I decided to contact my interviewee as my summer project (an online resource for UL students) has deepened my interest in third level education and technology. 

Trolls and Technology…

In 2014, I went on Erasmus to Norway for 5 months. At that point, I was used to technology in college in the form of Sulis, emails and those headsets we used in Spanish labs in first year! Everything in Norway was done with technology. In some of my classes, instead of putting up our hands and answering questions, we would log into a website and type our opinions via our smartphones. I believe it was a function of the university’s Learning Management System, Fronter. Which, by the way, I can pronounce in an impeccable Norwegian accent. 

Many of the business classes were simply too large to fit in one hall, so half of the class would sit in a lecture hall with the lecturer, and the other half would sit in the hall next door and watch via videolink. When it came to exams, we used our own laptops! We had to download software that locked us into the test, and wrote our essays from our own devices. I learned to just shrug and think “Okay, so this is how we do things here” a lot. 

Times are a-changin’…

All this to say, I am fascinated with how technology is creeping into universities. Speaking to my interviewee, it became obvious that the field has exploded with interest in the past 4 or 5 years, and that it is rapidly expanding. He provided me with so much insight into how we can effectively communicate with clients, and the challenges that we can face when bringing technology to reluctant users.

He also gave me a lot of think about, software wise. He mentioned some great open-source resources, such as eXeLearning which is another option to look at for the summer project! 

The rest of the week…

I am hyper-focused on getting my RM6011 proposal finished. I have the bones of it complete, and in my head know where I am going. The biggest challenge ahead is redesigning my interface designs! I am happy with the specifications I have already, but I need to create them in Illustrator, where I think they’ll ‘look the part’ more. 

Until next time! 

Software limitations and frustrations

software

I would like to learn all the software and create all the pretty things, however real life doesn’t quite work that way. I have spent a lot of this weekend researching the various software applications available for creating e-learning content. I feel I need to make a decision now, as I am creating a digital resource for EL6072, and it makes sense to learning the software that I will ultimately create my summer project with. However, is that the right decision?

My original target was to use a combination of Dreamweaver CC and Animate CC to create my courses.
Pros? Both come with Adobe Creative Cloud, which costs a meager €20 a month. The cloud comes with many other applications I am excited to learn, including Photoshop, Illustrator and InDesign. I have already committed to this license, and have all the apps ready-to-go on my laptop. I have been enjoying using Illustrator for my interface designs for EL6072.
Cons? They are unfortunately not the technologies of the future. I realised today, when I went to play a Flash game (to get an idea of the capabilities), that Google Chrome disables Flash by default. That is a worrying trend.
Thoughts? I read this blog post on Adobe.com about how much more flexible Animate CC is than its past incarnations. It seems that being compatible with a HtML5 Canvas is a must these days, and if I can optimise my course for that (as my preliminary research shows), it may be more accessible across different browsers. There seem to be plenty of tutorials online showing how to convert Action Script 3.0 to HTML5. It has also become apparent to me that nobody on the internet agrees. Across independent blogs and discussion forums, there seem to be many people against the idea of Animate CC, but just as many rooting for it.

The other obvious choices are Storyline Articulate and Adobe Captivate. Both are rapid authoring tools, and classmates have reported good experiences with Articulate. Unfortunately, both come with a hefty price tag that I can’t reach. I am now considering perhaps downloading the Articulate Trial to learn the ropes and perhaps create my EL6072 resource, but ultimately Animate/Dreamweaver appears to be the path I am on for my summer project. I think it’s important to factor in the fact that we are heading into Week 9, and I have many other assignments to complete alongside the EL6072 resource.