Many of you may know about rich media content authoring tools like iSpring, Captivate, Adobe PresenterArticulate Storyline, Office Mix, and Kaltura.  These are amongst some of the most well-known authoring tools for eLearning content. These tools typically go beyond simple slide text and audio recording, and include branching, quizzes, video, and multimedia (pictures, video, audio), seamlessly integrated together, with marks exportable to Grade Centre (in Blackboard Learning Management System). 

In December 2015 ITS were asked to investigate demand for a university-wide advanced authoring tool. At that time, SmartSparrow was offering an enterprise-wide licence, but demand beyond the existing user base could not be identified.  ITS undertook a consultation process with UQ's eLearning developers, instructional designers, learning and training professionals to collect requirements, and shortlist options.

Findings:

There is already a level of functionality built into Blackboard which is suitable for basic learning resource production. More advanced rich media authoring tools often require significant expertise to operate and it is not yet clear that the majority of coordinators can justify the investment required.  A wide variety of tools were found to be in use at UQ, and no single authoring tool could be identified that meets all, or even the majority, of the needs collected.

Training for iSpring is currently available free to UQ staff on request as part of a pilot of that product in 2015. Support information is also available for the Office Mix users.

Other relevant components might include cloud storage of objects for sharing (Learning Object Repository - LOR), but with access control to allow a restriction of access to UQ students to comply with UQ's copyright licence to use external material for the purposes of teaching our students only. Any material should be accessibile from the LMS (Blackboard) by students and display and execute reliably.

Warning: SCORM (“Sharable Content Object Reference Model”) defines how to create “sharable content objects” or “SCOs” that can be reused in different systems and contexts. Due to some SCORM packages not working reliably as a standard in any learning management platform (including Learn.UQ - Blackboard) it is recommended that presentations be published in Flash + HTML5 format. This means that only formative quizzes can be included in your presentation i.e. marks will not be returned to Grade Centre. Coordinators requesting support for SCORM packages can do so if their school has negotiated a service level agreement to cover related support costs. If your school does not have a support agreement please contact ITS.