Friday, February 15, 2008

Development Tools - Experiences


There are numerous tools that people use to develop courseware. These include Dreamweaver, FrontPage, Lectora, Toolbook, Flash, PowerPoint, Photoshop, FireWorks, Javascript, and others (as well as combinations of some of these).

Please post your experiences here, good and bad, with the tools you use, or have used.

11 comments:

Edward said...

My favorite tools are:

MindManager by MindJet -- A wonderful, feature-rich mapping tool that integrates with MS Office.

Camtasia by TechSmith – A very clean tool for creating screencasts and doing simple video editing.

Audacity, a freeware sound editing tool.

With these in my kit, I can create some very compelling presentations.

Ed said...

Most of my experience comes from Dreamweaver. I have other, extensive experience using course delivery systems such as WebCT and now Sakai.

Laura said...

Camtasia, Compendium (mindmapping tool), Captivate, Audacity and PowerPoint for storyboards. Also eXe is interesting, but I've only played around with it. Elluminate and WizIQ for synchronous learning.

Edward said...

Laura: I had not heard of Compendium before. Thank you for the reference.

The one thing I like about MindManager over other mapping tools is MM's ability to output maps directly into MS Office files. I can create a map that becomes my PPT for a presentation or becomes an MS Word document I can deliver to my supervisor. I have yet to find any mapping too with this ability.

Ted Kopp said...

Thank you for your comments (please add more as appropriate!) - here are a few of my thoughts:

For course development, I really like Lectora. In particular, I find its inheritance structure, automatic page numbering, and its publishing options (including SCORM) very appealing.

For web development itself, my preference is Dreamweaver, for features, ease-of-use, etc. A good open-source alternative is Nvu, which I have just begun exploring.

For the creative side, Flash and Photoshop are very good - and very complicated. Captivate, on the other hand, isn't as fancy, but is very easy to use, especially if you are doing screen-shot-based simulations.

Vic Uzumeri said...

Our approach is a bit odd. We start every eLearning development project from a video. We have found that video is the easiest way to record SME interactions. Even if you throw that video away, it can save several cycles of editing and revision.

With that as background, we rely heavily on Camtasia, bbFlashback, ffMPEG, Gallery2, Eclipse, Sorenson Squeeze, etc.

We complement these with some homebrew software applications.

One offbeat tool has proven surprisingly useful. Sothink Quicker is an Adobe Flash editor that works directly to and from swf files. We can take all sorts of video inputs, convert them to swfs and edit them directly. We don't need to maintain parallel .fla catalogs.

There are lots of other little gizmos, but they all relate to our focus on Flash video as our primary raw material.

Edward said...

I have actually considered this approach when dealing with clinical faculty! I am now heavily involved with creating scenarios for clinical simulation for the SFSU School of Nursing using Laerdal equipment (and soon the Laerdal mannequins will be interfacing with B-Line Medical's SimCapture and SimBridge products). Creating the written versions of the scenarios is relatively easy compared to capturing the small details the authoring instructor imparts on the students during the simulation experience itself. These small but important nuggets of knowledge then need to be incorporated into the write up so other, less experienced faculty can run the same scenarios and be as effective as the clinical expert in that area.

I wonder if the School of Nursing will pop for a DVC...

Vic Uzumeri said...

You don't need to pop for much in the way of video equipment if the goal is knowledge capture, rather than presentation.

Our current favorite: the
RCA EZ201

Costs about $100 (plus $20 for 2GB SD chip) and you can buy it in WalMart, Sams, Walgreens, Circuit City and Amazon.

graphik1 said...

I use Captivate for Flash Tutorials, Flash for animation, SnagIt for screen captures and editing, and Lectora for eLearning module development. These are my favorites!

I just learned of a new tool for modules called Composica Enterprise. The demo was awesome if anyone is interested. Although I was a little weary when you had to complete a request form to get the price. :-\

Udutu is a nice tool for branched scenarios but slow while developing because the page has to keep refreshing every time you made a change.

Cheryl McNeil
Graphik Connexions

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