June 9, 2008, by Teaching at Nottingham

ePioneers project: standardising WebCT materials

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Matthew Nilan: “I think the project was a project related to one of the PGCE courses, and Paul Thompson, I think, was keen on developing a template based approach to developing e-learning materials.

“And his mentor was actually Gordon, but I became involved when – because I’d been experimenting with this software called XE, which is a, sort of, learning module development software, very easy to use, and I saw its applicability to a, sort of, template based approach in that the particular problem with PGCE is that you may have ten or 15 different people contributing materials, and unless there’s some way of co-ordinating the way in which they do that, the materials, although themselves, individually, might be fine, from a student perspective, coming into them and seeing them all at once, they just seem scrappy, because there’s no shared shape to them.

“And so that’s what we were trying to do, and I became involved because I’d found this piece of software. Again, it was one of those casual encounters where I just mentioned it, and I think, either to Gordon or to Paul Thompson.

“And we played around with it a bit, and it seemed to be what we were – it seemed to fit the bill, so that that was something that grew out of ePioneers, but has actually become the entire approach we now take to the flexible PGCE, which is delivered mainly online.

“And a brand new course, called the International PGCE, which is delivered entirely online, and the second cohort of students for that has just started in Nigeria, as we speak, and that’s based entirely on this piece of software, which we deliver via WebCT (now Moodle).

“So it’s, sort of, using a new piece of software with WebCT, which most of the tutors on that course are familiar with. So there’s some familiarity, some new, but we’re producing very consistent looking materials, even though a lot of people are involved in their production, which is what we were aiming to achieve.”

Gordon: “So we discovered a nice little bit of open source software, which can be used, which we have expertise within the school being used within one course, which is now being rolled out to anybody who’s coming to talk about how they might use WebCT and they might improve their practice. And who’s concerned about having high quality looking materials at very little cost to anybody.”

In conversation with: Gordon JoyesMatthew Nilan (School of Education).

Extracts from interviews with staff who are starting to use technology in their teaching, and those who are mentoring them. This video was originally published as part of PESL’s ePioneers collection. Produced June 2008.

Posted in Integrating technologyMoodle