Xerte Online Toolkits

Uploaded by NottmUniversity on 11.06.2010

Hello, my name is Wyn Morgan and I'm the Director of Teaching and Learning here at the University
of Nottingham. I'd like to spend a few minutes introducing you to Xerte online toolkits.
While many academics are very interested in the development of online learning materials,
they do find it difficult, and perhaps a bit daunting, and the whole purpose of Xerte was
to make it easy, to make it straightforward, and make e-learning materials accessible to
a much broader community.
Until recently, many academic colleagues were quite confused by the array of technologies
available to them to engage with e-learning, and in particular they found some of the jargon
quite confusing, and some of the software choices quite bewildering.
The template driven nature of them allows lots of different ways of putting together
the pedagogy and it releases teachers to do what they do well without having to worry
about the technology side.
For me the tools are good because they allow me to work on the material when I want to
and in the way I want to.
The thing I really love about Xerte from my own experience is that I can share the production
of a learning object with someone else.
From the plain pages through the range of interactive pages, through to the rich media
content, and dynamic content, I think teachers and potentially learners are really finding
it a powerful tool.
Working to remove technical barriers, and to ensure that the new tools are easy to use,
has developed a whole range of skills and competences among academic staff, and as a
consequence, we're building a real community of practice here.
The Xerte toolkit tools are developing a community at Kingston College among teachers because
fundamentally once something is created, it can be shared.
I'm seeing across sector organisations wanting to adopt Xerte, so I'm talking offender learning,
community learning, FE colleges, voluntary and community organisations, they can all
see a real use for producing learning objects that they can then use with learners.
There's a huge opportunity to learn about the process of creating materials and about
delivering materials online, and on top of that there's an opportunity for us to learn
more about what our colleagues do and therefore enhance our own understanding of the world
around us.
The Xerte learning toolkit is certainly having an impact on our information learning technology
strategy which feeds into our organisational strategy in as much as we are increasingly
needing to find ways of effectively blending learning.
Throughout the development, the Xerte project team has been working closely with JISC TechDIS,
the leading advisory agency on inclusion and access for the post 16 sector.
One of the things that I do when I'm working with commercial developers is I say to them
'Have a look at what Xerte's done. Now, if your tools can't match that, why should people
buy your materials or buy into your system', so I would say that the tools are really raising
the benchmark.
I think that Xerte introduces the accessibility options that don't automatically become available
with other flash learning objects. Learners benefit because they have tools that they
can operate in a range of different ways, they can view different colours, magnifications,
text to speech, really widely accessible.
It's made it much easier for me to produce learning objects that are accessible, especially
for those with learning disabilities.
I would say that tutors also benefit because it's easy for them to create dynamic, exciting,
and above all engaging, inclusive learning material.
The use of technology is very new for manyacademic colleagues and Xerte online toolkits has provided
them with a chance to develop skills that will allow them to get over the barriers that
they face and help them create exciting and engaging e-learning content for their students.
The tools have been really well designed so there's a range of different types of pedagogical
approaches and they can be put together in different ways.
The potential of the tools is allowing a new type of media in teaching and allows me to
teach in a different way than I would have done within the lectures.
I think the main impact the tools are having at Nottingham is that they are making it possible
for ordinary members of staff like myself to make good quality online learning materials.
We are getting a pretty favourable response from most of them. They like it, it's useful,
it works for them, and they are comfortable with it.
Xerte online toolkits plays a prominent part in the University strategy to get more of
it's teaching and learning materials online for students to engage with, and also to help
reduce the barriers to staff engaging with creating e-learning.
Xerte is really easy to learn. As a staff member, I find it very easy to pick up and
Personally I found it very easy to use the tool. If you can use a browser and fill in
a form, you can use toolkits.
For me, one of the most exciting things about the tool is the ability for ordinary teachers
with very little technical expertise to create something that looks great and performs brilliantly.