Tuesday, July 26, 2005

MERLOT '05: "Creating Interdisciplinary Learning Objects from One Authoritative Source" notes

In this workshop, faculty and staff from Chattanooga state discussed how a series of video interviews on the writing process evolved into a learning object that was adapted into several academic disciplines, such as english, business, science and law.

Initially, some funding was secured to produce a video interview of independant writer and lecturer Kent Nelson. The learning object emerged when faculty from different disciplines were brought together, showed the interview and generated ideas on how it could be used within their respectives fields.

The learning object was produced with Camtasia and is nothing more than a Powerpoint presentation with a picture-in-picture of interview clips, which differs from what I would define as a learning object. The problem with the definition of learning object is that the term is so ambiguous. Object can refer to virtually anything. Learning narrows the possibilities to within the realm of pedagogy but raises other issues that I hope to discuss in a future post. The learning object presented in this session would be closer to what I'm tempted to call a learning asset, but the term is problematic - it's a loaded term. Perhaps content resource is an appropriate substitute for the time being.

Reuse of the resource is achieved through changing the context surrounding the interview clips. Tailoring the Powerpoint presentation has allowed the learning object to apply to different disciplines although the presenters point out the application isn't quite there yet.

The main challenge hilighted was production cost - securing enough funding to pay Kent, video taping, editing, etc. Presenters encourage developers of learning objects to collaborate and share content resources through venues such as MERLOT to alleviate such costs.

Access to the learning objects:
http://webctdev.chattanoogastate.edu:8900
username: guest01, guest02, guest03, ..., guest25
password: guest01, guest02, guest03, ..., guest25

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