Learn how to compile in WebCT

Written by James

See… you could post links to stuff like this:

“My colleague Erika and I have been exploring Macromedia Captivate. Here’s a presentation that we made that will be used to introduce students taking a WebCT course how to use the Compile Tool….” [elearning acupuncture]

Or you can have people link me linking to it first and commenting that you shouldn’t really need a tutorial to open a bunch of discussion board messages now, do you? I mean, can anyone here put their hand up and say that the ‘compile’ function is good design… anyone???

[OK so, I’d probably say that anyway, but y’know ;o]

  1. I really don’t want to sound like an apologist for WebCT because I’m not (part of my history is being the first Blackboard adopter in Canada in the face of free versions of WebCT at the time, and since then having worked in a myriad other environments) but I find this just a really simplistic dig at WebCT. The compile function is very useful – the way I understand it is that it allows instructors and developers to develop content that is very well suited to being read on the screen (e.g. chunked into smaller bits) or structureed around small learning topics, but without any extra effort allows students to essentially compile all of this (along with any other content such as discussions, notes, etc., they choose) into a printable format or one they can use in an offline device. I’m sure you can come up with other ways to do this/interface to this, and I take the experiment with Captivate by the folks at elearning accupuncture to be far more about testing out captivate than it is about a need for a click through demo of this functionality. But to me it really cheapens the otherwise positive and innovative dialogue when we take easy potshots like this. Anyways, I’d put the question back to you in a different way – can you demonstrate to me within any of the wiki, blog or community software (drupal, etc) you use an easy way to combine content from disparate sections into one easy printable/offline version? I’m sincere about this question as I think this is fairly useful functionality for systems to provide.

    Have a great holiday break if I don’t talk to you before then, cheers, Scott

  2. Alan Levine

    I would be at almost every educational institution there are teams of people toiling away at making these audio narrated screen capture intros to our CMS-es…. I can vouch that in my system it is happening multiple times over, and some are even calling them “learning objects”… They certainly can help, but for all the time and effort on greating help aids, it would nice to see effort on imporiving pedagogy.

    Regardless, as a casual user of many of the systems, I can say I would hate any of them I was forced to use, and find them all rather strict and containing. WebCT takes in in ordinate amount of client server cgi interaction to perform all of the wonderful features under its hood. Blackboard too requires a good deal of click and wait to move through the editing interfaces.

    But I like Scott’s question about the tools… Creating printable content is as simple as applying a print style sheet to whatever is output, but the missing piece is someway of moving about a system and selecting pieces to “compile”, kind of like a shopping cart. Everything would need to be modular. Hmmmm