Knowledge Environment for Web-based Learning (KEWL)

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1




Knowledge Environment for

Web
-
based Learning

(KEWL)


A

manual

for

educators




Prepared by


Derek Keats, Faghrie Mitchell, Anna Scott and Zulfa Philander


Last updated:
Wednesday, 04 December 2013

Based on KEWL version 0.4
Beta


The University of the Western Cape

A place of quality, a place to grow





2





© D.W. Keats, A. Scott & Z. Philander under Open Publication License Version 1.0


See Appendix I for license.



Permission is granted to distribute this document in any form

for educational, commercial or other pu
r
poses for a fee or for free.


You may modify this document to improve it as long as you state, in general terms,

what modifications you have made.


You may distribute a modified version of this document in any form

for educational, commercial or other pu
r
poses as long as the modified document

also complies with this license and is further modifiable and distributable.



While you are not required by the terms of the license to do so, we would appreciate

receiving a c
opy of the modified document as well as an email stating what you are

using it for so that we can improve both the document and KEWL itself based on

your input. If you make useful and significant contributions, you may be added as an

author to the base d
ocument. Email to zphilander@uwc.ac.za or dkeats@uwc.ac.za



For more information on Open Content Licensing, see

http://opencontent.org



Credits


The following people have contributed to the compilation of this manual:


Graphics and editing
: Phakamani Elv
is Ndlovu, Rene Frans


Editorial and suggestions for improvement
: let us put
your

name here by supplying
co
n
structive feedback.


3




Preface



This manual will help you to build courses within our online learning system known as
KEWL. The acronym stands for Kn
owledge Environment for Web
-
based Learning. This
software was conceived by Derek Keats and developed at the University of the Western
Cape, initially by the Online Services Unit of the International Ocean Institute


Southern
Africa (IOI
-
SA) as a pro
d
uct o
f four years of research into online educational practice by
Derek and a team of staff and students. Subsequently KEWL deve
l
opment has been taken
on by the Teaching and Learning Technologies Unit (TLTU) within Information and
Comm
u
nication Services (ICS) i
n conjunction with the ICS business unit and IOI
-
SA.
This tutorial ma
n
ual will introduce you to some principles of online learning, and help
you learn the basics of developing and running an online course using the fe
a
tures of
KEWL. Here the focus is mainl
y on KEWL’s built
-
in courseware creation tools. We
hope that you enjoy it and find it useful. Please feel free to send us your comments,
su
g
gestions, complaints, whatever. More importantly, please consider contributing to the
d
e
velopment of KEWL and its do
cumentation by provi
d
ing documented examples of
how you used KEWL, improving on documentation where you found it inadequate,
contribu
t
ing any content of general interest under the Open Publication Licence
(Appendix I), and identifying any deficie
n
cies or b
ugs that you find. Please also make
suggestions as to tools that you would like to see in KEWL but that are not there at
present.


This document has been structured such that the tools that are being described are
i
n
cluded with the educational concepts un
der consideration. Therefore, you will find, for
example, tools that relate to things that can be assessed under the topic
Creative
asses
s
ment of learning.


This document was prepared initially around KEWL version 1. Some of the screen
ca
p
tures may not lo
ok exactly as shown, although the principles illustrated still apply to
later versions.


Key to using this book.





-
This procedure applies to all users at UWC only.





-
This indicates that the information is crucial.







-
Teaching and Learning

Task



4





Contents


1. Getting Access to KEWL







5


2. Navigation within courses using the toolbar





10


3. Theory and practice of online learning






25


4. The basics of KEWL








39


5. An Introduction to HTML







46


6.

Developing and Manag
ing Asynchronous Discussions





78


7. Streaming Media









83


8. Synchronous Tools








91



9.

Creative Assessment of Learning






107



10. Other Tools in KEWL








123


11. Open Knowledge Systems







124


12. Linking and Sources of Informat
ion on the Web




138






KEWL


The Knowledge Environment for Web
-
Based Learning (KEWL) is a complete learning
management system. A learning management system provides an interface for st
u
dents to
interact with educational content and resources. It allows

learners to access content and
communicate with their teacher and classmates, and allows teachers to manage class
administration and assessment.


KEWL is registered as an Open Source under the GPL agreement and therefore require
no licensing costs. It is

an Active Server Page application that runs under any Microsoft
server that supports ASP. It was developed as a research project at the University of the
Western Cape and it now serves all UWC’s online learning needs.


5




Chapter 1. Getting access to KEWL


W
hen you go to the KEWL website at UWC this is located at
http://kewl.uwc.ac.za
, you
will see the login screen shown below or one similar to it. If you already have a username
and password, enter your username in the Username space (where it says your Usern
ame
below) and your password in the Password space (where it says your Password below).
Please note that passwords are case
-
sensitive. Then click the login button.



If you do not already have an account on the KEWL system, click the link marked
Regi
s
ter y
ourself

as shown in the red circle below.









6




Once you click the link to Register yourself, you will see the screen shown below. You
must complete the six steps of the registration process. It is crucial that all inform
a
tion be
filled in completely.




Step 1
:
If you are at UWC and you know your staff number or student number, please
enter
whichever one is appropriate for you
.

Applications for authoring
rights will
only be answered if there is a correct UWC staff number. Students will not be

able to access marks, or receive email if they do not use the correct st
u
dent number. If
you are a guest from outside UWC, then please use the link to generate your own user ID.
Please do no
t enter numbers that you have made up yourself as you could cause your
account not to work.


7




Step 2
: Select your title from the dropdown list, and enter your first name and surname.



Step 3
: Choose a username that you will use on

the KEWL system. An example of a
good username will be your initial and surname (e.g. dkeats, zphilander), provided they
are not used already.



Step 4
: It is also absolutely crucial that you fill in your email address correctly.
Ther
e
fore, you are aske
d to fill it in twice, and if they do not match, you will be asked to
fill them in again. Getting the correct email address into the system is absolutely vital.
The system will email you a password, and if you do not supply the correct email a
d
dress
you w
ill not receive the password and therefore you will not be able to access the system.



Step 5
: Choose your department from the dropdown list. If you are outside the site
hos
t
ing KEWL, choose outside UWC or outside
hostname
.



Step 6
: Click the button th
at says “Register me now.”




It should not take more than a few seconds before you receive your password by email.
Check your email and retrieve your password. It is highly reco
m
mended that you cut and
paste your password from your email application into

the KEWL login screen. Go to the
login screen at
http://kewl.uwc.ac.za

or your own site and login using the procedure
described above.
Once you have logged in, you will be able to change your generated
password to on
e that will be easier to r
e
member. This will be covered in the next section
of this manual.



8




Changing your password


When you login to KEWL for the first time, you will be presented with a screen from
which you can change your password. Although you can ski
p this step, it is highly
re
c
ommended that you change your password at this screen.





9




The post
-
login screen


Once you login to KEWL, you will see the post login screen. This screen changes
fr
e
quently, sometimes 3
-
4 times a day. Therefore, it may not look

exactly as in the
ve
r
sion shown here. However, there are some features that will be always available, even
if they move around on the actual page. Only some of the key features that you will need
to a
c
cess KEWL will be illustrated here in case this tutori
al file goes out of date.






Each feature is numbered in the diagram above. To access a course, choose the course
from the dropdown list (
1
) and click the go button. Within KEWL you can store webpage
links within the KEWL favourites (
2
). These favourite
s are personalized, only you can
see your own links, and they will always be available from KEWL no ma
t
ter where you
login. KEWL has a personal messaging facility (
3
), and if the envelope is red, then you
have no messages, but if it is green, you can click

it to check your new messages. KEWL
has a root suggestion box (
4
), where you should leave suggestions about KEWL itself,
report bugs, and suggest features that you would like to see in future versions of KEWL.
The suggestion box is not for any other purpo
se, so please don’t put suggestions
unr
e
lated to KEWL into it. Once you choose a course, and click Go, you can use the next
se
c
tion to learn how to find your way around within the course.


Chapter 2. Navigation within courses using the toolbar




Everything that happens in KEWL is based around the idea that you are in a particular


course. Therefore, it is essential that you realise what course you are in when you carry



10





out a
particular action. Failure to realise this by learners who are registered in more than


one KEWL course may result in an assignment being submitted to the wrong course.


Once you are in a course, all navigation through the conten
t and tools is done from a
toolbar that normally appears at the bottom of every page. If you do not see it on your
screen, you will probably need to scroll down. Educators and learners use the same
bu
t
ton bar, but the button bar for educators has some addi
tional buttons on it to enable the
management of the course. The button bar shown below is the educator’s version



Note that the above buttons are missing from the toolbar as seen by the learners.



For the purposes of this tutorial, we will be using th
e educator toolbar.


On the first page of the course, the leftmost button indicates that you are at the first page
of the course.




You can navigate to the next page in the sequence by clicking the rightmost

button at the
right.





Once you have m
oved beyond the first page of the course, the leftmost can then be used
to navigate to the previous page.




11





There are two other buttons that play key roles in navigation as indicated below. These
buttons allow you to move around in the course in a no
n
-
linear manner. For exa
m
ple,
move to another chapter, move to a particular page by page number or title, or display all
the pages in a chapter at once.







When you click these buttons, a navigation window will drop down. This window allows
you

to choose the navigation options. In the example below, the forward navig
a
tor was
clicked.




Course end

takes you to the last page in the course (if you clicked the left non
-
linear
navigator you would see
Course start
).
Chapter
“x”

end
takes you to the
last page in the
current chapter (if you clicked the left non
-
linear navigator you would see
Chapter
“x”

start
).




Clicking
Chapter titles

lists all chapter titles by number and title. If you click the number,
you will navigate to the first page in the

chapter. If you click
List

you will get a list of all
pages in the chapter.



12






Once you have a listing of the pages in a chapter, you can click the page number to
nav
i
gate to a particular page.



Clicking
Page titles

on the dropdown will list all pages

in the current chapter, and you
can then navigate to a particular page as noted above. Clicking chapter contents will
compile all the content pages for the current chapter and display them as a single page.
This can be useful if you want to save or print
out the current chapter’s contents.


Please note
: we are currently working on the non
-
linear navigator, so the version that
you see may not look exactly as shown above.


The next button on the toolbar will display the learning outcomes for the current cour
se,
if any have been defined by the educator for the current course.




The next button will enable you to check your marks if any marks have been entered. As
a learner in a KEWL course, you will click this button quite a bit!




This button will enable
you to read the noticeboard for the current course.




13






KEWL has a crude built
-
in email or personal messaging facility. Clicking the button with
the envelope on it will enable you to send or read private messages. Note that this is
di
f
ferent from the
inst
ant messaging

features that you saw in Chapter 1.




Typically, when an educator prepares a content page she defines a study question that
will help guide you towards the important learning points on the page. These study
que
s
tions can popup in the page w
hen you click the study question button.












The image below shows an example of a popup study question. When you are finished
reading the question, you can click the OK button to go back to the content page.





Most courses within KEWL will mak
e use of the KEWL events calendar to keep track of
key items such as weekly topics, test dates, assignment due dates, etc. Click the button
with the calendar icon to view the events calendar for the current course. The events
ca
l
endar will open in a new wi
ndow

that can be closed to return to the course content
page from which you called the calendar.



14























The image below shows an example of an events calendar, containing topics for each day
in the course.






Most courses will make use of
the online worksheet facilities of KEWL. Online
wor
k
sheets are assignments that can be completed and submitted via the KEWL system.
The educator or a teaching assistant then marks them, and you can examine your mark as
well as their comments on your work.
To access an online worksheet, click the worksheet
bu
t
ton on the toolbar as shown below.


15







To access online tests, click the tests button on the toolbar as shown below.








In some courses, the lecturer has uploaded some files for you to examine usi
ng a program
other than a web browser. For example, she may have uploaded a word proce
s
sor file, a
spreadsheet, a PowerPoint presentation or any other type of file. To access these
doc
u
ments, click the course documents button on the toolbar.






If your
course has essays to be completed, you will be able to access the list of topics and
book an essay topic by clicking the button shown below. In KEWL, typically, essays are
booked on a first come first served basis. Once you choose a topic, it is locked and

cannot
be chosen by anyone else. You can change your mind if you wish, and choose another
topic if one is available. All of this is done through the essay button.




Within Kewl, you submit your assignments and essays online. You can do that by
clic
k
ing
the button shown below. Your lecturer can then collect your essay, mark it, and
put it back with comments.



16






17




Within KEWL, you have some space that you can use to store files for the courses in
which you are registered. We refer to this area as your inBas
ket. You can use it to upload
files so that you can access them from another computer, for example you can use it to
keep assignments for a course while you are working on them. This is a very i
m
portant
area of KEWL to get to know.





The image below sho
ws the screen that appears when you click the inBasket button.
Click the
Browse
button to locate a file on your computer for uploading, and click the
Save to inBasket for username

button to upload the selected file. Click
Browse files

to see
what files you

have in your inBasket at present. Warning! If you upload a file with the
same name as a file already in your inBasket, the original file will be over
-
written and
lost.




If you click the link to
Browse files
, then you will get to the screen shown below
.
Clic
k
ing the filename will cause it to load in the browser if your computer understands
the file extension. If you want to download the file, you need to right click the link and
choose
Save as
from the popup menu.


18






KEWL has a built
-
in threaded discus
sion forum, which is a very important feature in
most KEWL courses. Click the button shown below to access the discussion forum. The
use of the discussion forum is covered elsewhere in this tutorial.





KEWL has a workgroup facility in which a lecturer c
an create workgroups or teams of
students who work together on an assignment. Workgroups get a document storage area
(similar to your InBox) and a private discussion forum that the lecturer cannot enter.








KEWL also has a built
-
in chat facility, wh
ich can be used to have realtime textual
co
n
versations within a web browser. This is not the same as the instant messaging facility
described elsewhere. Each course has its own chatroom, but you can also create one of
your own for a private chat. Access th
e chatroom by clicking the link indicated b
e
low.



19






KEWL also has the bookmark facility, which can be used if you want to bookmark a
ce
r
tain page.





KEWL includes the ability for anyone viewing a page within course content to take notes
(annotations) f
or a particular page. Click the annotate button to bring up the page
annot
a
tor.





Annotations are notes that you take on a page, and can include any information that you
find useful, including links to other relevant websites. Using the forward and bac
k
ward
navigator you can display the contents of a whole chapter together with your annotations.
It is like being able to print a personalized version of a textbook.


20




The image below shows the KEWL annotation window, the blue background indicates
that this i
s a new annotation. Once there is an annot
a
tion for the current page, then the
window background changes colour, and the title changes from
Add annotation
to
Edit
your annot
a
tion
.




When you list the contents of an entire chapter, you have the option to
list the annotations
together with the page contents. To view your annotation for the current page, and have
the option to delete it as well, you can click the button with the eye on it.





Clicking the annotation view button brings up the window shown
below. If there are no
annotations for the current page, left hand window will appear. If an annotation e
x
ists,
you will be able to view it as in the right hand blue window. Note the
edit

and
delete

links
on the view window.


21





When you list the contents o
f an entire chapter, you have the option to list the annotations
together with the page contents.


Special educator features


KEWL provides a link for educators to manage courses. Clicking on the link below
a
c
cesses this management page. Managing KEWL cour
ses via this management page is
covered elsewhere in the tutorial. If you do not see this button, you are not the owner of
the current course or a sysadmin.





As the owner of the current course, or as a sysadmin, you will see the shown button
b
e
low. Thi
s tool enables you to edit the current page. If you do not see this button, you
are not the owner of the current course or a sysadmin.




22





As the owner of the current course, or as a sysadmin, you have the ability to insert pages
into the current course. C
lick the insert button to insert a page after the current page. If
you do not see this button, you are not the owner of the current course or a sysadmin.





As the owner of the current course, or as a sysadmin, you can also delete the current page
from t
he course. If you do not see this button, you are not the owner of the cu
r
rent course
or a sysadmin.





In addition to the toolbar, there are two other links on every page within a KEWL course.
These appear at the top of the content window. The
Home

link

takes you back to the
KEWL index, but leaves you within the current course. The
Logout

link logs you out of
the KEWL system.











Please logout of KEWL before closing the web browser window, or going to another
website.



23







Changing your password a
nd other user details.



To change your user details and password, click on the icon next to your user name on
the post logon screen.




The screen below will appear. You may then edit any of your account details or change
your password.



24




























Chapter 3. Theory and practice of online learning


Before we start learning the specific details of on how to develop and deliver courses
o
n
line, we first need to visit some principles of online learning, and see what philosophy
underpins our app
roach to teaching
-
and
-
learning. We
may think of an online course, pa
r
ticularly one where the
learners are scattered around the world, as being diffe
r
ent

25




from a traditional classroom course. For sure there are differences, but there are equally
signif
i
cant
differences among courses that are taught in a classroom situation, and there is
a lot in common between online learning and classroom learning.


In some classrooms, the educator is at the centre of the learning process, and the main
vehicle for delivering

content to learners through the medium of the lecture. At the very
best, learners may sit in the classroom, try their best capture what the educator is
presenting, and make as many notes as possible. They then go away and concentrate on
rewriting these no
tes in a form that they can understand, typically text with a few
diagrams. The lecturer typically took this information from a variety of sources, or even a
single source, and used it to prepare a lecture. This information was typically interpreted
by the

lecturer, and passed on to the students via the lecture. If the students are able to
correctly interpret the lecture, and rewrite their notes effectively, they may end up with
something that is reasonably close to the original. Typically, though, the vers
ion of
content that ends up in post
-
lecture notes is a very garbled version of things. In effect, the
process that happens in a typical lecture is one that can be achieved by a ph
o
tocopier, but
one that makes very poor copies. There is very little intellec
tual work i
n
volved in this
process, and the person who learns most is usually the lecturer.


In other classrooms, the educator is not the centre of the learning process, is seldom
d
i
rectly involved in delivering content, and rarely makes use of the medium

of the le
c
ture
to impart information to the learners. Rather the educator places the learners at the centre
of the teaching
-
and
-
learning process, and enables learners to take responsibi
l
ity for their
own learning. The educator plays more of a role of
coac
h or facilitator, rather than that of an instructor.
This type of education is often called learner
-
centred or student
-
centred learning.


Another term that if often used is "resource
-
based"
learning. Resource
-
based learning is identified by
the following
features:




learners actively participate in their learning;



learning experiences are planned based on expected and explicitly
-
stated
ou
t
comes;



learning strategies and skills are identified and taught within the context of
rel
e
vant and meaningful units

of study;



a wide variety of resources is used;



locations for learning vary;



educators employ many different techniques to facilitate learning;



educators act as facilitators of learning, continuously guiding, monitoring and
evaluating learner progr
ess;



educators work together to implement
resource
-
based learning across study years
and subject areas.


(modified after:
http://www.stemnet.nf.ca/~acrawfor/lrc2.html,
downloaded 2001 03 18).




2
6




Resource
-
based learning has been described as a system whi
ch puts "the information
needed by students into learning m
a
terials and then organize[s] access to knowledge
stored in visuals, in writing or in recorded sound" and "any system whereby teachers
organize for students access to stored knowledge, rather than
themselves mediating that
knowledge in classroom discourse" (Noble 1980: 15, 170). These definitions encompass
some of the features of learner
-
centred lear
n
ing, but leave out the important role of the
educator as mediator and guide. Learning is not just ab
out content; if it were, textbooks
would be the same as courses, and teaching would have died out as a profession a long
time ago.


Staples (1995) suggested that there are two paradigms of resource
-
based learning, which
can be characterised as techno
l
ogy
-
e
nhanced education, and do
-
it
-
yourself data retrieval.
According to Stables, technology
-
enhanced education:



increases the number of resources used in teaching
-
and
-
learning;



increases the variety of views available, and is pluralist;



necessitates the de
velopment of study
-
skills;



encourages critical reading, and an understanding of delivery mediums;



can offer cost
-
savings by delivering specific resources in appropriate modes.



Do
-
it
-
yourself data retrieval, on the other
hand:




replaces variety of

resources with one
customised resource, such as the
Internet;



claims to offer flexibility while in fact
offering a limited number of
predetermined paths;



decides and limits in advance the body
of knowledge a student can learn;



treats knowledge as fin
ite and given;



replaces many views with one;



threatens to replace the existing plura
l
ity of courses with one centralised o
f
fering;
and



decreases human contact and the opportunity for negotiation (Staples 1995).


It should be clear from this that th
e model that we need to follow when developing online
courses is more the technology
-
enhanced education model. We need to use technology to
enhance education, not to replace the interactive aspects of it.


One of the first mistakes educators often make i
n conceptualising online courses is to
think that you can just put up a bunch of resources, some guidelines, and then leave the
learners to progress at their own pace in complete isolation
from one another. This is wrong, so let us do away with it
now. Le
arning is an interactive human process; even when
I am learning on my own, I need people to help me. This
may seem strange, but over one Christmas hol
i
day I
designed an ATM (asynchronous transfer mode) network. I
am a biologist, I didn't know anything abou
t ATM so I

27




Like a new house, knowledge is constructed
from experience that is unique to each
individual and built upon prior experience and
ideas.

found a number of websites, and I did a pretty good job of interacting with the resources
that they provided. I also interacted with the ATM switch that I bought, and especially its
operations manual. These resources were not enough to help me a
ctually build the
network. I was lost. That was, until I di
s
covered a discussion forum where I could
interact with people who knew som
e
thing about ATM networks, and I was quickly able
to untangle my erroneous views, and make a functional ATM network that w
orked, and is
still working after three years. The lesson here is that it was both the r
e
sources and the
interaction with people that helped me to learn.


In developing KEWL, I have made extensive use of the knowledge of others who
volunteer to help progr
ammers in difficulty via discussion forums, email lists and
ch
a
trooms. Were it not for those interactions, KEWL would not exist, and you would not
be sitting here now reading this.

Q
uality learning in

a virtual university thus has the same requirements as
quality learning
in a bricks
-
and
-
mortar university. But one has to be careful, because it is possible to do
resource based learning without having it be learner centred.


The terms ‘student
-
centered
learning’ and ‘resource
-
based learning’ occur together to
wards one end of the teaching
-
and
-
learning spectrum, but it is possible to use a resource
-
based approach without due
consideration for the students, their backgrounds, their living conditions, abilities to
i
n
teract with resources in a meaningful way, and v
ariations in their learning styles. Thus,
while student
-
centered learning is usually a goal of resource
-
based lear
n
ing, this goal
may not always be realized. It is important to be aware of this and to keep the focus on
the learners, and to ensure that the
uses of resources follows the learner centred approach,
and promotes active learning.

Comparison of teacher
-
centred and learner
-
centred approaches.

Teacher centred


Learner centred

Transfer of knowledge

understanding of concepts

coverage of content

quest
ioning and problem solving

giving knowledge

searching for knowledge, critical thinking

Modified after
http://web.acue.adelaide.edu.au/leap/leapinto/scl/1_what_is_scl.html



The learner centred approach is consistent with an educational philosophy known as
constructivism. Constructivism is a theory of how the learner constructs knowledge from
experience, which is unique to each individual and built upon prior experience
and ideas.
Constructivism asserts that knowledge resides in individuals and cannot be transferred
intact from the head of an educator to the heads of learners. The learner tries to make
sense of what is taught by trying to integrate and interpret it in ter
ms of his/her
exper
i
ence. Through this process,
knowledge is constructed in the mind
of the learner according to his/her
current reality.

Constructivism is greatly influenced
by the psychologist Piaget, but is often
credited to Vygotsky. According to
Duc
kworth (1987) meaning is not

28




given to us in our encounters, but it is given by us, constructed by us, each in our own
way, according to how our understanding is currently organized. Thus, knowledge is built
upon existing found
a
tions, some of them solid and

some of them weak.


In contrast, most of us who belong to the “older generation” have been schooled under an
instructivist paradigm. The teacher is the centre of learning and the primary mode of
learning is instruction. It is surprising how many people st
ill think of online instruction
rather than online learning. The instructivist paradigm is often referred to by the
met
a
phor of the “sage on stage”. Most serious educators are moving away from the
instructi
v
ist paradigm, to one that is constructivist in na
ture. It is important to consider
this in d
e
sig
n
ing online learning resources and activities.



Of course, really good teachers have always based teaching ar
ound suites of resources.
Thus, resource
-
based learning is nothing new. However, the idea of taking the teacher out
of the centre of the teaching
-
and
-
learning process represents a fundamental shift in
ph
i
losophy, but it is one that has been developing over

the past 50 or more years.


It is not easy to come to terms with the details of constructivist theory, and explain it in a
short space such as this, particularly when there are different schools of constru
c
tivist
thought. However, it is important to deriv
e some best
-
practice ideas from constructivism
theories, and use them in the design of our online learning courses.


The constructivist educator acts as a learning
facilitator, posing problems and monitoring
student exploration, facilitates the direction
of
inquiry taken by the learner, and promotes new
patterns of thinking. Constructivist teachers
draw upon a variety of resources, inclu
d
ing raw
and unprocessed data, primary sources of
information, as well interactive and many other
types of materials to h
elp provide rich
experiences for learners. For example, rather
than read about a particular coastal management
task, learners examine and inte
r
pret raw data collected on site, examine other approaches
from the primary literature, analyse the data according
ly and interpret the results to make
recommendations or su
g
gest decisions that should be taken. They may engage in role
-
playing, or take part in collaborative problem solving exercises, and in the online lear
n
ing
environment, these may take place across ma
ny cultures, countries, and time zones. For a

29




You can read more
about constructivism in
an
essay by Martin
Do
u
giamas, available
from "Guest articles"
section of the educator's
lounge on KEWL.

constructivist educator, online learning doesn't present a major challenge, but a
treme
n
dous opportunity.


The one of the fundamental principles of constructivism is that there is inertia in the
mind; construc
ting knowledge often requires people to change their minds.
Constructi
v
ists recognize that knowledge is firmly embedded in culture and it is di
f
ficult
to separate them and make knowledge objective. Learners come from a rich array of
different bac
k
grounds,
cu
l
tures, languages, expectations and ways of thinking. Nowhere
is this truer then in an online course where learners may be spread all over the world. We
all have myths, taboos, things we learn from our families, friends, teachers, newspapers,
stor
y
books,

television, and nowadays from online communities.


This mental inertia means that when a learner is presented with new information in an
online learning environment, if it contradicts existing ideas she may try to accomm
o
date
both interpretations, rather

than change deeply held beliefs. Unless we realize what views
the learner holds in relation to the concept being learnt, online learning can actually help
students construct faulty ideas. This poses a special
challenge to the development of pedagogically
sound
online learning content and activities, because learners and
educ
a
tors are separated culturally, often li
n
guistically, as
well as in space and time.


In a Constructivist Online Learning Environment:


Learner autonomy and initiative are accepted and e
ncouraged.

By respecting the ideas of
online learners and encouraging independent thin
k
ing, educators help learners attain their
own intellectual identity. Learners who frame questions and issues and then go about
an
a
lyzing and answering them take responsi
bility for their own learning and become
pro
b
lem solvers.



The educator asks open
-
ended questions and allows wait time for responses.

Reflective
thought takes time and is often built on others' ideas and comments. The ways educators
ask questions and the
ways learners respond will structure the success of learner inquiry.



Higher
-
level thinking is encouraged.

The constructivist educator challenges learners to
reach beyond the simple factual response. She encourages learners to connect and
su
m
marize concep
ts by analyzing, predicting, justifying, and defending their ideas.



Students are engaged in dialogue with the educator and with each other.

Social discourse
helps learners change or reinforce their ideas. If they have the chance to present what
they thin
k and hear others' ideas, learners can build a personal knowledge base that they
understand. Only when they feel comfortable enough to express their ideas will
meanin
g
ful classroom dialogue occur.



Learners are engaged in experiences that challenge hypoth
eses and encourage
discu
s
sion.

When allowed to make predictions, learners often generate varying
hypotheses about natural phenomena. The constructivist educator provides ample
opportunities for learners to test their mental hypotheses, especially through g
roup
discussion of co
n
crete experiences.



Online learning activities use raw data, primary sources, and manipulation, as well as

30




It is important to allow learners to interact

Learning by solving real
world problems.

physical, and interactive materials.

The constru
c
tivist approach involves learners in real
-
world possibilities, then helps the
m generate the abstractions that bind phenomena
t
o
gether.


(Adapted from In Search of Understanding: The Case for Constructivist Classrooms by
Jacqueline G. Brooks and Martin G. Brooks (Alexandria, VA: Association for
Superv
i
sion and Curriculum Development
, 1993) and presented at
http://www.sedl.org/scimath/compass/v01n03/1.html
)



The Importance of Interaction


Interaction is important in a constructivist learning
environment, but it canno
t be just between the educator
and each learner i
n
dividually. It is crucial to enable and
facilitate the online sharing of ideas, to allow learners
to express their opinions, even when such ideas may
seem strange and terribly wrong. As learning managers,
w
e need to be sensitive to the cultural embededness of
knowledge, and to guide learners without outright
rejecting ideas that arise out of cultural bias. The only
place this can happen in the online learning
environment is in the asynchronous discussion for
ums.
Hence, the asynchronous discussion forum is an
extremely important tool to online constructivist learning and it is crucial to understand
how to use and manage discussion f
o
rums.


When we ran the SA
-
ISIS learn course in Integrated Coastal Area Manage
ment for the
first time, the learners all attempted to engage the person managing the course in two
-
way email communication. They did this despite the
existence of a threaded di
s
cussion forum that could be
accessed through the web, through newsreader or th
rough
email. Despite being asked to move discu
s
sions to the
threaded discussion forum, learners pe
r
sisted in engaging
in two
-
way email. In doing this, they deprived the
m
selves
of the benefit of one of the most important learning
resources available to them
: each other. Further, the
workload created by having to repeatedly deal with
variations on the same theme was a
l
most overwhelming
for the learning manager. Thus, it is necessary to not only provide the facility for learner
-
learner and learner
-
educators in
teractions; it is necessary to provide mechanisms to
ensure that the f
o
rums are used for their intended purpose by the learners. We will
explore the use of discussion forums fu
r
ther under the tools of constru
c
tivist learning.


If they are used creatively,

discussion forums can encourage higher levels of thinking,
allow learners the opportunity to formulate and present ideas, and encourage the sha
r
ing
of information. The latter is particularly powerful in cases where learners are in different
parts of the w
orld and come from different backgrounds. Discussion forums also allow
the educator to assess learner understanding of key concepts and provide appropriate
feedback. Discussion forum contributions can also contribute to continuous assessment.

Problem
-
base
d learning



31




Problem
-
based learning (PBL) refers to a type of learning in which learners are presented
with a simulated, real
-
world problem or case, and they have to respond as if they were
really dealing with the problem or case under consideration. PBL
has been widely used in
medical and related studies, but has recently gained more widespread use. Educationists
have a term for ev
e
rything, and use the term “cognitive coaching” for a situation in which
a teacher acts as a coach but avoids directing the gr
oup. Rather he/she assists them in
defining their pro
b
lems and o
r
ganizing their activities to solve them (Marsh, undated).
PBL is an important method to enable learners to construct learning because it
nece
s
sitates that they assume greater responsibility f
or their own learning.


PBL helps the learner to move beyond focussing on content, and encourages them to use
content to solve simulated problems. In meeting this challenge, they inevitably also learn
more about the content than they would in a learning si
tuation that just focussed on
co
n
tent. However, they become adept and literate about using content know
l
edge to deal
with something that they may encounter in real life.


PBL

problems should be have a number of components, although these are not listed as
categories for the learners:


1.

introduction,



2.

content,



3.

learning objectives,



4.

resources,



5.

expected outcome,



6.

guiding questions,



7.

assessment exercises,



8.

and time frame (Bridges, 1992).


Learners are coached to help them reach both the objectives invol
ved in solving the
pro
b
lem as well as the objectives related to the processes involved in finding an
appr
o
priate

solution.

WebQuests and PBL

PBL has a distinct process which has to be followed in order to
solve the problem and produce the desired learning

outcomes.
One of the simplest methods to generate problem
-
based
learning in the context of an online course is to use a
WebQuest. A WebQuest is an inquiry
-
oriented activity in
which most or all of the information used by learners is drawn
from the Web. We
bQuests are designed to use learners' time
well, to focus on using i
n
formation rather than looking for it, and to support learners'
thinking at the levels of analysis, sy
n
thesis and evaluation. The model was developed in
early 1995 at San Diego State Unive
r
sity by Bernie Dodge with Tom March, and was
outlined then in Some Thoughts About WebQuests. For more information about
WebQuests, please visit:
http://edweb.sdsu.edu/webquest/
.

There are five basic compone
nts of an average WebQuest (taken from
http://www.memphis
-
schools.k12.tn.us/admin/tlapages/wqtetc99.htm
)


32







set the stage for the activity.




catch the reader's attention to draw them into the
quest




provide background information.





st
ate what the students will be required to do




avoid surprises down the road




detail what products will be expected and the
tools that are to be used to produce them.





give a step
-
by
-
step description, concise and
clearly laid out




provide links to Internet sites interwoven within
the steps.





display a r
ubric to measure the product as
obje
c
tively as possible




leave little room for question





summarize the experience




allow reflection about the process.




add higher
-
level questions that may be
r
e
searched at another time.




give food for thought as to where they can go
with the info they have learned, using it in a
di
f
ferent situation


Examples

Your institution has established a new Virtual University, an
d has mandated its staff not
to use instructivist teaching practices. Problem based learning has been identified as one
of the important techniques for learning. In your host institution, you mentioned PBL one
day over coffee, and some of your colleagues w
ere intrigued. They've heard that PBL is
used at Harvard Medical School, but they're not quite sure if it has any relevance for their
discipline and the student population you have. They feel some new teaching strategies
would be very interesting, and they

ask you to report back to them about PBL. The dean
of your faculty heard about this, and thought it was a good idea. She has asked you to
r
e
port back to a faculty meeting. Hence, you now have to write a short report and develop
an understanding of this in
novative strategy for i
m
proved teaching
-
and
-
learning. You
enlist some of your colleagues, and agree to work together as a team.short report and
d
e
velop an understanding of this innovative stra
t
egy for improved teaching
-
and
-
learning.
You enlist some of your

colleagues, and agree to work together as a team.


The Task

Working with the other members of your team, divide up the task of investigating PBL.
Each person will pursue different resources, and you can touch base with each other
per
i
odically. After appro
ximately an hour, you'll come back into the main group and

33




teach each other what you've learned. Each group member will have two minutes to
summarize some main point. You will gather the resources that you need, and take them
back to the hotel with you and

work on a short report to be presented the next day.
Someone with a laptop will be responsible for typing the report.

The process


The process here is based around a series of questions. You may wish to divide these into
more
-
or
-
less equal chunks to make
the WebQuest more manageable in the time available.

1.

What is PBL? What exactly is a
problem
? How is it implemented? How much
time does it take? What kinds of resources are needed to incorporate PBL
met
h
ods?



2.

What has the experience been at other schools/di
sciplines where it has been tried?
How are those schools/disciplines similar to yours? Are those schools/disciplines
so different that it's unlikely that PBL would be doable in your situation?



3.

What are some good examples of PBL problems and what characte
ristics do they
have in common?



4.

What kinds of activities do students do while engaged in a PBL project? What
kinds of thinking skills and collaboration skills do they develop?



5.

How inter
-
disciplinary can PBL be?



6.

Is PBL implemented the same everywhere?



7.

Is PBL a complete success? A partial success? What are its weaknesses?



8.

What is the philosophy that underlies the design of PBL? How is it congruent
with the goals of a good education and the characteristics of an ideal learning
e
n
viro
n
ment?



9.

How woul
d you evaluate PBL work?



10.

How does PBL compare to traditional instruction?



11.

What kinds of teachers can use PBL? What kind of personality or other qualities
do they need? How do teachers feel about PBL after they have done it for a
while? What kinds of le
arners are best suited to PBL? How do students feel about
PBL?



12.

Can you think of a PBL problem, for example a WebQuest that you can use in
your own online course? If so, describe it briefly (this will be done orally during
the IOI
-
VU course, normally it w
ould be handled in the discussion forum).


In carrying out this process, you may wish to make use of the following resources:

1.

Search engines: Try Google (
http://www.google.com
) and Altavista
(
http://av.com
). The search engines will be your primary entry to web resources
on PBL.


2.

Centre for Problem Based Learning (
http://www.imsa.edu/team/cpbl/cpbl.html
)



3.

Problem Based Learning Initiat
ive, Southern Illinois University School of
Med
i
cine, Department of Medical Education (
http://www.pbli.org/1core.htm
)


4.

Problem
-
based Learning in Biology with 20 Case Examples
(
http://www.saltspring.com/capewest/pbl.htm
).


Evaluation

Evaluation will be made on the basis of the written report, as well as the oral
present
a
tion. 50% of the marks will arise from the written report, 20 percent from your

34




inte
r
a
ction with others in the online class (as determined from chat logs) and 30% from
the oral. Your grade will be based on three areas:


1.

your ability to locate at least one high quality information resource per team
member related to the PBL


2.

the strength of
the arguments your team has developed and that you show in your
written documentation



3.

your ability to use the information you located to make a case for your point of
view



Conclusion

We will engage in a post WebQuest discussion to draw up conclusions.
Both the
discu
s
sion and the conclusions would normally be carried out in the discussion forum.
Your final grade will appear in the course marks system, and you can check it after 24
hours.

Learning in Groups

One of the most powerful techniques for learni
ng is the use
of small group sessions, particularly when the group is
tackling a problem around which learning is focused through
PBL. When I first started teaching at UWC, we had large
classes of up to 160 learners. A
l
though I was forced to
lecture durin
g my first year because there was not enough
time to do anything else, I was not very happy with standing up in front of such a class
and delivering content. As a consequence, I developed a system of workbooks that served
as the basis for guiding learners
through a series of exercises that were carried out in
groups. Learners collab
o
rated to solve problems that were pr
e
sented as worksheets that
had to be completed and handed in weekly. This seemed to work quite well, the learners
enjoyed it more than the tr
aditional lecture, and they seemed to arrive at a more
functional understanding of the course material.

Learning in groups has become a popular technique during the past decade or so, and
now many educators use it. The real challenge now is to apply what
we know about the
benefits of learning in groups to online learning in the virtual classroom.

Once again the discussion forum comes to our rescue. There is probably no other way to
arrange learning groups in an online course, other than through the use of

discussion
f
o
rums. Email can also be used, but email has the disadvantage of not being threaded, so
the conversation quickly becomes lost. Real time collaboration tools (see later section of
this module) could be used, but where learners are spread around

the world, this is rarely
possible. The trick with the discussion forum is obviously to manage the groups in such a
way that active participation and collaboration can occur across geographical bound
a
ries.

In 1956, Benjamin Bloom edited a volume entitled
Taxonomy of Educational Objectives

which was based on work that started in 1948 by a group of educators who a
t
tempted to
classify education goals and objectives. Bloom's Taxonomy of the Cognitive Domain, as
the taxonomy is known, provides a hierarchical ar
rangement of learning processes. It is a
good idea to keep this taxonomy in mind when designing online learning activities, for in
general, it is best to target the higher
-
level processes of analysis, synthesis and

35




evalu
a
tion. Here we demonstrate Blooms ta
xonomy using a hypothetical course on
Integrated Coastal Management
.


LEVEL

DEFINITION

SAMPLE
BEHAVIOURAL

VERBS

SAMPLE

BEHAVIOURAL
OBJECTIVES

SAMPLE
ASSIGNMENTS

KNOWLEDGE

(remembering
i
n
formation)

learner recalls
or

recognizes
information,

ideas, and
pri
nciples

in the
a
p
proximate

form in which
they

were learned.

Write

List

Label

Name

State

Define

The learner will
define

the concept
int
e
grated coastal
ma
n
agement
.

Name the
categ
o
ries of


role
players in the
coastal zone

Write a definition
of integrated
co
astal
manag
e
ment

COMPREHENSION

(explaining the
meaning of
inform
a
tion)

learner
tran
s
lates,

comprehends,
or

interprets
i
n
formation

based on
prior

learning.

Explain

Summarize

Paraphrase

Describe

Illustrate

The learner will
explain

the purpose of
i
n
tegrated
coastal
management
.

Explain the main
reasons for the
d
e
velopment of
int
e
grated coastal
ma
n
agement

Describe the basis
for integration


APPLICATION

(Using abstractions
from information in
real situations)

learner
s
e
lects, trans
-

fers, and uses
data

and pri
nciples
to

complete a
problem

or task with a
mini
-

mum of
dire
c
tion.

Use

Compute

Solve

Demonstrate

Apply

Construct

The learner will

demonstrate how
the principles of
integrated coastal
management

are
used in town
pla
n
ning.

Using the principles of
ICM, desc
ribe how
you would go about
deve
l
oping an ICM
policy for your country

Construct a diagram
showing all the role
pla
y
ers in the coastal
zone of your country,
and demonstrate how
ICM can benefit them


36




ANALYSIS

(Breaking down a
whole body of
know
l
edge or idea

into component
parts)

learner
disti
n
guishes,

classifies, and
relates

the
assum
p
tions,

hypotheses,
evidence,

or structure of
a

statement or
question.

Analyze

Categorize

Compare

Contrast

Separate

The learner will

compare and
co
n
trast

fragmented and
integrat
ed
ma
n
agement
across a number of
d
o
mains (e.g.
w
a
tershed
manag
e
ment,
coastal
manag
e
ment,
fishery
manag
e
ment).

Compare and
co
n
trast the
situation on your
coast with and
without an
e
f
fe
c
tive ICM
policy

Compare your
country and the
UK with respect to
their c
oastal
manag
e
ment
policies


SYNTHESIS

(Putting multiple
parts together into
a new and
int
e
grated whole)

learner
originates,

integrates,
and

combines
ideas into a

product, plan
or

proposal that
is new

to him or
her.

Create

Design

Hypothesize

Invent

Develop

The learner will

design an
int
e
grated coastal
management
policy and
i
m
plementation
plan for her own
cou
n
try
.

Develop a letter
to coastal land
d
e
velopers
explai
n
ing your
cou
n
try's ICM
policy and the
benefits to them
of planning for
the long term.

Hypothes
ize what
will happen on a
stretch of coast
near your city in
the next 10 years
with and without
an ICM policy

EVALUATION

(Making
judg
e
ments about
the merits and
validity of ideas,
materials or
phenomena)

learner
a
p
praises,

assesses, or
critiques

on a basi
s of
specific

standards
and criteria.

Use

Judge

Recommend

Critique

Justify

The learner will
judge the
effe
c
tive
-

ness of coastal
management in
her/his own
cou
n
try and make
reco
m
mendations
for improv
e
ment,
including the
implement
a
tion
phase based on a
crit
ical anal
y
sis
of similar policies
from other
cou
n
tries.

Judge the
effe
c
tiveness of
your country's
coastal
management
po
l
icy

Recommend
changes to your
country's coastal
management
po
l
icy



37




Critical thinking

In most walks of life, there are no clear
-
cut rig
ht and wrong decisions; this is particularly
true in the area of coastal and ocean management. Competing needs and desires of
diffe
r
ent users, different sets of assumptions of different management frameworks, and
the u
l
timate power of money, all contribute

to a tangled web of possibilities. Ocean and
env
i
ronmental managers must often take good decisions out of this tangled web, so it is
clear that critical thinking skills are essential, and that it is essential to make them part of
any courses that are offe
red online. Therefore, tools for developing critical thinking skills
need to be part of our toolset for online learning.

Critical thinking is the intellectually disciplined process of actively and skilfully
conce
p
tualising, applying, analyzing, synthesizin
g, and/or evaluating information
gathered from, or generated by, observation, experience, reflection, reasoning, or
communication, as a guide to belief and action (Scriven & Paul, undated). According to
Scriven & Paul, crit
i
cal thinking can be seen as havi
ng two components:

1.

a set of skills to process and generate information and beliefs, and

2.

the habit, based on intellectual commitment, of using those skills to guide
beha
v
iour.

Fortunately, the formulation of a well
-
designed problem in PBL provides a firm
found
a
tion for the development of critical thinking skills. In a future version of KEWL,
we will include software tools specifically designed to promote critical thinking. In the
mea
n
while, the discussion forums can also be used for online debates around k
ey issues,
d
e
bates being a well
-
established mechanism for promoting critical thinking.

Continuous assessment

Even in the traditional classroom, formal examinations serve little meaningful purpose,
despite their widespread use. This is particularly true in
the case of virtual clas
s
rooms,
where setting an examination is all but impossible. I have often been asked how to deal
with the problem of security during examinations for online courses, and I can only
chuckle at how meaningless is this consideration. W
e are dealing with a new learning
paradigm here, and this new paradigm gives us the opportunity to do away with the
ou
t
dated concept of the examination. In online courses we should concentrate on
evaluation for the purpose of promoting meaningful learning,

and learners should be
rewarded for their participation in learning exercises on a continuous basis. We will cover
this topic in more detail in the section on
Creative Assessment of Learning
.













38


























Chapter 4: The Basics of KEWL


Now that we have looked at some ideas around developing and managing online courses,
we are ready to explore some of the practical aspects in a little more detail.

Creating a course on KEWL is quite easy. There are two ways that you can create content
on

KEWL



using an external editor with KEWL templates;



using the KEWL built
-
in tools for content creation.

In addition, you may create content in any HTML authoring package, and paste it into
KEWL for management. This demo course was created entirely with
the built
-
in tools.

Creation of Content

Of course, content is not the most important aspect of a course in KEWL. It is perfectly
possible to manage a course in KEWL where the content is mainly in printed fo
r
mat, on a
CD, on video, includes traditional or m
odern lecturing, or just about anything you can
imagine. You can still use KEWL to manage the course and provide other learning tools
for your students.


We have made it as easy as possible for you to get started with building a simple online
course. All o
f the features of a typical online course are inserted for you automat
i
cally
when you create a new course in KEWL. You get a discussion forum, a real time chat
room, popup study questions, students can annotate or bookmark any content page in
your site, an
d they can compile their annotations and print them out. You can have a link
editor, a FAQ area, and many other features. Read on to learn how to create an online

39




course, and try it out to see how easy it can be. If you know some HTML, you can even
spruce
up your content using your HTML knowledge. The content creation tools also
i
n
clude buttons to insert HTML formatting into your content, although these are quite
si
m
ple at this stage.


You can start building your first online course in less than an hour if

you use the
KEWL's built
-
in tools for content creation. Using the simple interface, you can build
co
n
tent pages containing text and images, as well as the same navigation system that you
will find at the bottom of this page.

The first step

in creating y
our first online course is to
obtain an authoring account. You can do this by
co
m
pleting the online application form. It usually takes
only a few hours to set up an account, but you should
be prepared to wait a couple of days just in case. It is
ne
c
essary
to have manual intervention at this stage for
security reasons. You must create a guest account to
start with. Please make sure that your email address
and phone number are entered correctly. You will be
emailed your account details aut
o
matically once the
guest account has been created, but lecturer status will
not be active until you hear from us via e
-
mail.

You therefore need to e
-
mail the system administrator to upgrade your access level from
a guest to an educ
a
tor.

Logging In


Once you have your accoun
t, please login and check the screen that you see after you
login. You should see something like the list b
e
low.




Your access level should be 20 or higher. If it is not 20 or higher, please e
-
mail the
sy
s
tem a
d
ministrator at the address given on the log
in page.


Now that you have the correct access level, you will see a link to create course. Click the
link that says
Create Course
. This will take you to a screen that has two links:
Add an
online course
,
Add a course for marks admin only.
.


40




It should be o
bvious that you should click the "

Add an online course

" link.


Creating Your First Course

The course creation form is very simple; let us explore it from top to bottom using the
image shown here. The
course number

is just a counter in the database, and

is a
s
signed
automatically. The
Link URL

is also automatically generated based on the course code.
Hence, a course with the code BOT231 will have the link URL assigned to
"http://kewl.uwc.ac.za/courses/BOT231/default.asp".






The
menu position

is also a
ssigned automatically.


41





The
course title

is obviously the full name for your course or module. Note that the
Chars left

counts the number of characters remaining that you can use in your title. You
cannot exceed the maximum number of specified character
s. If you are creating a
regi
s
tered UWC course then you can select your course from the
UWC courses
: drop
down list note that the
Course code
,
Menu text
,
Course level

and
Faculty
fields will be
filled in automatically.

If you decide to create an unregister
ed UWC course then you should assign the
Course
code
, eg Bot231. The
menu text

can be a short (2
-
3 word) title that will appear on the
site menu when people want to list available courses. There are default colours for the
background and font colours. Thes
e can be changed if you know how to get hexadecimal
values for colours, otherwise, leave them at the default se
t
tings.

The
default course level

is undergraduate, but if you are putting other types of courses
online, you can put the level here.




In the
brief course description of this course:
you may enter a brief course description.
Keep the description simple, essential and to the point. A character counter is i
n
cluded,

42




and it will tell you how many characters you have remaining in your description as
you
type it.

You should decide whether to mark the course as active or inactive. If the course is
marked inactive, nobody will be able to access it! This feature is present to enable pe
o
ple
to mark courses inactive while they are being written, or modifie
d between offerings. We
suggest that you mark the course as active when you create it. You can always turn it off
later if you want to.

The final thing is to choose whether to store the course within the KEWL database
(re
c
ommended) or use external templat
es. You should only use external templates if you
are an experienced HTML author and are familiar with managing complex interlinked
We
b
Pages. You will also need to acquire a separate FTP account on the KEWL server.

There is also an option of selecting whet
her you want your course open to the public or
closed. If you choose open, anyone who is registered on KEWL can access open courses,
the alternative is to select closed in which case only students registered for the particular
course will have access.

You
can also hide some of the features of KEWL from your students and yourself. Select
or tick those features you wish to hide.


Adding Your First Content


Once you click the button that says "
Create new course
", your first online course has
been created. You

now have access to most of the tools already. The only things missing
are the various types of content, such as the list of expected outcomes, the background
level suggested, worksheets, assignments, quizzes, and of course the reading materials.
To start
creating content, go back to the KEWL index page and click the refresh button
on your browser. Under the list of available courses in the drop
-
down menu, you should
now see a link to the course that you have created. When you select that link and click
go

you will get the first page for your course. It is a dummy page, just containing a
plac
e
holder image and text. Click the edit button (on the toolbar at the bottom of the page
that looks like this

to change the information to what you want for the first p
age of
your course. If you cannot identify this button simply run your mouse over the toolbar
images to see which is your edit button.




43







Using the Edit Page


When the edit page appears, you may wish
to maximize its window. If you don't see the
content
area, scroll down until you see the
edit box as shown b
e
low. At this stage, you
can ignore all the other items on the page.
Replace the text in the edit box with the text
that you want on the first page. When you
are done, save the results by clicking the
save button (the disk icon) at the top left of the
edit box and close the edit wi
n
dow.


The Help Link


Incidentally, there is usually a help link for any items on the page whose function is not
immediately obvious. For example, the red tick box that is lab
elled "Convert new lines to
<BR> on display" has a help link that will explain the function of ticking this box. Don't
worry about that now, we will come back to it after we learn a little about HTML.


Inserting a Page

To add a new page, click the inser
t button at the bottom of the webpage (the insert button
is the one that looks like this
). If you cannot identify this button simply run your
mouse over the toolbar images to see which is your insert button. This will bring up the
same edit form that you

saw when editing the first page.
Make sure that you save
som
e
thing to this page because otherwise your course will not work. Even if you
save nonsense, you should save something.


After you save your page, close the post edit window, and go back to the wi
ndow with
the contents of the first page. Refresh your browser, and you should now see a link to the
next page. Clicking that link will take you to the page that you just created. Once there,

44




you can click the edit button to change its contents. You can al
so continue inserting new
pages by clicking the insert button on that page.

Deleting Pages


To delete a page from your course, click the delete button at the bottom of the page(the
delete button looks like this
). If you cannot identify this button simpl
y run your
mouse over the toolbar images to see which is your delete button. Make sure that this is
what you actually want to do. If you have access to the delete button on this page, please
do not press it. Security is minimal at this stage, and you will
not be very clever if you
delete this page!

The Next Step


Before you continue with developing your course in KEWL, it is a good idea to learn
some basic HTML. There are two reasons for this:



it will help prevent problems that you may cause by accidental
ly inserting
inco
r
rect HTML formatting into a page or page element



it will help you to enhance your content

A basic introduction to HTML is thus the basis for the next chapter in this introductory
tutorial about KEWL.
























45




Chapter 5: An

Introduction to HTML


HTML is the acronym for the language of the web,
h
yper
t
ext
m
arkup
l
anguage.


HTML
is merely a set of commands (called "tags") in a text file, which tell a Web browser how
to present data.


HTML tags are always surrounded by angle bra
ckets (< and >) in the
form <TAG>, where "TAG" is related to a specific command, and are always closed with
a </TAG>.


The angle brackets (< >) allow your browser to distinguish between specific
commands and simple text to be displayed on the page.


These

tags tell the browser how
to display the text that is enclosed between the <TAG> and the </TAG>.

To understand what tags do, consider how you might get a browser to display a word in
bold font. This is easy to achieve; simply surround the word with <B> a
nd </B> tags.
Hence this word is
bold

because it is in the raw HTML as <B>bold</B> and this tells the
browser to display it as
bold
.

Actually, the tags refer to HTML
elements
. An element is a fundamental component of
the structure of a text document. Ther
e are special elements that need to be in every page.

All pages need to start with


<HTML> and end with </HTML> tags.


This startup tag
i
n
forms the browser that it is about to receive a set of commands.


The page is then
divided into a HEAD and BODY secti
on. The head section starts with a <HEAD> tag
and ends with a </HEAD> tag, and holds among other information the page title, that
appears on the browser title bar when the page is displayed. The HEAD section also
holds most of the scripts (e.g.
JavaScri
pt
) that will be used in the page.


The title is
e
n
closed in TITLE tags, as <TITLE>This is my page</TITLE>.


Then comes the BODY
tag, where the co
n
tent of the webpage will be placed; all visible information (text and
images) that you want to display, i.e.

the information you want viewers to see, will
appear between the BODY tags.


The BODY tag has the format <BODY> This is the
visible content of my page</BODY>.


Because you should include these tags in each file,
you might want to create a template file wi
th them.


Some browsers will fo
r
mat your
HTML file correctly even if these tags are not included. But some browsers won't! So
make sure to include them.


Thus, a typical webpage will have the follo
w
ing basic
structure:

<HTML>


<HEAD>

<TITLE>

Some dumb webp
age.

</TITLE>

</HEAD>

<BODY>

Welcome to my webpage. This is my nice webpage. Is it not beautiful? I
think it is really beautiful because it is the first webpage that I made. Don't
you think that I am cleaver?


46




</BODY>

</HTML>

Some elements may include an a
ttribute, which is additional information that is included
inside the body tag. For example, you can specify the alignment of images (top, middle,
or bottom) by including the appropriate attribute with the image source HTML code.

Example:


<BODY

bgcolor="
#white">



Note:


1.

HTML is not case sensitive thus <BODY> </BODY> is the same
as <body> </body>.

2.

The attribute is always xxx= and the attribute value "xxx" in
i
n
verted commas.

3.

There are no spaces between the attribute and its value.

Now we are about to b
ecome practical.


In the next page you will start doing some
exe
r
cises in HTML authoring using the built
-
in tools of KEWL.

Meet Your HTML Tutor


Now you can launch the KEWL HTML tutor, and use it to type a
typical webpage upon which you will then build yo
ur HTML
knowledge.


You should keep the HTML tutor application open
throughout this tutorial.


If you accidentally close it, you can
launch it from any page by using the link to
Launch HTML Tutor

as it appear alongside.


Launch the HTML tutor now, and move

to the next page.


If you loose track of your windows, look at the launch bar on the
bo
t
tom of your computer screen. You should see two icons representing the KEWL
course, and the HTML tutor.




Click on these icons on the launch bar to switch between the

tutor and the course page.




47




Paragraphs

Unlike documents in most word processors, carriage returns in HTML files aren't
signif
i
cant.


So you don't have to
worry about how long your lines of text are (better to
have them fewer than 72 characters long though).


Word wrapping can occur at any point
in your source file, and multiple spaces are collapsed into a single space by your browser.

To indicate paragraph
, use the <P> tag.


A browser ignores any
indent
a
tions or blank lines in the source text.


Without <P> tags, the
document becomes one large paragraph. (One exception is text tagged as
"preforma
t
ted," which is explained on the next page.)



For example:


<
H1>Level
-
one heading</H1>

<P>Welcome to the world of HTML. This is the first paragraph. While
short it is still a paragraph! </P>


<P>And this is the second paragraph.</P>


To preserve readability in HTML files, put headings on separate lines, use a blank
line or
two where it helps identify the start of a new section, and separate paragraphs with blank
lines (in addition to the <P> tags).


These extra spaces will help you when you edit your
files (but your browser will ignore the extra spaces because it has

its own set of rules
on

spacing that do not depend on the spaces you put in your source file).

NOTE:

The </P> closing tag can be omitted (this is one of the few exceptions to the
general rule of

having a start < > tag and an end </ > tag).


This is because browsers
u
n
derstand that when they encounter a <P> tag, it implies that there is an end to the