Development and Delivery Tools 1

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Development and Delivery Tools 1
Running head: DISTANCE EDUCATION DEVELOPMENT AND DELIVERY TOOLS
Distance Education Development and Delivery Tools
David Kent Norman
University of Central Florida

Development and Delivery Tools 2
Table of Contents
Distance Education Development and Delivery Tools...................................................................4
Tool identification...................................................................................................................4
Tool Comparison....................................................................................................................5
Rationale and Ability for Use.................................................................................................8
References.......................................................................................................................................9

Development and Delivery Tools 3
List of Tables
Classroom versus online equivalents............................................................................................11

Development and Delivery Tools 4
Distance Education Development and Delivery Tools
As part of the process of developing a unit of distance education, the designer must have
a properly grounded prior knowledge of development and delivery tools. This document
analyzes several tools that could be used in the development and delivery of distance education.
Tool identification
Microsoft Powerpoint is one of the most common lecture support tools in a face-to-face
classroom environment. To reproduce the Powerpoint-style presentation, two free tools are
available to create web-based slide shows, Slidy and B5. Both use HTML, CSS, and Javascript
to generate slides.
Slide shows alone are not likely to fulfill the education objectives of most instructional
situations. For that reason, Hall (2003) discusses learning management systems. He outlines
some broad criteria for evaluating learning management systems (LMS), including availability,
scalability, usability, interoperability, stability, and security. Each is a contributing factor to
creating an effective, collaborative learning community. Hall’s optimal LMS should:
• Consolidate training in a low-cost platform
• Measure training objectives
• Integrate with other enterprise applications
• Centralize and automate administration
• Provide facilities for self-service and self-paced learning
• Support portability and standards: AICC, IMS, and SCORM
• Personalize content
• Enable re-use
Development and Delivery Tools 5
Hall’s objectives are supported by proponents of systems instructional development models
(Dick, Carey, & Carey, 2005; Gentry, 1994). Matching the classroom environment with an
online equivalent is outlined in Table 1. Seglea et. al. (2006) prepared a list of the latest “hot”
Open Source tools for distance education. For purposes of this analysis, .LRN (Essa et al, n.d.),
ATutor (Gay et al., n.d.), Caroline (De Praetere et al., n.d.), Drupal (Buytaert et al., n.d.), and
Moodle (Dougiamas et al., n.d.) are analyzed for communication tools, productivity tools,
student involvement tools, administration tools, course delivery tools, curriculum design, and
hardware and software requirements (Product Comparison, n.d.).
Tool Comparison

.LRN
ATutor
Caroline
Drupal
Moodle
Discussion forums
View by date
X
X
X
X
X
View by author
X
X

X
X
View by activity level

X



View by thread expanded
X
X


X
View by thread collapsed





Grouped discussion
X




Post attachments
X
X

X
X
Posts formated as plain text
X
X
X
X
X
Posts formatted as HTML
X


X

Make posts “sticky” at the top of discussion area

X

X

Share discussions across departments/courses/units

X

X

Development and Delivery Tools 6

.LRN
ATutor
Caroline
Drupal
Moodle
Copy posts to email
X




Moderation function
X


X

Subscribe to discussion with RSS feed




X
Post to discussion board by email
X




File exchange
Share files with other students from a personal folder
X
X



Upload files to shared group folder

X
X
X

File versioning to track new versions
X




Submit assignment files to a drop box
X
X


X
Instructor can comment on files in drop box
X




Email/messaging
Send to external internet email address
X

X

X
Messages archived
X


X

Internal only mailbox
X
X
X
X

Online journal/notes
Personal weblog
X


X

RSS subscription of weblogs
X


X

Trackback support
X


X

Associate notes with files

X

X

Private notes
X
X



Real-time chat
Development and Delivery Tools 7

.LRN
ATutor
Caroline
Drupal
Moodle
Multiple, simultaneous chats

X



Message archive

X
X

X
Other student online status

X


X
Supports images

X



Send other students instant messages





Instructors can view chat logs

X


X
Whiteboard
Java based add-on

X



Bookmarks
Save links for internal pages



X

Save links for external pages



X

Help/orientation
Context/tool specific help
X
X

X
X
General software orientation

X



Calendar/progress view
Personal calendar
X
X



Calendar aggregates information from all courses
X




General instructor-managed calendar
X
X
X
X

Work offline/synchronize
Download events to Microsoft Outlook
X


X

Download content for personal local storage
X
X

X

Development and Delivery Tools 8

.LRN
ATutor
Caroline
Drupal
Moodle
Miscellaneous
SCORM compliance


X

X
IMS compliance


X

X

Rationale and Ability for Use
Each tool has areas of particular strength. While in some areas, .LRN appears to be
superior in areas like the presence of an online slide presentation, ATutor is the only one listed
with a whiteboard plugin, Moodle has the closest external email integration, and Drupal
implements the most comprehensive collaborative authoring environment. I am an expert PHP
programmer, so I am comfortable with modifying PHP-based learning management software
with a MySQL database. One of my publishing aspirations has been to write documentation on
PHP scripting for
http://phpdev.net/
. Some features specific to Drupal content creation are book
and Paypal modules. The Drupal software also has a well-documented method to create modules
for adding features not found in the core. The Drupal book module allows authorized users to
create hierarchical pages through web forms. Each page is searchable by users of the website.
The total membership for users of Drupal is 48,554 as of February 5, 2006, giving Drupal
developers the source oversight, field testing, and bug support necessary for hosting a growing
education portal. I also recently installed Drupal on my own personal website, after an analysis I
performed on my own before this course.

Alternative ID Models 9
References
Buytaert, D., Lal, K., Kim, D., Kessels, B., Kollmorgen, A., Peck, S., et al. (n.d.). Drupal.
Retrieved January 25, 2006, from http://drupal.org/
De Praetere, T., Brouckaert, O., Piraux, S., Lederer, G., Spelta, F., Hedlund, R., et al. (n.d.).
Caroline. Retrieved on January 25, 2006, from http://www.claroline.net/
Dick, W., Carey, L., & Carey, J.O. (2005). The systematic design of instruction: Sixth edition.
Boston, MA: Pearson Allyn and Bacon
Dougiamas, M., Lafuente, E., Roggemans, K., Škoda, P., Foster, H., Hunkler, U, et al. (n.d.).
Moodle. Retrieved on January 25, 2006, from http://moodle.org/
Essa, A.H., Calvo, R., Peters, D., Grumet, A., Mazloumi, N., & Pardo, A. (n.d.). .LRN. Retrieved
on January 25, 2006, from http://dotlrn.org/
Gay, G., Kronenberg, J., Hazelton, H., Qureshi, S., Hung, J., Materna, J., et al. (n.d.). ATutor.
Retrieved on January 26, 2006, from http://www.atutor.ca/
Gentry, C.G. (1994). Introduction to instructional development: Process and technique.
Belmont, CA: Wadsworth Publishing Company
Gustafson, K.L, & Branch, R.M. (1997). Survey of instructional development models: Third
edition. Syracuse, NY: Syracuse University Information Resources Publications
Hall, J. (2003, January). Assessing learning management systems. Retrieved January 26, 2006,
from
http://www.clomedia.com/content/templates/clo_feature.asp?articleid=91&zoneid=29
Meyer, E.A. & Meyer, K.S. (2005). S5: A simple standards-based slide show system. Retrieved
on February 4, 2006, from http://www.meyerweb.com/eric/tools/s5/

Alternative ID Models 10
Seglea, Hardy, M., EdH, Troja, Davidds, Gadfium, et. al. (2006, February 4). Virtual learning
environment. Retrieved on February 4, 2006, from
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Virtual_learning_environment
Product comparison. (n.d.). Retrieved on February 4, 2006, from
http://www.edutools.info/item_list.jsp?pj=8
Slide shows. (2005, November 2). Retrieved on February 4, 2006, from
http://www.w3.org/Talks/Tools/

Alternative ID Models 11
Table 1
Classroom versus online equivalents
Classroom
Digital Equivalent
Syllabus
Digital syllabus
Class discussion
Bulletin board, electronic mail, chat room
Whispering, note passing, group work
Private messages
Quizzes, tests, and exams
Digital quizzes, tests, and exams
Overheads, slides shows
Digital whiteboard
Computer projector
Screen sharing