I’ve been doing some research into the way Educational Development Units (or Academic Development Units, for the benefit of the search engines!) interact with their university. The actual research is discussed in a separate blog listed in the blogroll, but a couple of technology applications have cropped up in discussions with participants that might be worth a look. They are Adobe Connect and Course Genie.
I’m struggling to find a way of summarising Adobe Connect in a simple sentence. It’s a sort of desktop videoconferencing system, mashed up with a virtual whiteboard and meeting system. But it seems to be a bit more than the sum of its parts. The trouble is when I say “videoconferencing” people say “oh we’ve got that…” Well, we are about to sign up to the Access Grid, that’s true. But that’s limited to one room. This appears to be desktop based so you can have meetings from your own computer. I haven’t had time to look much beyond the demos on the web site. But if you’re interested have a look at http://www.adobe.com/products/acrobatconnectpro/
The other product was Course Genie, and I have to say this made me smile. Essentially it’s a way of producing web documents from Word using Word styles. Old Teknical Virtual Campus lags like me, will of course remember the Teknical Converter, which performed much the same function. (Although, in my view output much nicer pages than Course Genie did) The first problem was that very few colleagues understood the concept of styles in Word so it never really took off. And secondly, when those who did use it produced some (I thought) useful material, students all complained that they had to print out multiple pages, so we had to provide links back to the original word document. Ho hum. Looking at the Course Genie demonstration, they don’t seem to have addressed this at all. Course Genie is now part of the Wimba suite and has been renamed Wimba Create, (Wimba is something else I’ll have a look at when I have time) – But you can see the demo here http://www.wimba.com/demos/wimbacreate.php