Wednesday, February 23, 2011

AContent Best Educational Content Authoring Tool

Dr Lachlan Blackhall presented a free seminar on "Educational Content Authoring Tools" at the Australian National University in Canberra today. He reviewed tools which might be suitable for the ANU College of Engineering and Computer Science and concluded by recommending AContent.

I had not heard of AContent
before. But it is sponsored by The Adaptive Technology Resource Centre (ATRC) who also are behind the very good ATutor Learning Management System (LMS). Like ATutor, AContent is free open source and so universities (and others) can simply download a copy and use it without having to worry about paying anyone anything.

Also like Atutor, AContent is designed to produce educational content which complies with accessibility guidelines for the disabled. This is to be expected, as ATRC are a world leader in the accessibility field. Jutta Treviranus, then manager of the ARTC was Bruce Maguire's expert witnesses in the case "Bruce Lindsay Maguire v. Sydney Organising Committee for the Olympic Games 2000", which established that web accessibility was required under Australian law (I was the other expert witness).

Dr. Blackall argued that it would be preferable to be able to author educational content independently of the LMS. He suggested it should be feasible to use AContent to create the course content and then use that content in the existing ANU Moodle system. He also argued that content should be prepared using standard formats and recommended used of the IMS Global Learning Consortium standards, which AContent supports.

This all makes sense to me. At present I use the Moodle Book Module to create course content. While usable, it has severe limitations and I would like something with more features.

1 comment:

Mark Drechsler said...

Hi Tom,

Very much agree with the concept of separation of content from the LMS, and I'm waiting to see the use of LCMS tools like EQUELLA and Alfresco take off at some point.