Saturday, September 15, 2012

Google Online Course Builder

Google have released a software toolkit for creating on-line courses called "Google Course Builder". There is a demonstration course using the software "Power Searching with Google".

Google provide a useful non-technical guide to the course "Design Process". The suggested systematic approach to design is applicable to courses which do not use computers:
Google's technical implementation differs from Learning Management Systems (LMS), such as Moodle, by requiring more web skills of the educator, including HTML and JavaScript details:
To modify the look and feel of course pages, the designer needs to modify Course Templates. However, many users of LMS quickly find they run up against the limits of the software's configuration features and have to start modifying source code (or hiring someone to do that)Google seems to be aiming for very large courses with hundreds of thousands of students, where LMS struggle. But implementing Google's approach will be a major task for anyone who wants to start small.

No doubt there will already be people, in and outside Google, working on a user-friendly front end which generates the Google code and presents an interface to the course developer simpler to a LMS.

But I suspect that Course Builder suffers the same problem which made Google Wave a failure: it does not capture the essence of what the user needs, in a simple enough way to be usable.

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