Update on course content: EPrints -> WordPress -> FeedBurner -> iTunes

Much of the Introductory Chemistry course content has now been deposited in our repository, with the course website using slideshare, YouTube and the repository as storage for the OERs. Content was ‘uploaded’ to slideshare directly from the repository, using slideshare’s ‘web upload’ deposit feature. The radio programmes have been published to iTunes and a local RSS feed is also available. We intend to publish the videos to iTunes shortly, too. The MindMap has been updated and is now a novel, alternative way of navigating course content. Two sections of the course still need to be uploaded: the Skills in Chemistry and Biological Molecules sections. This will happen over the next month.

In addition, we intend to make all the raw interviews from the radio programmes available to download as these feature experts in forensic science. These will be available from the repository and linked to from the course website and published to iTunes, too. For audio and video, the workflow is basically: EPrints -> WordPress -> FeedBurner -> iTunes so that iTunes is being fed by EPrints, via an RSS feed from FeedBurner which pulls from WordPress.

The course website will be complete before students arrive in September to begin the course and will serve as the main resource for the course, with Blackboard simply linking to course content where necessary. Academic staff intend to discuss the use of the site and solicit feedback from new and second year students as soon as teaching begins. A second year course, modelled on this one, is in preparation and evaluation of Introductory Chemistry over the next academic year will feed into the development of the level two course.

An example resource

We’re still working on completing all the resources for the project. The way we have worked is to revise the teaching and learning materials as they are being taught and so it won’t be until classes are over that all the resources will be ready. About fifteen lectures are now more or less ready. We’ve run into some cross-platform problems as the original slides were created with Powerpoint for Windows, using actions which don’t convert to Powerpoint for OS X or to Open Office. For now, these have been removed, making the slides less interactive, but more widely compatible.

Anyway, here’s an example. Tom, a graduate student who’s been working with us on the project, has created all the illustrations. Although there will be around 20 lectures, each presentation is rich in models and other illustrations, totalling around 400 individual, re-usable resources for scientists. In addition to this are the videos and we’ll be adding autio to the slides over the summer.