Continuing my series of E-Learning Curve Blog articles about using open source and free-to-use resources, frameworks, and applications for designing, delivering, and distributing e-learning content, today I will look at a very nice HTML authoring environment designed for e-learning development called the eLearning XHTML editor, or eXe.
eXe is an authoring environment to assist teachers and academics in the design, development and publishing of web-based learning and teaching materials without the need to be proficient in HTML or web-publishing applications like Dreamweaver.
According to WikiEducator:
The Web is a revolutionary educational tool because it presents teachers and learners with a technology that simultaneously provides something to talk about (content) and the means to hold the conversation (interaction). Unfortunately, the power of this hypertext medium is constrained in educational settings because the vast majority of teachers and academics do not have the technical skills to build their own web pages, and must therefore rely on the availability of web developers to generate professional looking online content.
eXe has been developed to overcome a number of limitations associated with other HTML authoring tools:
- Much web-authoring software entails a fairly steep learning curve, is not intuitive or designed for publishing learning content. Consequently teachers and academics have not adopted these technologies for publishing online learning content. eXe aims to provide an intuitive, easy-to-use tool that will enable teachers to publish professional looking web pages for learning.
- Typically, LMSs don’t offer sophisticated authoring tools for web content (when compared to the capabilities of web-authoring software or the skills of an experienced web developer). eXe is a tool that provides high-end web-publishing capabilities that can be referenced or imported by learning management systems.
- Most content management and learning management systems use a centralized web server model that requires connectivity for content authoring. This is limiting for authors with poor or no network connectivity. eXe is a client-based authoring tool without the requirement for connectivity.
- Many content management and learning management systems do not provide an intuitive WYSIWYG environment where authors can see what their content will look like in a browser when published, especially when working offline. eXe’s WYSIWYG functionality enables users to see what the content will look like when published online.
While applications like Dreamweaver offer users a sophisticated set of functionality for web design, they are not specifically oriented to e-learning. eXe focuses on the elements which make up learning resources, and presents these in forms that are technically simple and easy to use. In the eXe environment, these forms are known as iDevices (Instructional Devices).
By building a learning sequence that includes a content structure and a number of iDevices, authors can develop their own templates for content creation and reuse. eXe also provides assistance for developers in the form of ‘Pedagogical Tips’ around the inclusion of iDevices; these tips can help authors make informed decisions around when and how to use iDevices for teaching. Tips are also provided near each iDevice’s form fields to assist authors in generating appropriate content.
With eXe, users can develop a learning structure that suits their content delivery needs and build a resource that is flexible and easily updated. A rich text editor is available with the input fields in the iDevices providing basic formatting and editing functionality.
WikiEducator. What is eXe? [Internet] Available from: http://www.wikieducator.org/Online_manual Accessed 16 October 2009