COMPUTER CORNER

Bill Gillespie
Rosemary McDowall

Teachers are some of the greatest content creators in the world. We create content for our students, colleagues and parents. One of the great difficulties we have is sharing the content.

The current Learning Management Systems (LMS) do not help the situation. With some LMS, teachers have to be technology wizards as well as content experts. If you are a content expert, but you lack technical expertise then eCoach might be just the solution you have been seeking.

eCoach is a powerful and easy-to-use system that helps teachers design courses to deliver topics or units of work. It is completely intuitive: teachers can learn it quickly without any previous eLearning knowledge or graphic design skills.

To make the content creation as straightforward as possible, eCoach comes with more than 20 interactive templates. Teachers need to plan the course structure and outline first and determine how and when they are going to assess the students’ knowledge.

The next step is to create the pages for the course. To construct a page is as simple as selecting a template and dragging and dropping text, graphics, video and sound into the page. It does not matter where the content is — it can be on your local server, USB drive or the internet; eCoach manages it all with ease.

eCoach features a Creative Commons image search tool (Using Google and Flickr) to make it easy for authors to find images that they are free to use. A built-in cropping tool also allows you to select part of an image and crop it. As you’re making a selection you can see not only the pixel size of image selected but a preview of what the image will look like once it’s been cropped.

Assessment is a critical component of any course. To assist with assessment, the system comes with more than 10 interactive Quiz and Challenge templates that teachers can adapt to suit the Stage or topic. According to John McCann from eCoach: “Years of instructional design work has gone into the eLearning and Quiz templates, helping to ensure that courses created by teachers are engaging and pedagogically sound.”

One of the most pleasing aspects of eCoach is that it does not matter if the student is using an iPad or PC or viewing it in Safari, Google Chrome or Internet Explorer — the content will look the same. This is a very important feature in BYOD schools.

Once one is satisfied with the quality of the course and it is published, it can be shared by a simple URL. Courses may be either public or private and can be shared with iTunes U, Google Classroom or any other platform.

eCoach allows authors to work collaboratively within an organisation from a single cloud-based platform (alerts ensure creators are not editing the same content as their colleagues). Course, learning pathways and quizzes can be easily previewed, shared or published at push of a button with changes synced automatically!

Interested teachers should head to the eCoach website, have a look at the content created by other teachers and sign up to a 30-day free trial.

Access to the website provided by eCoach. Rosemary McDowall teaches at The Forest High and Bill Gillespie at Elanora Heights PS. You can email them here.