E-nhance Lectures

Larissa Naber, Monika Köhle


Ever more lecturers find themselves forced to Web-enhance their courses out of economic pressure or prestige. Universities trapped between rising student numbers and decreasing budgets are turning to e-learning as the one-stop solution, with little concern for student or teacher needs. An e-(nhanced) learning environment can only be successful if it fulfils students' and lecturers' needs alike. The student needs to be supported in various stages of learning, whereas the lecturer cannot afford to spend more time on generating lecture support materials. Investigation of lecturers' and students' requirements resulted in the concept and design of e-ULE (e-Usable Learning Environment), a university-level teaching and learning environment with a strong focus on usability. To ensure learning materials are helpful for students in any learning situation, from gaining an overview to providing reference, an equally usable authoring tool is required: e-ULE's authoring system is geared towards a typical lecturer, without requiring an undue amount of IT or pedagogical skills, but offers support for academic workflow by supporting tasks like literature research and integration, and collaborative editing in large groups (e.g. with students). Following a usability engineering approach, all features of the e-ULE learning environment are derived from user requirements and usability tests. The main parts of the environment are currently at "proof of concept" stage. The system is open source and relies on several prominent open source projects.

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