Discussion  - 
 
Xerte: Is anyone using it or know anyone using it? It comes up whenever accessibility/OER is discussed, especially if people from JISC are present. 
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Jennifer Robinson's profile photoFergus Conolly's profile photoPaul Jinks's profile photoMark J Morley's profile photo
30 comments
 
tired it...got nowhere, happy to give it another look
 
would you like to experiment with this on a server?
 
No, but if anyone has any knowledge I'd be keen to find out! Its been suggested more than once for our Information Skills Resource, but I've never had the time to take a look
 
In answer to Paul L, yes Id be happy to try it
 
+Ian D Loasby I've never got on with it really, but I was just in a JISC webinar and they were going on about it again. Maybe I'm missing something. 
+Paul J Leman Sounds interesting. 
 
Had a look at it recently on a site visit to Nottingham.  I believe it's used extensively for some of their language programs.  Looked interesting but had concerns about time taken to content build and where to host the thing.
 
and of course it looks like it uses Flash - yuck
 
+Paul J Leman Yes, always seemed weird that TechDis were backing a tool that bumped out so much Flash. 
+Fergus Conolly I know what you mean about time. It did occur to me that it would be quicker to learn html. But then I would think that. Would love to meet someone who's using it as part of normal teaching. 
 
I've used it (a little) in my previous job. It's alright but the standard templates can be limiting in terms of what content you can have on a page. We used it mainly for academics that wanted to create their own learning resources but didn't have the technical skills to do so. It does use Flash but I went to one of their conferences a couple of years ago and they were upgrading it to use HTML5 but I'm guessing that hasn't happened yet.
 
+Paul Jinks I just remembered the accessibility features which I think is why TechDis were backing it. It has a range of accessibility features that allow the user to change colour and font, keyboard access and text to speech built into it.
 
Yeah it was good in terms of accessibility but things have changed in that field lately (browsers more able to deliver a more accessible experience) also thanks to the emergence of CSS so content and formatting can be completely separated. I do remember there being quite a steep learning curve with using it back at SHU almost to the extent whereby I felt staff might be better off learning to use flash itself instead!
 
+Jesrine Clarke-Darrington +Luke Miller I did some googling of the SHU site; I could only find one mention of Xerte, and that was in the context of a JISC presentation at an online conference.

What did academics make of it and how many of them were using it? Is there any chance I/we could have a chat with one? 
 
In my experience academics never really got to grips with it even when someone from Nottingham visited to showcase it. Although after I left, Jesrine may have witnessed adoption?
 
we spotted this recently as a potential staff development resource option...interesting to hear stories of adoption or not as the case may be
 
Some academics did start to use it but there were very few, mainly the ones that were more tech savvy anyway and they liked it because they were quickly able to create their own learning resources.   I'm not so sure those people are even still using it now but I can certainly give you a couple of names if you'd like +Paul Jinks 
 
Hi +Jennifer Robinson - it would be great if you could try putting together a little learning object with it and share how you get on with it! :-)
 
Haha no problem.  Had intended to have a play around with it when I get a moment...I'll keep you all posted!
 
Ok great - that was going to be my next question of 'how' !
 
Hi Paul, Sorry for the late response; I've been off following another op. I'm looking into Xerte for content creation. Possibly we can work on this together? The latest version is based on HTML5 compliance. Perhaps we could meet up and discuss? Regards, Mark
 
Hi Mark, yes, it'd be good to meet up to take another look at this. Also other people in this thread might be interested? 
 
Sure thing. I was having a look just before I went off. I'm looking to pick things up again this week.
 
In the last couple of days I've downloaded and created a localhost installation of Xerte Toolkits v2.1 (Last Update:  November 4th 2013). This has the HTML5 compliant engine which I am using as the default. Yesterday I created a Learning Object (LO) incorporating 15 separate items, some with embedded YouTube and Vimeo videos.

First impressions are that the interface is relatively intuitive and should provide a shallow learning curve for users. The output LO has a clean, clear look-and-feel to it. There are export options to SCORM 1.2 package and 2004 3rd Ed package. Additionally, as this version is HTML5 compliant, there is the export option as a zip file which can be expanded and then hosted on a web server to provide direct access, or linked to from MOLE. [Caveat: I've tried exporting as HTML5 via a zip file. The embedded videos aren't appearing in the subsequent standalone version. I'm hoping to investigate this further this afternoon. However, it might be due to the localhost installation as the Xerte website does state, "This will allow you to use the software, although some features will be unavailable."]

Does this Google+ communication route still seem the most appropriate to keep those interested up-to-date with activities in this area?

Regards, Mark
 
+Mark J Morley what do you think the likelihood is of CiCS piloting a server for wider use by Departments? Or would we each have to come up with our own server solution?
 
 +Fergus Conolly Yes, there is certainly the offer from +Paul J Leman and I have spoken to him directly. Currently, I'm just looking at the capabilities of Xerte individually before more resource is put into this. Also, +Farzana Latif will need to consider this topic.
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