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Overview

Rather than embodying a specific approach to pedagogy, Sousa is designed to be a kind of tool kit to support the authoring and delivery of learning content via the web. It is intended to be a easy to use as possible and hopefully encourage innovative approaches. Eventually, support will be provided to capture learning design and make them re-usable as templates. There is some trade-off between simplicity and features. It will take some time before Sousa is truly integrated into Sakai such that it works well with the Assignment and Gradebook tools. Those desiring a more mature application are encouraged to consider Melete.

Sousa leverages the work done by the Resources Tool working group and the many developers who worked on the Content Hosting service (G. Golden, J. Eng, I. Boston, etc.).

Related information:

Audience

Sousa is a collection of authoring and content delivery tools aimed at:

instructional designer - a professional who creations learning materials for multiple courses, or course instances.
instructor - a teacher who wants to create material that her students will learn from.
student - learners may be called to author content as way of completing assignments.

Concepts

Sousa is based on two simple concepts. Content is presented as a single web page, and web pages can be grouped into ordered sequences. While this might lack the sophistication of other systems, it is VERY simple to understand and use. These two principles will be expanded later to include high level organizations such as modules (collections of sequences, metadata, etc.) and packages (IMS-CP, IMS-CC, IMS-LD, SCORM, OCW, Sakai archives, etc.).

Page

Pages can either by simple objects, such as an image, or they can be a structured set of objects (a content page). From a technical perspective, these are both objects that can be embedded in the web page generated by the Sousa player.

Simple Object

Page Object

Simple objects currently include images and plain text, but they could be expanded to include some kinds of time based media such as audio, video, and flash.

A page object is a collection of simple objects with some way to represent layout. This could be done using a structured text editor, like those found throughout Sakai (including the Resources Tool). Sosua also has a structured page object based on a grid layout. In the page object shown above, a picture and some text span to top two cells of a two by two grid. In the lower left is an illustration of a dinosaur along with a link. In the lower right, there is an interactive element that could be used to capture a response from the student (not currently supported). Sousa provides a page editor that allows simple objects to be grouped into one of these grid cells, called a tile in the documentation.

Sequence

Sousa provides a way to collect content objects (both simple ones and structured content ones) into a sequence that can be played. Currently, only a linear display of content objects is supported, but other kinds of sequencing could be developed and added (branching, remediation, nested sequences, etc.). Content objects to be included in a Sousa sequence are selected from collections managed by the Sakai Content Hosting Service. By default, the collections associated with the current site are used, but could be expanded to draw from other sites as well.

This shows a mixture of simple and structured content objects. The structured objects are Sousa pages, which in turn are composed of simple media objects.

Content Types

This tables shows many different content types that might be included in Sousa. Currently supported types are indicated by a (tick) symbol.

Content Type

Status

Simple Types

 

Static Images

(tick)

Flikr Images

 

Plain Text

(tick)

Comma Separated Values (csv) tables of data

 

Language Text (accents, alphabets, etc)

 

Wrapped web pages

(tick)

Wrapped virtual Lab sites

 

Time-based Types

 

Simple Audio

(tick)

Simple Video

(tick)

YouTube Video

 

Animated Images

(tick)

Flash

 

Marked Up Types

 

Rich Text (marked up)

 

HTML Fragments

(tick)

HTML Header

(tick)

Structured Vector Graphics (SVG)

 

CML - Chemistry

 

MathML - Mathematics

 

MusicML - Music

 

VRML - 3D Graphics Viewer

 

OML and OPML - Outline markup language

 

Interactive Types

 

Images with interactive overlays (choose points, connect dots, etc.)

 

Flikr Slide Show

 

Audio input from student

 

Video with annotations

 

Audio with annotations

 

Applet based Simulations

 

Questions, Quizzes

 

Problem Sets

 

Structured content collection (forms)

 

Slides (perhaps generated by PowerPoint)

 

Interactive maps

 

Interactive diagrams

 

Other Types

 

Mashups

 

Selection Gadgets

 

Select Picture from Creative Commons

 

Select Clip Art

 

Uses

Sousa is designed to be widely usable in many different teaching and learning situation. Some of these include:

  • Lecture presentations
  • Lecture notes
  • Lecture supplemental material
  • Other supplemental material
  • Self-paced learning assignments and modules
  • Problem sets and practice exercises
  • Assigned exercises (virtual labs, for example)
  • Assessments (test, quiz, etc.)
  • Assignment responses (student authored content)
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