Using WebCT in adjunct/mixed mode
TEND 2000 Conference
Abu Dhabi, U.A.E.

Michael Shaw
Supervisor, Instructional Media and Technology Centre
Higher Colleges of Technology
Abu Dhabi, UAE
http:/ / .ae/new -mediatv /mikey/index.html

This flexible WebCT course was originally developed in the summer of 1998 and tested in the Communication Technology Program. It is a project-based course, and in addition to teaching the basics of multimedia production, it introduces both faculty and students to the concept of combined open learning, or adjunct/mixed mode online learning.

The course is not about learning how to use Hyperstudio as a specific authoring program, but rather, it gives students the opportunity to easily plan and assemble their first multimedia program without a high learning curve typically associated with programs such as Macromedia Director. The emphasis is on planning and 'hands-on assembly'. With this, students become familiar with a variety of textual, image and sound formats essential for multimedia literacy. More advanced students can create their own graphics and content. Throughout the course, students combine their knowledge and work towards completing a multimedia program for final assessment. The course is meant to foster experiential and some collaborative learning, and the amount of face to face communication and moderation is left to the discretion of the instructor.

Initially it was introduced to second year students, who took to it very well and produced several interesting projects. The following term it was used with first year students, who had a more difficult time relating to the online environment, and required more moderation to produce results.

Instructors only require a basic understanding of computer graphics and multimedia production to deliver the course. The tutorial from Hyperstudio or the tutorial for ESL students (available in lesson 3) should be enough to provide instructors with a basic background on the software used for the course. If other programs such as SoundEdit16, Adobe Photoshop or Adobe Premiere are to be incorporated, relevant faculty may need to be consulted. A basic understanding of WebCT is required, and the Instructional Media and Technology Centre offers a variety of PD activities for instructors interested in incorporating technology in their classroom.

It may be a good analogy to think of the online material as containing the textbook, an activity centre, a library, a post office and a telephone. Many of the tasks are already built-in, and it is hoped that over time, other instructors will add to, expand and update the material accordingly.

The main page or menu contains 4 icons: lessons, resources, tests and com-site.

The lessons area contains the online student information for each topic. It is up to individual instructors on how they want to implement this. The content could be projected on a screen as part of a lecture or discussion, or be assigned as reading material. Most topic areas contain links that can be used for further research. assignments or discussions.

The resource section contains links to other sites and WWW meta-search engines. Here students can find tutorials and royalty-free clip art, audio clips and animations for their projects.

The tests section is where the students go to access their 'written' online mid-term or final examination. Some individual topic areas contain self-tests which help students prepare for the online exam by trying out their knowledge.

The com-site area contains the following:

  • An email section where tutors and students can communicate through electronic mail.
  • A bulletin board that can act as an information centre and/or provide an asynchronous forum for discussions, and to perhaps establish collaborative communities with other national or international students.
  • A homepages section if students wish to create their own homepages.
  • Synchronous chat facilities for live online discussions and debates with remote individuals or groups.
  • A calendar where events or tasks can be scheduled and posted.


Initiate a class discussion on what this mode of online learning is all about. What are the benefits?

Using a projector, take students through a demonstration of the interface and various areas in the environment. Create the student accounts in the classroom. Illustrate and use some of the features by having students chat in the synchronous chat area, send email and post information on the bulletin board.

Illustrate how the instructor can monitor their progress through student tracking, and emphasize the importance of completing all readings and tasks on time.

An assignment for the next class may be to have students post a short message about their expectations of the course in the bulletin board area. Encouraging them to 'play' in the resources section typically creates excitement about their initial project ideas.

This project was the first of its kind at the Higher Colleges of Technology.