Digital Teaching and Publishing Tool: e-Pack
For my digital humanities tool, I wanted to solve a problem with creating and disseminating analog course packets in the university setting. Instructors increasingly wish to use texts outside of a standard textbook, but have no way of amalgamating those course materials without copying, scanning, and binding physical course packets. The students must then purchase the copied packets from an outside printing party. These analog, customized course packets are static; the instructor cannot make quick and easy changes to them once they are copied and bound without creating new hassles and costing the students more money. The students also cannot directly engage with the texts outside of highlighting, writing notes, and discussing the material in class; the printed course packets are in no way interactive themselves. Additionally, though online course software, such as Blackboard, allows professors to upload fundamental and supplementary texts and links at no additional cost to the students, the materials are not available in a centralized location. I want to create a teaching and publishing tool that would enable the instructor using online course software and media to import and manipulate course materials to a consolidated, interactive, and dynamic e-course packet.
Instructors can download the program for free from the internet. Therefore, the only necessary technology other than physical computers is an internet connection. The creator can use the program from any computer with a browser and then upload the e-text from any computer or smartphone to the appropriate course publishing website. Once the creator makes the initial upload to Blackboard or the course blog, the program exists as a plug-in. The author can edit and manipulate the material from the stand-alone program then sync it to the uploaded version online.
The author/instructor can upload any “texts,” such as documents, images, video clips, and music. He or she can enable a comment section for each content upload. The students using and reading the e-Pack will experience a highly interactive interface. They are free to highlight, annotate, zoom in and out, and comment on each content upload. These features enable each student to possess their own course packet within the centralized e-Pack available to every student in the class. Additionally, the instructor can export the e-Pack at the end of the semester, preserving the digital information and learning trajectories. Each students is able to export their personal e-Pack, as well.