University of South Alabama Online Learning Laboratory is website intended to train online faculty working for the University of South Alabama. Many of the resources including the online seminars and how to guides are currently available to the public.
The learning goals are to train new online faculty and to teach existing faculty how to integrate technology into their courses.
Target Student Population:
Undergraduate and graduate faculty who teach online courses are the target audience for this learning resource.
Prerequisite Knowledge or Skills:
There are no pre-requisites. An email address is required to access some of the resources. There is a statement on the website indicating that the site will no longer be available in the future. The University of Alabama is currently transitioning from the ECollege Learning Management System to Sakai Collaboration Learning Environment which is a closed site requiring a user name and password.
Type of Material:
The website is listed as a collection. Since there are resources to help assist faculty with teaching online, it could also be categorized as workshop and training material.
The site is a faculty resource portal. It has training materials and resources for faculty to improve their online classes and to access university resources available to them.
This could be useful for a faculty study group or for individual faculty members.
The technical requirements for different operating systems were posted on the website. A Windows PC or Mac with at least 512 RAM with a high-speed internet connection, a valid and current email address, Adobe Flash Player, and Adobe Acrobat are needed. PC users need windows 2000 and up; IE 7.x, IE 8.x or Firefox 2.x, or Firefox 3.x browsers; microsoft office or equivalent Open Office and a Windows Media Player. Mac users need OS X 10.1 and up; Firefox 2.x, Firefox 3.x (not Safari); Microsoft Office or equivalent and a Quicktime Player plus free Flip4Mac WMV plug-in: http://www.flip4mac.com/wmv.
Evaluation and Observation
The material is clear and concise. Videos and powerpoints provide a demonstration of the concept. The guides are self-contained and do require additional instruction.
Site offers a collection of many resources for college instructors. Services offered by the university are included as well as how-to guides presented in text and video format.
Potential Effectiveness as a Teaching Tool
The resources provided are designed to improve faculty understanding of systems and processes used when facilitating courses. Workshops are presented as professional development sources for pedagogical understanding and integration into curriculums.
Ease of Use for Both Students and Faculty
There are several features on the site to increase navigability and ease of use. The screen is point and click. There are also drop down menus. The buttons on the site are oversized and colored red which makes them easy to find. The home page is visually distinctive with sliding menu options.
There are help desk number, live chat options, and email help desk ticket features but these features are probably limited to University of South Alabama facutly and students.