Learning Innovation Unit, Dublin City University

Learning Innovation Unit

Teaching and Learning Innovation Scheme 2005

Margaret Farren - the development of an enhanced integrated environment for e-learning within moodle

Principal applicant

Margaret Farren

School or Unit

Education Studies

Amount requested



The aim of the project is to provide participants on the MSc in e-learning in Education and Training programme with enhanced learning opportunities to access video clips of expert presentations from a variety of contexts. This process necessitates the transfer of existing video material i.e. expert and student presentations and making it available on Moodle. In addition, the project aims to introduce additional online support through the use of Captivate software from Macromedia to develop online tutorials to support student learning. This will involve the production of online tutorials e.g. introduction to Dreamweaver, online guide to video editing and compression etc. There is also a wealth of online resources on interactive design for learning, which require to be evaluated and integrated into the e-learning programme. The successful completion of this work will provide a more integrated e-learning environment within Moodle and has the potential to enhance student learning.

Project URL



Will the project facilitate flexible access (in the context of lifelong learning or otherwise) or facilitation of longer-term provision for special needs


Is the project related to the development of DCU's six academic themes


Strategic Context

The project intends to increase virtual access to relevant technologies within Moodle in order to enhance programme participants experience and achieve improved use of online resources. Currently online discussion forums and online learning journals are integrated into the programme and enable participants i.e. practitioners to account for their learning as they work to improve their students learning. These accounts are available on http://webpages.DCU.ie/~farrenm/educators.html. If this project proposal is successful it will open up opportunities to offer a more integrated program to a wider audience. This relates to the DCU Strategic plan; "The University will develop an e-university strategy combining technology-assisted methods with traditional learning methods." The project will also benefit the Faculty of Health and Science as two of the e-learning modules will be offered on the new MSc in Science Education thus encouraging interdisciplinary collaborations between Faculties

Implementation Plan

The project development will take place from April to July 2005.

The evaluation of project will take place between October to December 2005.

The project will be in two stages.

A postdoctoral graduates from the Centre for Digital Video processing at the School of Computing and a postgraduate from the e-learning programme will be employed for the duration of the Project under the direct supervision of Margaret Fare, Education Studies.

Stage One

The initial focus of the students will be to develop an outline/ table of contents for the Education and Training video material. Important tasks at this stage is to decide on suitable content, layout of selected material and the development of an interactive


The next step will be content digitisation, segmentation and markup/ annotation, at this stage only the central aspects of the content will be made available.

The design and production of online tutorials through use of Macromedia Captivate software will involve the production of online tutorials in relevant web based authoring software and video software. Macromedia Captivate has the potential to enhance student learning in an e-learning environment. An evaluation of existing e-learning material on design for e-learning will be integrated into the programme.

Stage Two

Implementation/Evaluation: October - December 2005

Trial the project within the MSc in e-learning in Education and Training and MSc in Science Education.

Andrew and Isaacs (1995) point out that the potential benefits of multimedia will not be realised in teaching and learning unless careful attention is paid to a range of factors including:

· Appropriate instructional design;

· Appropriate attention to the context into which packages are to be introduced;

· Attention to motivating teachers to create appropriate packages.

E-learning can play a pivotal role in developing a more learner-centered approach and enquiry based approach to teaching and learning in higher education, in an environment where learners are "free and empowered to engage in continuous innovation and critical learning" (HEA, 2004).

Impact and Evaluation


Access to these online resources can strengthen and support the current use of discussion forums and learning journals within Moodle and offer a more flexible approach to learning. Two of the Department of Education existing e-learning modules will be offered to the Faculty of Health and Science on the MSc in Science Education from October 2005.

How will the project improve the learning experience for students?

i. Developing a clear and sustained focus on improving student's (practitioner) learning in a systematic form of action enquiry that includes the process of defining areas for improving learning, developing action plans, acting, gathering data, judging the learning and redefining the areas for improvement as the enquiry moves on.

ii Emphasising the importance of data gathering that can enable an evidence-based judgement to be made on improvement in the quality of students' learning.

The advantage of an action research approach is that it includes a systematic evaluation of learning. The support that will be given through the account of teacher learning and the evidence of improving their own student learning through access to a more integrated and flexible web based learning environment within Moodle will provide a platform for the evaluation of the project.

Dissemination and Sustainability

The dissemination of the work of the project will be via the Office of the Vice President of Learning Innovation website. The project outcomes will also be disseminated through DCU seminars or presentations. The accounts of practitioner learning as they design, develop and integrate multimedia and web based artefacts in order to improve their student learning will also be easily accessed from my website http://webpages.DCU.ie/~farrenm/educatiors.html

Funding will be sought through external sources for further development of the system.

Detailed budget

The plan is to employ a postdoctoral graduates and a graduate from the MSc in e-learning. Each student will be working on the project with work split evenly between the two.

The development work will take place over a period of 3 months from April - July 2005.

The salary per person will be €5000 per person for 14 weeks. This will ensure suitably qualified candidate will take up this position.

Staff 2 x 5000 €10,000

Development computer € 1000

Captivate software € 200

Other authoring software € 800

Total €12,000

Video research and development work

2 week: Material confirmation, overall content layout and structure

2 weeks: Material Digitisation

4 weeks: Interface & Interactive design & construction

4 weeks: Content segmentation and annotation

2 weeks: Documentation and Testing

Production of Online tutorials

2 weeks: Learning to use Macromedia Captivate and other relevant software.

8 weeks: Development of Interactive tutorials in use of relevant video packages and authoring software.

2 weeks: Evaluation of relevant interactive design software related to assignment work.

2 weeks: Documentation and testing.

Support from Head of School/Unit

The School of Education Studies fully supports this application. It builds on work already being done by the department and furthers the already extensive use being made of Moodle within the department. We have been requested by the National Centre for Technology in Education to develop an e-learning module and this project would extend the research and development in e-learning being carried out by the department. The School would hope to be in a position to support and match funding in order to continue the development of e-learning and open opportunities to a wider audience.

Gerry McNamara

Head of Education Studies

Other information

Currently the MSc in e-learning in Education and Training is offered mainly as a classroom based programme and supported through use of Moodle. This project would allow for the design and development of a more integrated use of online learning throughout the programme.

In the past, funding was awarded through the Teaching and Learning fund have enabled specific development work to be implemented http://odtl.DCU.ie/tlf/1999-2000/ref43/ The funding for this project will strengthen the work already achieved through the design and development of an MSc in e-learning in Education and Training programme. The intention of the project is to address the need for the dissemination of knowledge regarding the design, development, integration and evaluation of multimedia and web based artefacts into teaching and learning. The successful completion of the work of this project will enable more flexible access to the e-learning modules and promote the development of collaboration between schools, faculties and units in the development and adoption of innovative approaches to teaching and learning.