How do I create a learning resource using eXe?

This guide uses eXe editor as an example tool for creating a learning and teaching resource.

eXe Overview

The following links will give you more information about eXe:

What is eXe Editor?

eXe Editor Tutorials

The eXe project developed a freely available Open Source authoring application to assist teachers and academics in the publishing of web content without the need to become proficient in HTML or XML markup. Resources authored in eXe can be exported in IMS Content Package, SCORM 1.2, or IMS Common Cartridge formats or as simple self-contained web pages.

You can download the software package from here: http://exelearning.org/wiki

Open the EXE tool from memory stick. Open folder ‘exe’ and double click the ‘exe.exe’ (no it’s not a spelling mistake!) file.

The application will open and you will be presented with the following interface (Colour overlays have been added to show the three main interface areas).

Outline pane (blue) - The Outline tool set allows you to define the structure your project will take. This is particularly useful for large or complex projects that contain many parts or topics.

iDevices Pane (green) - The iDevice (instructional device) pane is a collection of structural elements that describe learning content. Examples of these include, objectives, pre-knowledge, case studies, free text. Learning content is added by selecting iDevices from the iDevice menu, and entering your learning content.

Authoring Pane (pink) - The authoring window (to the right of the screen) displays the editable areas in the iDevice templates selected. Various editing tools are available to assist in the development of text.

Structuring your learning resource

Step 1: Click to select the Home button on the Outline panel, this will be the index page for your learning

Step 2: Now click on the Add Page button and add three new pages ensuring that Home is highlighted each time you add a page.

Step 3: Rename each Topic by using the submenu button or by double clicking the text.

Step 4: A dialogue box will open, type in the new name as shown on the last screenshot, and click OK to apply.

Putting content into the learning resource

Home:

To address the aims and objectives covered in the resource, it is good practice to give an overview of the desired learning outcomes. In broad terms they are a statement of what users are expected to know and be able to do upon completion of the learning resource.

Step 1: Make sure the Home page is highlighted in the Outline panel and double click on the Objectives component in the iDevices pane. Most iDevice activities use the Rich Text Editor that allow the user to enter content as you would if you were using standard word processing applications. Formatting of textual content is relatively simple, but as you will learn later, using the tool to embed interactive and engaging content is where it excels.

Step 2: Enter ‘Space - Objectives’ in the iDevice Heading field.

Step 4: When you have finished entering the text, click the green tick to save and preview the page. Clicking the red cross will delete the iDevice and any content entered.

Step 5: To edit or change the content of any iDevice, click on the edit icon to return to the Rich Text Editor view.

First Page:

Step 1: Highlight First Page and select the free text option from the IDevice panel. Now open the origins.doc Word document, then copy and paste the text into the textbox area.

Step 2: Select the title - Big Bang, then click the bold icon

Step 3: After the title, press enter to start a new line then click on the image icon

Step 4: From the browse menu choose the bigbang.jpg image. The image dimensions will be automatically inserted and a preview of the image will appear.

Step 5: Enter Big Bang into the title text field and apply changes by clicking the insert button.

Putting content into the learning resource

Second Page:

Step 1: Engaging the user is paramount to their comprehension of the subject matter, eXe has a wide selection of visual iDevices that assist this process such as the Image Gallery.

Step 2: Enter ‘Solar System - Planets’ in the iDevice Title field then click the Add images button.

Step 3: Navigate to the planets folder and begin adding images, starting with Venus and click Open.

Step 4: Enter Venus in the name field. Add all the remaining images using the same process, labelling them accordingly.

Step 5: Click the green tick to save and preview the page.

Third Page:

Adding video and audio via the media button allows you to include multi-media objects just about anywhere within your content, in any rich-text field with minimal effort.

Step 1: Select Third Page from the outline pane and highlight Free Text from the IDevices pane. From the toolbar click on the insert embedded media icon.

Step 2: Next, enter some introductory text it should read ‘Video showing the Solar System’. Click enter twice to start a new line for the video.

Step 3: In the open dialogue box, under type, choose FLV(with embedded Flow Player)

Step 4: Click the browse button and select solarSystemAnimation.flv. The dimensions should automatically be entered (425x350).

Step 5: Apply changes by clicking on the Insert button.

Step 6: A video placeholder should be visible in the page. Please note: FLV’s Flow Player isn’t actually made available until it is embedded with the content upon export.

It is now possible to embed streaming web based YouTube or Google Videos. Simply paste the appropriate URL into the File/URL field found in the media dialogue box and press enter. If the URL is recognized as one of these, the media type ShockWave Flash SWF will be selected automatically.

Adding Metadata and Licence Information

Above the authoring pane there are two tabs - Authoring and Properties. Clicking on properties displays three other tabs that add related information to your resource.

Step 1: Add a project title to your resource

Step 2: Add your name in the author field

Step 3: Attach a licence to your resource from the drop down menu. If you are unsure which licence to use visit http://creativecommons.org or http://gnu.org for further information.

Step 4: Complete a description of the resource

Step 5: Click Apply to confirm changes. A dialogue box will appear stating that the settings have been saved

Metadata:

The metadata tab allows you to include details which may enhance searching and make the resource more discoverable. It is based on Dublin Core standards for IMS Content Packages. If no metadata is added eXe uses the package title, author, and description as fallback values.

Exporting your resource as a Content Package

Material created in eXe can be exported as a Content Package so that it can be uploaded to a repository like Jorum, a VLE or to a web server as a standalone web package. Click on File > Export > SCORM 1.2 and save the SCORM/IMS/ZipFile as SolarSystem on your desktop. This method exports all assets associated with your resource including metadata. Other export formats such as Common Cartridge Format and as a self contained website are available, although SCORM allows your resource to be previewed effectively in a variety of web based mediums.

Support