BYOD: Cost effective authoring tools for academics?

Dunne, Paudraig and Cashman, Diane (2014) BYOD: Cost effective authoring tools for academics? In: The 15th Educational Technology Conference of the Irish Learning Technology Association (ILTA). May 29th and 30th, UCD, Dublin, Ireland.


Traditionally the development of eLearning content relied on professional multimedia developers with specialised equipment to author bespoke content. Over the past decade a range of rapid authoring tools have emerged on the market which enable the novice developer to create multimedia rich content. Products such as Articulate Studio & Storyline, Adobe Presenter, Captivate, Lectora and RapideL are becoming commonplace in Higher Education (HE) as tools of choice for academics to produce online content over products such as Adobe Flash, Premiere and Dreamweaver which are popular with professional multimedia developers. Licenses for these rapid authoring tools however can be expensive and costs can quickly rise for a HE programme team. While not requiring significant processing power academics would require updated hardware to run these applications and possibly audio and video capture hardware. Recently new solutions to the rapid authoring market are available for tablet devices in the format of Apps. With the increase of tablet ownership by academic staff, opportunities arise whereby staff can bring their own device (BYOD) to work to develop online content using these Apps which are significantly cheaper than desktop applications. The Apps typically utilise the tablet's inbuilt microphone and video camera, thereby negating the requirement for additional hardware to be purchased. To investigate this opportunity further UCD Teaching and Learning in conjunction with the UCD School of Physics undertook a pilot project to explore the potential use of one rapid authoring App Explain Everything ( The App was installed on a staff member's own iPad and cost €2.69. The App allows the user to import a range of media, create annotations, record narrations and capture handwritten content through the iPad. The App can export to a range of formats and to a range of local and hosted options. For the pilot project a range of mini physics tutorials was created for a module for first year agriculture students. The module was designed in a flipped classroom format. This poster explores the potential of the App, it's perceived advantages and disadvantages, discusses student and staff feedback, and explores whether BYOD can be a low cost solution for academic staff to generate online content for their students.

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