This was a very groovy exercise. It includes a mixture of Articulate, Dragster, and HotPotatoes elements. But let me take you through the elements of the project.
I was sent an MS Word document with quite a few questions about the European Union. The content creator was wondering if I could turn the file into a multiple choice exercise, or anything that would require a bit of clicking around. Budget: what budget? Timeframe: as quickly as possible. Impact: as eye-catching as possible.
My approach, research and design
As you may have noticed if you’ve already been on the National Network for Interpreting website, and especially on the Interpreting skills map, there are a couple of exercises which use MCQs already. First of all I thought that the target audience, 16-18-year-old visitors would much rather drag things across the screen in order to solve puzzles than always click on MCQs. Secondly, I always like a challenge and I thought it was time to experiment with some different exercise formats.
I therefore started looking at ways of presenting the information about the EU in a more engaging manner. I settled for Dragster (the funkiest and most clever drag-and-drop tool I have ever used), Articulate Studio 09 (powerful and very user-friendly content authoring suite without which I would not have been able to bring all the elements of the exercise together) and Hot Potatoes JQuiz (easy to use crossword puzzle authoring tool and tons of fun).
The next step was sourcing the images and audio for the exercises. In terms of images, I pretty much drew everything by hand. It wasn’t too easy to start with, but as the budget was nil and my first hour of looking for maps resulted in 0 copyright-free stuff, I just took out my graphics tablet and sketched to the best of my ability. Sound was easier, as I found some copyright-free anthems, which saved me getting out my guitar (the results would have been disastrous and the EU may have collapsed instantly as nobody would have been able to recognise who’s who anymore 😉 For instructions, one of my colleagues on the project very kindly came to my recording studio (the desk next to hers in our shared office) and did everything in a few hours.
Once I had everything, I built the individual drag-and-drop exercises in Dragster, exported them in HTML format and hosted them on our server. I did the same for the JQuiz task. Finally, I used Articulate Engage for the multimedia interactive map of the EU and brought all the different elements together in a PowerPoint presentation using Articulate Presenter and its WebObject functionality. We then started asking around for feedback and the responses were really good. Some people said they were getting addicted. Nice! (but also a bit scary).