Adelaide Bianchini is one of the winners of SlideWiki’s OpenCourseWare competition. You can read the interview about her experience at SlideWiki’s Open CourseWare competition and her plans for using SlideWiki in the future here below.
1. Please introduce yourself and your team (Name, Professional Backgroung, current working position.
Name: Adelaide Bianchini
Computer Science Engineering, Master of Science in Computer Science and PhD in Engineering (Software and Web Engineering).
Full professor (retired) from Universidad Simón Bolívar (Caracas, Venezuela) from 1979 to 2016 at Department of Computer Science and Information Technology.
Current position and interests:
I collaborate (ad honorem) with the Università della LiberEtà “Nicola Perrotti” (Penne, Italy) since April 2016. I am responsible for all aspects of information technology, such as website development and management, communications management, content creation, design of course programs of technology area, design of presentations and advertising, etc. The University offers lessons in several areas, so I interacted with a team with extremely diverse backgrounds (historians, physicians, journalists, biologists, musicians, politicians, experts in the traditions of the territory, etc.). This collaboration has given me great lessons, since I have always worked in information technology area.
My areas of professional interest are E-learning and Educational Contents Development, Web Engineering, Usability Engineering, User Interface Design and User Experience. I am still active as a member of several International Conference Program Committees in the field of Computer Science.
2. How was your experience participating in SlideWiki’s OpenCourseWare Competition?
The experience was very positive. I think that the competition was an effective strategy to publicize the platform, motivate new users and create a community around them.
I learned about SlideWiki’s OpenCourseWare because some of my areas of research is e-learning and development of educational content. From the beginning I was curious about the platform, and followed up on its progress. I got excited when I found out about the competition. My curiosity became a proactive attitude. I thought it would be an opportunity for me, and the University, to test it and create contents for our courses aimed at the continuous training of citizens.
I felt that I had to organize one of our courses in a different way because of the richness of the tools offered by the platform. I gave myself the task of knowing SlideWiki better and I managed to create a product which I am very satisfied with, although it can surely be improved.
3. SlideWiki, an EU-funded project, enables the collaborative creation of free teaching and learning materials. These include, for instance, slide sets, lecture notes and course content. What is special about this platform?
In my little experience with the platform, I recognize several benefits from the point of view of content creation (decks), editing of contents with the possibilities of sharing and reuse them. The nature of the topics to be developed is not tied to a specific context and therefore there is a range of possibilities of use: from humanistic themes to topics centered on technologies. The available content formats, such as the inclusion of graphics, images and videos, are sufficiently different to create very rich experiences for the trainees and benefit the final users (students/participants) of the courses.
4. According to your opinion, which are the target groups that can best benefit from using the SlideWiki platform?
The users most benefited with this platform, I believe, are those who participate in courses administered by various teachers and trainers. The capacity it provides to collaborate in the creation of educational material and evaluation and self-evaluation strategies and thus experience different approaches, is strength. The platform goes beyond formal education.
With the new teaching strategies, where students must create their own learning in a collaborative way, the platform is a great resource that puts great possibilities in the hands of students. I’m thinking about making SlideWiki known to the teachers of Penne’s higher educational institutes.
Despite being conceived as an educational tool, I am convinced that private companies could use it for staff training. I think (and hope) these companies could consider economic contributions to future improvements of SlideWiki.
5. How do you evaluate the importance of Open Course Ware and Open Educational Resources for all educational levels?
I believe that Open Educational Resources are a fundamental tool to improve the teaching and learning process. I would summarize it as the power in the hands of those involved in the process to create, use, reuse, share and improve those resources.
Course Ware and Educational Resources have to be visible, open and reachable. If a resource is kept hidden, the resource will not be used. While it is true that the authors deserve credit for what has been done, it is also true that they must make themselves known with what they produce and make it available to others.
Personally, the university with which I collaborate does not have the resources to create high impact educational solutions, since it is a non-profit organization and is maintained through collaborations of associates (citizens). Taking into account this fact, platforms such as SlideWiki provides us with technological resources and tools basically free of charge and thus we can create and publish Open Educational Resources. This leads to improve the options of continuous training we provide to citizens. It will have a greater scope at a reduced cost.
6. Do you or your organization plan to continue using SlideWiki in the future?
I am sure that we will use SlideWiki for a long time … At this moment I am responsible for the technology and all the communication tools between the University and its associates (citizens). I recognize that the tool will be a fundamental means to achieve some of our objectives. Our University does not have many classrooms available. Having an online content creation platform means that course participants can exploit their benefits from their homes.
Maybe I would like to see new versions of the platform in order to improve some usability aspects (manipulation of already elaborated presentations, for example). During the course load for the contest I had to resize images and edit texts… However, the platform provides all the tools to create presentations from scratch.