ERIC Number: EJ685203
Record Type: Journal
Publication Date: 2004-Mar
Customising Microsoft Office to Develop a Tutorial Learning Environment
Deacon, Andrew; Jaftha, Jacob; Horwitz, David
British Journal of Educational Technology, v35 n2 p223-234 Mar 2004
Powerful applications such as Microsoft Office's Excel and Word are widely used to perform common tasks in the workplace and in education. Scripting within these applications allows unanticipated user requirements to be addressed. We show that such extensibility, intended to support office automation-type applications, is well suited to the creation of learning activities and learning environments. We have developed a range of tutorial activities using Excel and Word in introductory mathematics, writing and economics courses. These tutorials have the dual purpose of teaching academic concepts and practical computer literacy skills. The software architecture of our learning environment includes a database-supported back-end to automatically record students responses, which allows for greater control over what students do. Additionally, this allows one to automate common procedures to improve usability and feedback automation to support learning. We have been applying our ideas for the last six years and currently 1,500 students are using the environment. We suggest that this pragmatic solution can provide a high degree of interactivity and flexibility in a range of learning contexts that represents a cost-effective alternative for use alongside traditional approaches.
Descriptors: Teaching Methods, Mathematics Instruction, Writing Instruction, Economics, Computer Assisted Instruction, Feedback, Computer Literacy, Intelligent Tutoring Systems, Computer Software, Learning Activities
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Publication Type: Journal Articles; Reports - General
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