Wednesday, August 8, 2012

MASLO: Mobile Access to Supplementary Learning Objects

MASLO is the topic of the first pre-conference session I attended at the 2012 Distance Teaching and Learning conference in Madison, WI. Presenters were Rovy Brannon, Moses Wolfenstein, and Cathrin Weiss from UW-Extension. Here are some facts about MASLO:
  • It is necessary to download Adobe Air and the MASLO authoring tool in order to create the content. Content has to be authored on a computer and works best on a Mac. 
  • It's very user friendly to create content. Faculty can do this!
  • Content created with MASLO is only available to students/users on mobile devices, via the app, and then is installed on the device so it can be viewed offline. 
  • MASLO accepts the following content pieces: text, images, mp4 video (no URLs - only mp4s), and you can add quiz questions. 
  • The resulting learning object is an individual screen per content piece. So you could have a text intro, a picture with a caption, a video, a quiz, etc. Just swipe to get the next piece of content. It's kind of like breaking down a webpage into each paragraph/image/video per mobile screen, with a quiz for some interaction and self checking. Kind of hard to explain. 
  • Check out Rovy Brannon's blog post and video about MASLO for more info including screenshots. 
So this was all good but here's the deal breaker for me at this point: MASLO is open source but it is not hosted. We'd have to set up our own instance at UWEC. Then we'd need to create our app (or add it to our Boopsie app? They said the app code is open source.). Then we'd have to figure out where to host the content. The presenters are from Extension and they host theirs on Amazon. They said other options are Dropbox and a good old server. So if faculty created content they'd have to send it to a central person? I don't really understand this, so unfortunately this lack of true applicability makes it not very valuable to me at this point. I was hoping it would publish locally.

I also don't know the applicability of creating content JUST for mobile. I was hoping that it would be accessible on a computer too. I'm not sure which faculty would want to do this, or if any non-academic departments would want to. So, this was interesting, but I don't know what to do with the info...I'm looking forward to talking to our Mobile Technology Specialist when I get back. I wish he was here to interpret for me now.

Here are a few random additional things I learned: 
  • A new term (from Rovy's blog post): Eating Your Own Dog Food (Dogfooding). Ha! Basically it means proving/demonstrating your product via your product. 
  • There is a future standard for sharing data between different apps, the future of SCORM, called Tin Can. They developed MASLO with Tin Can in mind. 
Image from http://www.scoop.it/t/digital-minds-in-education

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