This fall, BCcampus launched a sandbox project to test a tool called Guide on the Side. Guide on the Side, developed at the University of Arizona, is a tool designed to allow users to create interactive tutorials and walkthroughs of websites.

Guide on the Side

Debra Flewelling first read about this tool via a listserve and was interested in bringing it to the Douglas College campus, where she works as an Open Education & Emerging Technologies Librarian, but was having difficulties making that happen locally. She approached BCcampus Manager of Education Technology Clint Lalonde at this years Festival of Learning.

“When Debra first approached me,” says Lalonde, ”I thought that, if we can find other interested institutions, Guide on the Side might be a good project for the BCcampus Sandbox process.”

Debra began working with her network and found that there was interest in testing the application from other institutions.

During a sandbox project, BCcampus’ role is to coordinate the hosting of the application and work with the participating institutions to evaluate the software and see if there is potential for a shared service. Currently, there are 10 participants from seven institutions testing the software.

BCcampus coordinates a variety of educational technology sandbox software projects for the B.C. post-secondary community. Sandbox projects are used to:

  • help the B.C. post-secondary system determine if a software application has teaching & learning potential, and explore what that potential may be within a safe and contained environment,
  • help both BCcampus and institutional partners better understand the operational requirements of the application. This information is made open & public as a deliverable of each project, which can then be used to help the entire system make informed decisions around the use of new and emerging educational technologies,
  • promote inter-institutional collaboration by encouraging multiple institutions to participate in a sandbox project.

Notable quotes:

“The tool itself promotes active learning because it allows for a live website on the right side with instructions and questions on the left, which makes it interactive. I don’t think this tool is just of interest for library instruction because it can be used for anything that requires an interactive instructional tool to build tutorials.” – Debra Flewelling, Open Education & Emerging Technologies Librarian, Douglas College

”It can be challenging for people at institutions to evaluate open source software, like Guide on the Side. The technical setup and support can often be a barrier. The BCcampus sandbox process was developed to help make experimentation and evaluation possible to those who might not otherwise have the technical skills and knowledge to do that.” – Clint Lalonde, Manager, Educational Technology

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