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Tool of the Month - Allthink (April, 2012)

Why use Allthink?

Allthink is unlike any other course authoring environments. Its philosophy is in minimizing the functional load to dramatically increase simplicity. This is what you get when you use Allthink:
• A very easy, straightforward way to publish learning content with linear structure
• Easy public access to your learning material
• Social sharing capabilities out-of-the-box
• A simple multiple-choice quiz for every lesson
• Basic multimedia content support: video, Power Point, images

This is what you DON’T GET when you use Allthink:
• Hierarchy, advanced hypertext or any other means of organizing your learning materials
• Access control and privacy for your learning materials
• Advanced interactive activities, custom or pre-built
• Advanced multimedia capabilities

So choosing Allthink is preferable for basic learning materials, that do not require advanced privacy, could be reused for multiple groups of students and organized in a linear fashion.

Allthink Basics

Allthink is a simple and free platform to create and publish online learning material. It integrates perfectly with Engrade, a simple and efficient digital grade book, although it works perfectly as a stand-alone course authoring system.

Allthink is nothing like the conventional course management and authoring software. With simplicity at its core, it lacks many of the advanced course authoring features like access control or sophisticated student enrollment. The system focuses on putting together, publishing and testing upon a simple sequence of learning materials.

All materials published on Allthink are available to the public and can be easily accessed by anyone. So a lesson published on Allthink will most likely be seen by more people than you intend. On the other hand, you as a teacher can use other teachers’ lessons and courses in class. Allthink publishes materials under the free-for-all license, hence it is not recommended to publish any privacy- and copyright-sensitive materials within your courses and lessons.

Allthink publishes two types of learning blocks: lessons and courses. A lesson in Allthink is a sequence of pages, each page containing one piece of learning material: a block of text, a video, a Power Point presentation, an image, a step-by-step description of a process and a multiple-choice quiz.

Teachers add and arrange pages in their lesson. For example, a teacher can start with a video introduction to the lesson, then add a page with some theoretical text, then a couple of pages containing images, then a page with a Power Point presentation regarding a particular aspect of the lesson, and finalize the sequence of pages with a quiz.

Typically, a lesson in Allthink is a mini-module containing all the necessary material for self-study. It can also be a set of pages describing a course, a project presentation or any other type of presentation that contains a sequence of screens.

The second type of learning block in Allthink is a course. A course is a sequence of lessons, or mini-modules, when each lesson ends with a quiz, and the whole course ends with another quiz. Teachers can design a course to span a module, a semester or more, depending on the density and availability of the learning material.

To create a course in Allthink, teachers first need to create a series of Allthink lessons, then sequence them into a course.

Creating a lesson in Allthink

To create a lesson in Allthink, first
1. log in with your Engrade credentials or register free for a new account at allthink.com.
2. Once logged in, click “New Lesson” in the top left of your Allthink home screen. Allthink will then warn you about publishing your learning materials and give advice on getting your lesson right. Read the suggestions and proceed by clicking the “Create Your Lesson Now” link.
3. On the next page, you will be asked to enter the lesson description. Be specific in lesson title and description, since these will define your materials in the Allthink catalogue.
4. Then you will be required to specify what kind of content you would like to add first into your course. Select the type of material, specify the required details and move on to the next page. Please note that images, videos and Power Point presentations will need to be created separately from the course publishing process (i.e., in a photo editing software, Power Point or iMovie). It is recommended that you get these materials ready prior to building the lesson. Your YouTube videos will need to be uploaded in advance too. The remaining types of content — lists, text and step-by-step descriptions — will need to be written while in the Allthink interface. It is a good idea to have those texts ready in advance, but this is not necessary. You will be adding pages with the learning content to suit your objectives. When finished, you will proceed to the last stage of your lesson — the quiz.
5. The quiz section is located under the list of your lesson pages. Click on the link in yellow to add the final quiz to the lesson. You will enter the questions and the answers to them, leaving the unnecessary fields blank. Do not worry about the order of the answers, but make sure to specify the correct answer in the first option of your multiple choice. Allthink will randomize the answers when your students will be taking the quiz. Once the quiz is complete, submit your lesson to allthink and click on your name in the top right corner of the screen. The link will take you to the list of your lessons.
6. Open your lessons to see how the lesson looks. If satisfied, copy the URL from your browser and send it out to your students, publish it on your course page in whichever platform you use to manage it, or add it to your Engrade curriculum. You will see your and other people’s lessons in the lesson list when adding the lesson to Engrade.

Creating a course in Allthink

To build an Allthink course,
1. you will first need to compile all the lessons that the course will contain. Once that is done, go to “New Course” in the Allthink home screen. Make sure you are logged in. Specify the course details on the second screen. Make sure your specifications are precise and informative. When done, click “Submit”.
2. On the next screen, you will be asked to add your lessons to the course. Add them one by one. At the end, you will be asked to build a course quiz, much like a lesson quiz in the previous section.
3. At the end of the process you will need to get back to your home screen and see your course on the course list. The URL of the link is the URL you will need to give to your students. Your course can also be published in your Engrade environment.

end faq