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E-portfolios (part 2): SoftChalk LessonBuilder 5 tool

Author’s note: This is the second article in a brief series on various technologies that may be used to render and output portfolios.

SoftChalk LessonBuilder 5 is a software program that enables building many types of online learning objects, environments, and sites. This tool can be used to integrate digital files into web-browser readable and interactable content that may be output to a CD or DVD.

E-portfolio makers should bring together their digital contents — text files, audio, video, imagery, and other elements — and have those readily available on the desktop or in a folder.

How to use SoftChalk LessonBuilder

Open SoftChalk LessonBuilder. Users may begin building the project from the opening screen. Or, if they wish, they can go to the menu bar, go to File, and select New to start a new project.

SCLBNewFile

Users may type contents directly into the window.  They may also insert a number of items using the Insert link on the menu bar.

SCLBInsert

This authoring tool enables the creation of a range of creative and interactive elements, including a photo album, slideshow, and timeline. On the Insert menu, select Activity to see a list of elements (as shown below).

SCLBActivityInput

It’s a good idea to save your work regularly. Some e-portfolio templates involve the use of HTML tables that may be populated with the contents and relevant assessments or self-reflections, that emulates a rubric structure.  This authoring tool will collate all the media and digital contents into a coherent file. Once the file is finalized and saved, you will be ready to  output it to a CD/DVD.

Output contents to CD/DVD

In the menu bar, go to File, select Package Lesson, and then For CD. (This works for SoftChalk LessonBuilder 5, the latest version.)

SCLBPackageLessonforCD

When the dialogue window opens, indicate where you wish to save the CD package folder. The default location is the directory where the lesson folder is located.  Click OK.

SavingCDPackageFolder

Then, click OK again to return to the main editing window.

To make the CD or DVD, go to where you packaged the contents. You will see the name of your contents with “_CD-package” at the end of the folder name.

Open this CD-package folder. Select all the files, copy them, and paste them into the CD-making program. (Don’t copy the CD-package folder, just its contents.)

The resulting CD should be playable on either a PC or Mac. If autorun on the PC is turned on, the CD or DVD should begin playing right away, or will launch to the opening page. (If autorun is turned off, then users will need to double-click on the Windows_Setup.exe.) Mac users will have to open the CD/DVD and double-click on LessonLauncher.app.

More details are available on Page 54 of the User Guide. (In SoftChalk LessonBuilder, choose Help, then Help Topics, then User Guide.)  As an aside, Version 5 has the capability of creating an eCourse (combination of lessons) that can be put on a CD. Page 144 of the User Guide discusses this feature.