Authoring Tools

Softchalk Cloud

soft chalk cloud logoThe CSU Office of the Chancellor has negotiated a contract with SoftChalk to provide significantly discounted costs for individual SoftChalk Cloud subscriptions for CSU faculty and staff.

About SoftChalk Cloud

SoftChalk Cloud's is a multi-function platform that combines learning object repository, content authoring, hosting and management features with an easy way to track student score results–and it's designed to integrate seamlessly with Blackboard or Moodle. For further information on SoftChalk, please visit the CSU Center for Distributed Learning website.

How is SoftChalk Cloud different than SoftChalk for the desktop?

SoftChalk Cloud is available whenever you log into your SoftChalk Cloud account. It offers all the creation features of SoftChalk for the desktop with anywhere, anytime access and the ability to manage, share and track learning content in one place. You have a My Content area in the Cloud to save your content and will no longer have a need for the Library feature that's present in the desktop version. There's also no need to package executable lessons because you can publish lessons to your SoftChalk Cloud account and give the hyperlink to your students. With the SoftChalk Cloud, you must have an Internet connection to create content.

For further details, choose from the following:

CSU SoftChalk Cloud Subscription Information

We have 150 individual subscriptions that we offer until they have all been allocated.

  • Individual User Subscription:
    • $195 for an individual one-year subscription (vs. $495 retail price)
    • Each subscription includes:
      • 2 GB of storage and access for up to 500 students (total not concurrent)
      • Technical support
      • Demonstration webinars
      • Self-paced video and lesson tutorials

Set Up and Purchase Process:

  1. Your campus must designate a single "SoftChalk Cloud Procurement Coordinator" who will be responsible for:
    1. Requesting individual licenses from the Chancellor's Office SoftChalk Cloud contract coordinator at the CSU Center for Distributed Learning (CDL).
    2. Being the financial contact for the CDL. This person will be notified when the CDL initiates the CPO for reimbursement of the cost of the licenses.
    3. Providing the distribution and support of the SoftChalk licenses to campus members. The CO will not be providing any user support for SoftChalk.
  2. Send an email to Softchalk-contract@cdl.edu to request the SoftChalk Cloud subscription keys. In your email you will need to provide the following purchase information:
    1. Number of individual SoftChalk Cloud subscription keys requested.
    2. Total amount of funds the CO will request from your campus through a CPO.
    3. The department chartfield string to process the CPO.
    4. Campus name, campus title, phone number, and email address of your designated SoftChalk Cloud Procurement Coordinator
  3. Once the CPO is submitted, the CDL will send your designated SoftChalk Cloud Procurement Coordinator the activation key(s) for your distribution and control.
  4. The purchasing process is now complete, and you are ready to get started!

MERLOT Content Builder

MERLOT logoThe MERLOT Content Builder is a web page and website development tool that is integrated into MERLOT. It is directly accessible by registered and logged-in members from the MERLOT homepage by clicking "Create Material with Content Builder" tile or from a members profile page. Web pages are easily created using Content Builder's templates. These include a variety of designs including e-portfolio structures, lesson plans, pedagogical analysis, student reflection, online course, tutorial, presentation, community website, etc.

You can view some of these examples on the MERLOT Effective Uses of the MERLOT Content Builder Tool web site (which was created by using Content Builder). Go to the MERLOT Authoring Strategies page for more information.

Websites created with the MERLOT Content Builder contain web pages that include a navigation bar, text, imported documents, and uploaded photos and videos. A Content Builder web page consists of a title "box" plus additional boxes, each displaying an aspect of web page content. For text-only mode browsers, images inserted in a web pages can include "alt tags" describing the image when the cursor is rolled over it. Sets of web pages can easily be collected to create complete websites that contain automatically-generated navigation bars.

Besides being able to create web pages and web sites in Content Builder, a user can:

  • Download IMS certified Common Cartridges of their Content Builder web pages and sites for use in applications that support the IMS certified Common Cartridge format.
  • Add a Creative Commons license to their pages and site.
  • Make their web pages/sites public, and/or contribute them directly to the MERLOT repository.

Every effort has been made to make the MERLOT website accessible to users of assistive technologies. It has been developed with the intention for keyboard users and screen reader users with the horizontal menu navigation to have the best possible user experience. MERLOT has addressed many accessibility requirements in its implementation of the Content Builder. The Voluntary Product Accessibility Template (VPAT) will be posted soon with a description of the degree to which the Content Builder meets Section 508 standards.

To begin using the Content Builder

  1. Go to the MERLOT page - Add to Collection (https://www.merlot.org/merlot/index.htm?action=contribute). If you are not logged in or not a member of MERLOT, you will be prompted. You can register at https://www.merlot.org/merlot/join.htm
  2. From the Add to Collection page, click on "Create Material with Content Builder."
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