There are two ways to produce web pages for use in NOW. One is to use NOW's built-in web (HTML) editor to create content in situ; the other is to use a separate tool, Wimba Create, to create your content, then upload it to NOW. Here we discuss the two options and help you decide which one is best for you.
1. NOW HTML editor
NOW has a built-in HTML editor for creating content. Whenever you create text in NOW, you are using the HTML editor. It looks like this:
Like Microsoft Word, the editor is a WYSIWYG (What You See Is What You Get) environment*: content looks the same during editing as in the final output.
There are some advantages and some disadvantages associated with the use of the built-in editor.
- Little or no learning curve: similar environment to MS Word
- Good for shared creation of content: multiple authors can easily work on the same document
- Good for quick edits to existing HTML pages in NOW
- Creating content in bulk can be time-consuming: pages must be written and formatted individually
- HTML editor has some quirks and shortcomings
* The WYSIWYG editor can, if required, be turned off by default in the Preferences section of NOW
2. Wimba Create
Wimba Create enables you to quickly convert Microsoft Word documents into online content. From a single Word document, you can generate a set of accessible web pages with a consistent look and feel, which can then be easily uploaded to your NOW module or programme. Images, audio, video, PowerPoints and other types of content can also be incorporated if required. All you need to do is format your document in Word using Styles. However, Create is a standalone content creation tool: you will still need to upload your content to NOW once you have created it. There is no automatic link to NOW. At the bottom of this page are two videos demonstrating the generation of pages with Wimba Create and the uploading of content to NOW.
- Easy to produce accessible content
- Content has a consistent look and feel
- Images, audio, video, PowerPoints etc. are easy to embed or link to
- Quicker than creating web pages individually using built-in HTML editor, particularly if you have a lot of content
- Fixed look and feel (page layout and fonts) may be too rigid for some
- Not a WYSISYG (What You See Is What You Get) environment - the generated web pages will not look the same as your source Word document
- Using Create with NOW is a two-stage process - create, then upload. Therefore:
- Shared authorship (e.g. between members of a module team) may be awkward
- Maintenance may be time-consuming if frequent editing is likely
Which Should I Use?
There are a number of considerations to bear in mind. The following checklist may help you decide which is the best route for you:
- Is it important that your content has a consistent 'look and feel'? This refers to things like font, text size and page layout.
- Is most of your content already in Word form, or can it be easily pasted into Word?
- Will you be the sole author/editor of this content?
- Are you happy to spend a short time familiarising yourself with a new software tool?
- Is your content ever likely to be presented somewhere besides NOW: on a website, or in a different VLE, e.g. Blackboard?
Mostly Yes: consider using Wimba Create
Mostly No: consider using NOW's built-in editor
In general terms, Wimba is useful for quickly producing a lot of content with a consistent look, and ensuring that this content is accessible. However, the need to separately upload content makes it less appropriate if there are likely to be multiple authors, or if the material is likely to need frequent editing.