Recently I’ve been doing some more work in SoftChalk, developing online lessons for my online and hybrid courses. I’m still a little nervous about relying so much on SoftChalk Cloud since the district is in the middle of an RFP for a tool that does the same thing. I’m keeping my fingers crossed that SoftChalk wins the bid, mostly because this is what I’m familiar with and have already invested so much time working with. I’m unsure if GCC will continue to buy it for us if the district goes in a different direction. The only way to guarantee that is to get more users on campus. We have 50 licenses and plenty are still available for use.
In an effort to generate more users here on our campus, I made two videos to tell people more about SoftChalk. A while back I create a video: What is SoftChalk? and now I want to share with you Softchalk Cloud and how and why I use it in my class. See the video below.
SoftChalk Cloud is the fastest, easiest, most flexible way to create and manage e-learning content for delivery inside or outside of a LMS. Educators can create engaging, interactive, media-rich learning content that directly integrates with any LMS or website.
I’ve been mostly pleased with how SoftChalk integrates with our LMS, Canvas, especially with how quizzes or activities built into a SoftChalk lesson are scored and added to the Canvas gradebook if you add the lesson to an assignment in Canvas. That is a super nice feature.
Here is a slide that I cover in the video that talks about how I teach and what my needs are in regards to technology. Watch the video below to listen to my thoughts on this.
What is SoftChalk Cloud?
This week we hosted a Basic Softchalk training in the CTLE. You can use SoftChalk LessonBuilder to easily create interactive lessons designed to engage your students in your subject. LessonBuilder allows you to quickly turn Word or PowerPoint documents into web pages for your students that include interactive learning games, quick response questions, and pop-up text annotations for definitions–all without being a programmer! It truly is that easy.
MCCCD used to have a district license for Softchalk, but we are in the middle of a process to either re-subscribe or obtain a license for some other lesson builder program. I have no idea what those other options are, so I’m secretly hoping Softchalk won the RFP process and will be back in our hands by Spring. In the mean time, GCC purchased a 50 seat license just for our campus, so we are still up and running in Softchalk Cloud. The rest of the district is limited to just Softchalk 7 and zip files. It’s still a good option.
In the workshop I walked participants through the process of downloading and installing the software, creating a lesson from a Word Document, inserting page breaks and headings, adding an Image, adding a YouTube video, adding audio using the Windows Sound Recorder (Windows Media Audio format- wma), adding QuizPoppers, choosing Style Properties and exporting to Canvas using zip files (not Cloud version). I created a cheat sheet for the class below.
I can’t remember when I first started using SoftChalk, but it seems like it’s been about 10 years. That’s how long the company has been around (since 2002). I’ve been using the tool to help create interactive lessons for my online and hybrid courses. We’ve had it available to us (Maricopa) for quite a while now, but when our current contract expired, we decided we needed to go out for RFP to make sure we were using the best product and paying the best price. I’d never thought much about it until I realized there might be a possibility of having to use something else. But when I express my concerns to my colleagues, all I ever get in response is: “What is SoftChalk?”
Well, that’s part of the problem, not enough faculty know the answer to that question. So the few of us who do know, may suffer the consequences. There will always be a need for an interactive lesson builder, and I vote that we keep what we already know. However, if there is something else out there that will blow me away without causing me stress learning how to use it, I’d be open to that too. In the mean time, here’s hoping others in the district find this video interesting enough to start using Softchalk while we await the verdict.