Tuesday, 7 January 2014

Versal Debuts Collaborative Course Authoring at CES

Versal, an interactive online course creation and publishing company, today introduced Versal 1.5 (beta) featuring collaborative authoring. For the first time, multiple authors can collaborate and communicate with each other in real-time to develop transformative online courses.
“And the Internet will make education accessible to everyone. Our vision is to give instructors powerful new tools and serve as a catalyst for the next generation of online learning.”
“Collaborative authoring paves the way for a new approach to creating online courses,” said Versal CEO Gregor Freund. “Imagine dozens of physics professors and researchers from around the world working together to author the ultimate guide to the fundamental structure of the universe. Or an online community of gardening enthusiasts teaching people how to grow organic vegetables. Or a network of global non-profit advocates creating a water filtration course to help individuals in developing countries. The possibilities are unlimited.”
Versal first launched its interactive course creator in July, and was recently named an International CES Innovations 2014 Design and Engineering Awards Honoree in two categories: Software & Mobile Apps and Tech for a Better World. Versal is free and open to everyone.
The new collaborative authoring features are integrated throughout Versal’s course creation platform. It all begins with a clean canvas. Authors drag-and-drop customizable elements called gadgets to add content and interactive exercises. Currently Versal features more than 30 gadgets - from text, video and quizzes to interactive diagrams, math simulations and more. Authors may also easily import previously created materials and structure a course with multiple lessons and sections. Once completed, published courses can be shared with learners via direct link, email, social media, or embedded directly into websites and blogs.
“Computers are inherently interactive, and online courses shouldn’t be limited to video lectures and slide decks,” said Freund. “And the Internet will make education accessible to everyone. Our vision is to give instructors powerful new tools and serve as a catalyst for the next generation of online learning.”
New Collaborative Authoring Features:
  • All Versal courses are now collaborative by default. Approved contributors add material by inserting new gadgets. Initially, contributors will be able to edit all gadgets. Versal will soon introduce settings for publishers to restrict editing permissions.
  • To encourage open communication, authors can comment on each other’s contributions and exchange ideas inside the course creator.
  • Potential contributors request to join a course via its overview page. Publishers may invite people to join by sharing a direct link via email, social networks and more.
Versal is kicking off this new era of collaborative authoring by opening up a catalog of pre-scaffolded courses designed for anyone to join in and contribute. Courses range from Organic Chemistry to The Clever Gardening Guide to DSLR Photography and more.
Collaborative authoring is also expected to be a significant benefit for organizations and companies using the recently announced Versal for Teams, an upgrade featuring advanced administrative tools. By empowering internal groups to work together on educational, product training and HR courses, organizations can streamline efforts and pool resources.
For additional information and product images, please visit Versal.com, or Facebook orTwitter.