Vol. 1, No. 1, April 2001
Macromedia CourseBuilder for Dreamweaver
Reviewed by Walid
Extension for Dreamweaver 4.0
95/98 or NT version 4.0, 2000* or later
Minimum hardware requirements:
to use with Dreamweaver
32 MB of available RAM
20 MB of available hard disk
256-color monitor capable
of 800 x 600 resolution (PC)†††††
Free with purchase of† Macromedia
Dreamweaver 4 (which is usually $299)
The growth of interest in
computer-assisted language learning (CALL) and the greater
availability of language learning software has led to more
flexibility in terms of what practitioners can do in the
language classroom. No longer are we limited by technology,
but in fact we can now ask which technology is best suited
to do what is needed. The limiting factor is no longer the
technology; it's our ability to re-think our teaching to
take maximum advantage of the existing tools. This is both
empowering for teachers, but can also be somewhat intimidating
as well. Such an endeavor necessitates an understanding
of the capabilities, drawbacks and benefits of different
technology options. Above all, it calls for creative thinking
about pedagogical aims and methods.
One of the areas being explored by practitioners
is web interactivity. Web interactivity can range from the
simple (animated gifs, scrolling messages) to the complex
(Java-based intelligent tutoring). Using a powerful programming
language like Java permits creation of anything doable with
traditional, stand-alone authoring systems, plus additional
network-based applications. But that power does mean a very
steep learning curve. Fortunately, there are less demanding
options. One of these is Macromedia CourseBuilder Extension
CourseBuilder Extension for Dreamweaver 4 enables users
to quickly create compelling Web-based instructional content
that works across multiple platforms and browsers. The CourseBuilder
- A gallery of over 40 pre-built interactions
such as multiple-choice, drag-and-drop, fill-in-the blank
- A visual manager for creating complex
videos and books
Extension enables teachers to create interactive Web pages
with engaging Web-based learning content and deliver them
across multiple platforms and browsers.
Interactions let you define complete Web-based learning components
such as multiple-choice questions and drag and drop. Step
by step instructions assist the user in creating and editing
basic interactions. A built-in wizard enables the user to
that is entered. CourseBuilder extension allows a developer
customize each interaction to their specific studentsí needs.
Figure 1: Multiple Choice Wizard
Figure 2: Drag and Drop Wizard
From the different tabs of each interaction,
the developer can customize the interaction with their own
questions and answers as well as provide customized feedback
given to the student if a correct or incorrect response
is selected. Each CourseBuilder interaction can also be
customized through the tabbed fields of the interaction
to limit the number of tries given to the user, to set a
time limit for the interaction, or to set a score for correct
answers in the interaction.
The Action Manager is a visual interface for creating engaging
interactivity and sophisticated logic for Web applications.
It allows the user to create interactions that judge user
responses, track a student's movements on the screen, time
out a question, or respond to an interaction with any number
of multimedia or logic-based responses. The Action Manager
allows the to build complex logic to create scenarios that
engage users with a high level of interactivity.
Figure 3: Action Manager used to create
sophisticated logic for web applications.
Another advantage of using the CourseBuilder
extension is that it includes Knowledge Track which allows
a teacher or non-programmer to easily keep track of the
students' scores or interactions. Knowledge track can be
used to keep track of the following:
- The number of right and wrong target responses
a user has made.
- The number of tries the user took to get
the right answer.
- The amount of time it took the user to
respond to an interaction.
- The amount of time the user spent in an
- The amount of time remaining if there
was a time limit on an interaction.
- The score for an interaction.
CourseBuilder for Dreamweaver will assist
teachers in utilzing Dreamweaver's capabilities for integrating
Web media into HTML pages. This Web media may be content
created in Flash or Director, graphics optimized by Fireworks,
or streaming video using third-party plug-ins. As the possibilities
for transferring rich-media over the Web continue to expand,
the flexibility and the independence afforded by the Authorware
development and delivery environment make it one of the
most ideal tools for integrating rich media into a CD or
Web delivered learning type application.