Aardvark Course Content Management System
Aardvark is our home-grown system for creating, managing and delivering mathematically rich course teaching materials. It was initially developed to support our flagship Physics 1A course and has since been rolled out across a number of other courses offered by the School.
Aardvark provides an easy to learn forms-based Graphical User Interface (GUI) that allows our academic staff to create and assemble mathematically rich online and printed teaching materials using simple textual (LaTeX-based) markup. Aardvark does the work of turning these raw "Knowledge Objects" into a number of output formats, including interactive web pages, lecturing/presentation materials and printed formats.
Aardvark also acts as a repository for storing, managing and sharing our Knowledge Objects, with support for metadata and reversion control features.
- Features: This page outlines the main features and design goals for Aardvark, as well as showing a number of screenshots of the system and the kind of outputs it produces.
- Technical Details: This page summarises some of the technical details of Aardvark, including client requirements for accessing Aardvark remotely.
Current Status and Future Plans
Aardvark is currently used to manage the content for almost all of our first year undergraduate Physics courses, including Physics 1A, Discovering Astrononmy G and Astronomy 1S. It is also used in a scattering of other courses, ranging from second year to taught postgraduate level.
As well as continuing mainstream development of Aardvark, we are also looking at how we can improve the student experience of the web-based learning content that Aardvark produces. More details about these "Learning Content 2.0" plans can be found on our group Blog.
Project ContactsDr David McKain, School of Physics and Astronomy (Technical Architect & Lead) Prof Simon Bates, School of Physics and Astronomy (Academic Lead)
The following links will open a new window. These video demos require Adobe's Flash Player.
- Aardvark Walkthrough : David McKain, e-learning developer within the School of Physics and Astronomy, gives a guided tour of what is under the hood of the Aardvark content management system. [Length: 12m 36s, Size: ~3.6MB]
- Simon P. Bates, Judy Hardy, John Hill and David McKain, How design of online learning materials an accommodate the heterogeneity in student abilities, aptitudes and aspirations (submitted paper), Learning and Teaching in Higher Education Journal Issue 2 (due 2007).
- Simon Bates, Alastair Bruce and David McKain, Integrating e-learning and on-campus teaching I: An overview, Research Proceedings of the 12th Association of Learning Technology Conference (2005) 130-139.