Wednesday, November 24, 2010

PDF Assignment Builder

For a while now I have been building assignment files for instructors using Adobe LiveCycle and Adobe Acrobat Pro. I have also been building Instructional Design tools in PDFs, such as the Online Syllabus Template Tool (OSTT).

Creating assignments in PDF format came from my frustration at instructors receiving submissions in an endless variety of formats (.docx, .doc, .wpd, .txt, etc.) in spite of putting very specific language about acceptable file formats in their syllabi. With PDF files, that problem was eliminated.

As I created more assignments in PDFs, I began to realize the potential of these files:

1. No software to buy: They open in Adobe Reader, so there is no need for students to purchase Microsoft Word if they are working on a personal machine, as many distance and non-traditional students do.

2. Built-in accessibility tools for disabled instructors and/or students (more on this in a future post).

3. PDF files work with all browsers, on all operating systems.

Anyway, for me the "holy grail" was to build a tool that would allow instructors to create assignments as PDFs, WITHOUT having to purchase Acrobat Pro.

And I think I've gotten there with the PDF Assignment Builder.

Click here to watch a tutorial on using the Assignment Builder. You can download the file here.