3.5 Amanda reflects on the process
An important part of any new course is taking the time to reflect upon the variety of new learning that has been achieved. This includes not only the subject content but also how that learning was attained. In Amanda's case she has discovered that she has been able to extend her own learning techniques, use some new learning tools as well as access a variety of new learning materials relevant to her Human Biology course.
Amanda realises, however, that she can now also put all of this new learning into effect by recording her thoughts, reflections and ideas in another widget called EtherPad. This will enable her to keep a diary of events, make notes about her learning journey and reflect upon how this might inform her future learning developments or choices of subsequent courses as well as learning opportunities.
Figure 9: Amanda chooses to use the EtherPad widget
The EtherPad widget enables you to access a web service that allows real-time document collaboration for groups of users. In effect the widget presents EtherPad, which is an open source web service that runs on Windows, Macs and elsewhere too.
You can carry out the collaborative authoring of a text based document because EtherPad offers you access to a text editor that allows you to write a document collaboratively with your peers in real-time. When multiple authors edit the same EtherPad document simultaneously, any changes are instantly reflected on everyone's screen. This can be particularly useful when wishing to record information within online meetings by making notes.
You can also import or export the contents of the EtherPad as HTML, plain text, bookmark file, Microsoft Word, PDF or as an Open Document. You can save the contents of the EtherPad as revisions. There is also an option to open EtherPad in a separate window with a timeline option displayed. For most effective use of EtherPad one must invite other participants to share the Pad. Each individual will be allocated a separate colour to denote his or her contributions.