I was recently asked to identify some free embeddable web services which could be used in a website to support students considering articulation/progression routes from further to higher education. In particular they were interested in producing a visually appealing timeline which allowed students to see key dates, linking to additional resources. Below is a quick screencast I put together of 6 web services which might be of interest and where possible examples of their use in existing educational sites:
Timeglider is a free service for making embeddable timelines. Here’s an example of a Timeglider timeline (clicking on timeline items allows you to link to other resources). This tool uses specific date ranges but you could get around reprogramming it each year by setting it around 0AD or 1900.
Google Calendar is embeddable calendar. This could be used in a similar way as the timeline tool but is less visually attractive. Unlike Timeglider key dates could be set as reoccurring so once created there could be minimal updates required. The advantage of Google Calendar is it automatically generates links which when clicked offer to be included in the students calendar software, if it is compatible. Example of embedded calendar at the Wittenburg University
Wallwisher is a online interactive notice board. There are potentially two ways you could use this: as a constructed noticeboard made by staff linking to resources, highlighting important information (a variation on the timeline idea). Alternatively as the University of Central Lancashire TAG site use it, as a method for getting feedback from students.
Online chat widget
Meebo is a chat widget used by a number of libraries in the region (and further afield). This allows a visitor to chat with a staff member via a little instant messaging window. An example of this can be seen on the QMU library site ‘Ask us’. (Along similar lines there is another embeddable video chat service call Tokbox)
getSatisfaction is a web service designed to allow companies to integrate a customer engagement/support service within their website. The service allows a user to ask a question, share an idea, report a problem or give praise. The process of creating a question or comment also automatically generates a FAQ. An example of how this can be integrated is on the University of Hawaii Library site.
Other examples gratefully received …