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March 30, 2007

Create multi-sco learning modules using the Reload Editor: Part III

Reload Editor Tutorial Part III - Adding Attributes

  1. Once you have added some resources, they become available to select in the Referenced elements menu in the Item's Attributes.

    To associate an item with its resource, under Organization, select the item. Its Attributes appear below.

    Reload - referenced Element

  2. You may change the item name at the top of the attributes area to the title of the SCO.

    Reload - Changed Name

  3. You will notice in the example shown we have three items, but have only 2 resources listed so far. The third item has no resources to choose from. This is because we are going to add a quiz resource, which cannot be imported as we did with the other resource files, since it is a dynamic page which does not actually exist on the server. All we have available for this resource is a URL, which can be used by creating a new resource:

    Right-click the Resources icon, and select Add Resource.

    Reload - add dynamic resource

    Paste in the full LMS launch URL of the quiz or other dynamic content.
    [Note on Questionmark Perception: If you are adding a Questionmark Perception quiz here, you may generate the complicated SCORM launch URL using the Perception Content Packager.]

    Reload - paste in Quiz URL

  4. Now the URL you pasted in is available to be associated to the item.

  5. Reload - select dynamic resource

  6. Add SCORM sequencing information by right-clicking each item and selecting Edit SCORM
  7. Reload - edit scorm

  8. Enter the mastery score for each item as shown. Use 0 for items that should act as if they are unscored.
    Reload - mastery score 0
  9. Use 80 or whatever is appropriate for scored items.
    Reload - mastery score 80

    Before using the Prerequisites settings, check to see if your LMS supports this part of the SCORM 1.2 specification. For example they are not supported by SumTotal 6.5.

    For articles on web development, powerpoint and other topics, see The Designspace

    Posted by emeiselm at 08:06 PM | Comments (0)

    Create multi-sco learning modules using the Reload Editor: Part II

    Reload Editor Tutorial Part II -Create course Structure

    1. The item called "Organizations" represents the entire Learning Module. This is the trunk of the course-structure tree you will build. The individual SCO's you have imported will be items within an "organization" that is contained within the main "Organizations" item.

    2. Right click "Organizations" item. Select Add Organization.

    3. Reload - Add Organization

    4. Next, add an Item (this will be one of the SCO's) to the Organization you just created. Right click it and select "Add Item"

    5. Reload - Add Item

    6. The package will now look like this:
    7. Reload - one item added

    8. Next we need to select the resources that will be used to open the SCO. Drag the index page for the first SCO to the Resources folder in the Content Package side:

    9. Reload - drag to resources folder

      Posted by emeiselm at 08:05 PM | Comments (0)

      Create multi-sco learning modules using the Reload Editor: Part I

      Reload Editor Tutorial Part I - Create a package and import resources

      With an emphasis on use for SumTotal 6.5 and SCORM 1.2

      Once you have completed building a single learning module (called a "SCO" or "Shareable Content Object" in SCORM terms), you will probably want to link it together with a quiz or with other learning module SCO's.

      To piece together multiple SCO's into a single learning module, you will need to replace the manifests created with each SCO with a single manifest that lists all of them. The Reload Editor is a tool which will allow you to create manifests which aggregate all types of learning modules together into a larger package.

      The Reload Editor is available free from http://www.reload.ac.uk. The Reload editor works on Mac or PC, and requires the Java Runtime Environment which will have to be installed on a PC. (see instructions that come with the editor.)

      1. Create a new ADL SCORM 1.2 package:
        Reload - Create New package

      2. Save the newly created package file to a new folder. The new file screen looks like this:

      3. Reload - Initial Screen

      4. Import the SCO files that will be used in this combined module by clicking the Import icon:

        Reload - clickImport

        You can also simply drag them into the package Files folder:

        Reload - drag Import

      5. Your project should now look like something like this:

        Reload - package w/ 2 sets of files

      6. or this example, with three items (shown opened to display their resources) Reload Editor screen 1

        For articles on web development, powerpoint and other topics, see The Designspace

        Posted by emeiselm at 08:04 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

        Powerpoint and video

        Successfully incorporating video clips into powerpoint isn't hard, but the process will go more smoothly if you consider how the presentation will be delivered before inserting the video file. This tutorial is mainly oriented toward the PC version of powerpoint and Windows Media Player.

        Let's go over some possible scenarios:

        Scenario 1. You create and present the powerpoint presentation on your own laptop.

        If the .ppt file is not going to be moved from its current position on the laptop, you only have to ensure that the video clip actually resides on your laptop, so that it will be available when you are giving the presentation.

        So before inserting the video file, make sure that it is indeed on the C drive, or more simply, in whatever folder the powerpoint presentation is in, and not on a networked drive somewhere. This may seem obvious, but I've found that many users are not at all clear on what drives they are using.

        The important thing to remember is: Powerpoint only inserts a pointer to the clip into the presentation. The pointer specifies the path to the current position of the clip, relative to the powerpoint file. This pointer will NOT be updated if the presentation file or the video file are moved. Powerpoint will continue looking for the file in a location it can no longer reach. Easiest solution: start with the video file in the same folder as the powerpoint, THEN insert it into the presentations, then move both files into the same folder on the laptop

        Scenario 2. You develop the powerpoint on your desktop computer and move it to a laptop or CD:

        Use the "Insert Movies and Sounds" command.

        For the same reasons as above, before inserting the video clip into your Powerpoint presentation, move it to the same directory as the powerpoint file, or at least to a relative path that you can duplicate on the laptop. Windows does not keep track of changing file locations, and will not be able to find the clip if it does not remain in the same relative location to the Presentation as when it was inserted. When you move the presentation over to the lapto, be sure to move the video clip as well, into the same folder again, or to the same relative path.

        Scenario 3. You develop the powerpoint on one computer, then move it to the web.

        Use the "Insert:Object:Create New: Windows Media Player" command

        You will probably need to put the video clip on a streaming server if a lot of people will be viewing the presentation at once. However, you can't use the standard "Insert: Movies and Sounds" command for a streaming file. You need to insert a Windows Media Player object, which can be set to point to either streaming or non-streaming files. To use this player, select Insert:Object: Create New: Windows Media Player. Once the player appears on the slide, right click it, select "Properties" from the popup menu, and in the space next to "URL" type in the URL (mms://your.streaming.server.com) of the streaming file, OR type in the URL of the .asx file that points to the streaming file.

        Posted by emeiselm at 08:02 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

        Make any web-based Powerpoint presentation scorm compatible

        It's easy to export Powerpoint presentations to the web, but they aren't automatically scorm compatible. To add simple scorm capability to your web-export, do the following:

        This will add a button that will allow the user to mark the sco complete. 1. Add this to the head section of outline.htm or the final slide.

        Add the following onload statement to the body tag:

        <body onload=\"mm_adlOnload(); Load()\">
        To add a button that lets the user manually set the sco status to "completed", find the text of the last slide title (the text of the last link in the navbar on the left) and add this button after it.

        To have the sco automatically mark itself complete upon closing, add the following onunload and onbeforeunload statements to the body tag:
        onbeforeunload="mm_finishFrm"  onunload="mm_finishFrm"
        For articles on web development, powerpoint and other topics, see The Designspace

        Posted by emeiselm at 07:58 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

        Adding Narration to Powerpoint


        1. You will need to purchase a microphone or a headset Microphone. I recommend the Plantronics USB headset mics, LISTED HERE. I use the Plantronics DSP 400, but the less expensive ones work well also.
        2. Find a quiet room, preferably one with no air-conditioning or heating blower hum, and no other ambient noises. If you work in an older building this can be a challenge, enough so you may want to consider doing the recording elsewhere.
        3. Prepare a script for your narration. Run through it once or twice, to eliminate "umms" and "errr's" in your rendition.
        4. Plug in the microphone, and if you are using Windows, you will also need to install the software that comes with it, and restart. On a Mac, simply plug in the mic, then select System Preferences from the Apple menu or the Dock, select

        5. If you haven't already, create your Powerpoint slides.


        1. If your Powerpoint file is on a CD or a server, move it to a new folder created on your desktop, or within your documents folder. I've found that many people have difficulty figuring out where their files actually are after recording, and it helps if you put them all together to begin with. This also eliminates network slowdown issues when recording and playing back.

        2. Open the Powerpoint file. Select "Record Narration" from the Slide Show menu.
        3. Under "Sound Input device" select the Plantronics USB microphone from the pull-down menu.

        4. Recordnarration2
        5. Also select "Link Narrations" and choose the folder containing the Powerpoint file for the location of the linked narration files.

        6. When you click "Record," the presentation will start to play with the first slide. Begin narrating, and when you have finished with the first slide, click the mouse, or hit the spacebar to advance one slide. Continue with the text for the next slide. When you are done with all the slides, Powerpoint will ask you if you want to save the timings with the narration.


          To move the presentation to a laptop or CD, drag the entire project folder to the new location.

        For articles on web development, powerpoint and other topics, see The Designspace

        Posted by emeiselm at 07:55 PM | Comments (0)

        March 22, 2007

        SCORM in 5 minutes or less, with pictures!

        Disclaimer: This is intended only to provide only the most basic understanding of what SCORM is.

        SCORM (Shareable Content Object Reference Model) is a world-wide standard set of specifications for communication between elearning content and learning management systems.

        A learning module using SCORM version 1.2 can communicate the following:

        • the instruction to launch an elearning module and start communicating.
        • scoring and tracking information - student data, timing, lesson status, scores, interactions, "pass/fail"
        • proprietary information that only the module understands. The Learning Management System (LMS) stores and retrieves such data without understanding it.
        • bookmarking information
        • the instruction to close communication.

        Additionally, a manifest packaged with the module tells the LMS

        • what, if any, modules come next.

        Examples of messages conveyed by SCORM communication


        A SCORM-compliant learning module sends its data via client-side javascript to an "API Adapter" which relays it on to the LMS (MLearning).

        The API Adapter translates and relays commands to the LMS.

        An API adapter is simply a Java or flash object sitting somewhere in the browser window, often in a hidden frame. You can think of it as a translator between Javascript and whatever language the LMS understands.

        What are the minimum ingredients of a SCORM-compliant module?

        Learning Module and Manifest = minimum package

        To create the simplest scorm-compliant module, commands are added to key events in the module, such as when the page opens and closes, which tell the LMS to open or close a communication session, and to set the status of the lesson correctly.

        The LMS must have some way of knowing the structure of the course, and where to find the different pieces, so a "manifest" must be created for EVERY SCORM course. This is simply an xml file which details the course structure and which resources are associated with each piece of the structure.

        That's the basic idea behind SCORM: a common language that all LMS's and learning modules can use, so that modules can be shared and packaged in different ways. The key word is MODULAR! The same module can be used by itself or in combination with other modules, so there really should be no reference WITHIN a module to external modules that could change.

        For articles on web development, powerpoint and other topics, see The Designspace

        Posted by emeiselm at 12:02 PM | Comments (0)

        Tegrity's Campus 2.0

        The Tegrity's Campus 2.0 lecture recording system is a very interesting one, in that unlike many (most? all?) others, it does not require specialized hardware on the recording end. Where other vendors would have you install a recording appliance in every classroom (or have one that can be wheeled in on a cart), Tegrity only wants Active X installed on the machine (any machine) doing the recording. (There is a corresponding thin client for the Mac, but it's probably using something other than Active X :-))

        It works like that: a professor comes in with a laptop, installs the Active X (or has it already), goes to a URL for the recording server, types some metadata for the session (title, description, his/her name) and clicks "Start". (The metadata can be pre-filled and recordings scheduled in advance). After the recording (s)he can click "Stop" and choose to publish the recording. Rudimentary editing is available, so that awkward moments can be cut out.

        Since this is location-independent, it is also possible for someone to record a lecture from home, as long as a broadband connection to the server is available. The simplicity and flexibility of this system has no match in what I've seen so far in that space.

        [Note: pricing info removed by request from Tegrity... There is this old saying, rule-of-thumb: "If they don't show you the price, you can't afford it." :-)]

        True, the price goes down the next year, and we're likely to do more and more recordings, but still... At higher student counts (1,000 and more) the price per student goes down, so it might make sense to form a consortium of several departments, who would negotiate a substantial discount, purchase a larger license and share it. Again, the system does not care where the recording is made or by whom, and the server can sit anywhere.

        I will likely invite a Tegrity rep to do a demo of Campus 2.0 at SI on March 29 - if interested, drop me a note at wlodek@umich.edu.

        Posted by wlodek at 09:17 AM | Comments (0)

        March 07, 2007


        I apologize for having so many entries about tools - I honestly hope this will not become a "cool tools" blog. The trouble is, ever since my days with the Alliance for Community Technology (now defunct), where I developed a database of "social software" (now very outdated), I've been very interested in innovative tools for online learning and collaboration. Besides, I'm not currently involved in any exciting e-learning projects (sigh...), looking with considerable envy at the School of Public Health, which currently seems to be the most active place on this campus when it comes to pursuing e-learning initiatives. (Yes, I was hoping for some voluntary contributions to this blog from the innovators at SPH, but I may have to find the time to go and interview them. :-))

        Posted by wlodek at 10:20 PM | Comments (0)


        In my search for a good Content Management System (CMS) I stumbled upon Joomla! and the more I play with it, the more I like it. Installing it on a commercial, commodity host was a relative breeze (it is a MySQL/PHP combo, and most hosts support that). Installing it in-house (on our own server) wasn't very challenging, either. Compared to Drupal it seems much more intuitive. It is actually not that difficult to "figure things out" in Joomla!, without resorting to help files and tutorials. In Drupal I felt almost completely lost most of the time.

        There is a substantial community of developers behind Joomla!, which means that there are a lot of modules that can be added to the system. There is also a good selection of attractive templates, some free, some very reasonably priced (starting at mere $15).

        We're going to try and build a collaborative website for SI Computing using Joomla! - I will report on our experiences with the system. As of now I'm pretty impressed.

        Posted by wlodek at 09:55 PM | Comments (1)