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4 Places to Get Free Images for Your #Elearning Slides

I have been getting a lot of inquiries of late on using images, copyright issues to follow, etc.

There are of course various sites that offer images you can purchase for use with your online elearning content. For those on a budget, there are several places you can go online to get free images.

I am including the 4 we have used.

http://www.sxc.hu/
This is the one we use most often. It has a decent selection of images, and while it won’t give you the wide array of choices you have on pay-per-image sites, more times than not you will find a good image to use.

http://www.iconfinder.com/
We use this site quite a bit. Although it limits you to 128×128 images (which are actually ‘icons’), there are so many here, you will find yourself coming back here over and over again (we do).

Other Honorable Mentions

http://www.freepixels.com/ - used this site a few times when sxc.hu didn’t have what we needed. Worth a look
http://office.microsoft.com/en-us/images/
  - can’t mention images without this one. Lots of clipart here.

The Weblearning E-Learning System is a powerful, budget-friendly, easy-to-use Online E-Learning System for authoring, managing, and tracking online learning presentations and tests. To try it FREE,  go to the Weblearning E-Learning System Sign-up Form.

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PowerPoint to Weblearning Converter Plugin Now Available

Those of you who have Weblearning Pro or Enterprise systems, and have used the previous PowerPoint Converter tool, you may be interested to know about the new PowerPoint Converter Plug-in.

Complete information on the PowerPoint Converter Plugin (and all Weblearning plug-ins for that matter) is available here.

This plug-in is used to convert PowerPoint Presentation Slides into native Weblearning Slides. Minimally, this lets you get your PowerPoint presentations online without requiring your users to use the PowerPoint viewer application, and in this case, they don’t even need flash (as many PowerPoint converters turn the presentation into a flash video).

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This means that devices that do not support Flash (like iPhone, iPod, iPad, and many other mobile devices) will be able to view your presentations!

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This new version of the PowerPoint Converter has many improvements over the old one.

For starters, it is now a plug-in to your Weblearning system (although it still does have a desktop component to it).

It now also converts some basic PowerPoint Animation Effects (fly-in from top, bottom, left, and right, fade-in). In addition, you can also override effects (and add some of your own) during the conversion (changing effect type and speed, and configuring items to fade out or roll-up after the core effect has completed). There is a local preview of your converted slides (along with all animations) as well.

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The conversion accuracy is also vastly improved, so things like stylized and non-standard-font text, multiple text colors, bullet items, and more are nearly a 100% conversion.

If you would like to see it in action, you can sign up for a demo Weblearning account – then you will find the plug-in under the slides -> plugins tab.

The Weblearning E-Learning System is a powerful, budget-friendly, easy-to-use Online E-Learning System for authoring, managing, and tracking online learning presentations and tests. To try it FREE,  go to the Weblearning E-Learning System Sign-up Form.

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Using Dynamic Scripting in your Course Designs

Dynamic Scripting is a new feature in Weblearning 9.6. It is quite powerful, and as you may have guessed based on the feature name, it involves ‘scripting’ (coding).

However, there is a way to use the Dynamic Scripting feature without writing any code, and although you wont be able to get the full advantage by doing so, it is still quite useful.

Firstly, for those of you interested in learning more details on the Dynamic Scripting feature, swing over to the Weblearning Support Page’s Product Documentation section and download the Dynamic Scripting Reference.

Now for an example scenario that Dynamic Scripting would be useful. Lets say you have a 5-day course that is a combination of live training and after-class assignments. Each day, after 5pm, you would like to provide your class with access to some additional learning materials that are related to that day.

You could, of course, after each class, go into the course design area of your online course, and add/remove content. However, using Dynamic Scripting will automate the process for you, as I will explain next.

First, access the Design area of your course:

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This will open up the course designer. So our basic strategy is to set up 2 basic states of view (what to show if it is 5PM or later, and what to show otherwise). Then, in the section that is after 5PM, show different content for each day.

First, each block you insert will be inserted by clicking the EXTRAS drop-down menu and choosing Dynamic Block (Wizard):

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So, lets set up our 2 basic sections. Position your cursor at the top of the main section of the design editor (perhaps remove everything already there),  then click the EXTRAS > DYNAMIC BLOCK (WIZARD) option, and the Dynamic Block Wizard will appear. Fill in the wizard with the following (see screenshot below):

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After clicking INSERT DYNAMIC BLOCK, reposition your cursor below that section in  the editor area, and insert another dynamic block the same way using the following values (see screenshot below):

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If you have done those steps correctly, your design editor contents should look like this:

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So lets take care of the easy one first – the section that gets displayed if its not yet 5PM. For this example, I will just put a generic message:

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In the section that gets displayed after 5PM, we will actually have 5 different things that may get displayed (one for each weekday). So, to accomplish this, for each weekday, position your cursor inside the gray area of that section, and then click the EXTRAS > DYNAMIC BLOCK (WIZARD) option, and fill in the wizard with the following (but alter the day each time):

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After doing this for all 5 weekdays, your design editor contents should look like this:

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Now we can enter content for each area (for this example, I just entered text passages, but you could of course place specific learning modules, quizzes, videos and anything else inside each section to be displayed):

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The Weblearning E-Learning System is a powerful, budget-friendly, easy-to-use Online E-Learning System for authoring, managing, and tracking online learning presentations and tests. To try it FREE,  go to the Weblearning E-Learning System Sign-up Form.

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Question and Slide Entrance Effects

New in Weblearning 9.6 are question and slide effects. These are a simple set of effects you can apply to your content that may add some pizazz to your quizzes and presentations (or drive your users crazy if you over-do it).

Slides and questions each have slightly different options, but both are accessed by clicking the ADVANCED button along the top of the main content editor inside the question and/or slide editor:

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When working with slides, the effect applies to the entire slide content (although you can apply effects to sections and objects individually via JavaScript, it gets complex and is not as simple as simply picking from a drop-down box, and therefore is beyond the scope of this article). Simply choose the entrance effect from the drop-down list:

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When working with questions, separate effects can be applied to both the question text, and the answer/choice section. For each section, simply choose the entrance effect from the drop-down list:

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Behind the scenes, when you choose these effects, a bit of JavaScript code is getting written. If you do not know what JavaScript is, don’t worry – you don’t need to know. However, if you do know what JavaScript is, and know how to code using JavaScript, you can both see the code, as well as add to and/or modify it by clicking the OTHER tab, and then clicking the OPEN EDITOR button in the JavaScript Code section:

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Essentially, any code inside this section will execute each time this question or slide comes into view.

The Weblearning E-Learning System is a powerful, budget-friendly, easy-to-use Online E-Learning System for authoring, managing, and tracking online learning presentations and tests. To try it FREE,  go to the Weblearning E-Learning System Sign-up Form.

If you enjoyed this article please consider staying updated via RSS.

The Weblearning Master Login Feature

New in Weblearning 9.6 is the Master Login feature.

So what does this feature do exactly? Well, if you use your Weblearning system to create multiple courses, and your users are often enrolled into multiple courses, the Master Login feature was designed for you.

In a nutshell, the Master Login is a login page your users can access that (once logged in) will provide them access to all courses they are currently enrolled in. This prevents you from  having to hand out multiple login links (one for each course), or, from creating a ‘master course’ that is a course simply containing links to other courses (a common way to achieve the same thing in earlier versions of Weblearning).

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So here is how it works. You hand out a single link to each and every user to log into (which is a link to the master login page), and they will have access to all courses they are currently enrolled in, and as you add/remove them from courses, their login will reflect that.

The link is available from the COURSES tab inside your account:

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The link is actually very simple though.
Its http://your.site.com/user.php?ca=your_course_admin_username

The Weblearning E-Learning System is a powerful, budget-friendly, easy-to-use Online E-Learning System for authoring, managing, and tracking online learning presentations and tests. To try it FREE,  go to the Weblearning E-Learning System Sign-up Form.

If you enjoyed this article please consider staying updated via RSS.

Learning Presentations with Instant Feedback Questions

New in Weblearning 9.6 is the ability to include certain question types (currently multiple-option, true/false and yes/no) inside your authored presentations.

When you include questions inside presentations however, the operate a bit differently than they do inside of a quiz.

First, when a user first encounters a question inside a learning presentation, the navigation buttons will be disabled – thereby forcing them to choose an answer to the question.

Next, the user will receive feedback when they choose an answer:

  • if they choose wrong choice, the will get feedback telling them so, and then have the opportunity to choose another selection
  • if the choose the correct answer, they will get feedback telling them so, and then the navigation button(s) will be re-enabled so they can navigate to the next question or slide

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By default, the ‘instant feedback’ displayed to the user is a generic ‘you were correct, you were incorrect’ kind of message. However, you can author into each question a specific feedback for each choice if you choose by doing the following:

  1. edit (or add) a new question (that works inside learning presentations)
  2. click the OPTIONAL tab
  3. scroll down to the IMMEDIATE FEEDBACK RESPONSES section to apply responses

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The Weblearning E-Learning System is a powerful, budget-friendly, easy-to-use Online E-Learning System for authoring, managing, and tracking online learning presentations and tests. To try it FREE,  go to the Weblearning E-Learning System Sign-up Form.

If you enjoyed this article please consider staying updated via RSS.

Sending Weblearning Emails as HTML

As you are probably already aware, there are several places inside your Weblearning system that emails can be and/or are sent out:

  • Course Invitations
  • End-of-quiz report emails to admins
  • End-of-quiz report emails to users

By default, emails are sent as plain-text, and therefore the editors provided to you to change the contents of these emails are plain-text editors (no styling or sizing options like you get in, for example, the question editors). However, there is a way to force the emails to be sent out as HTML emails.

To do so, place the following tag at the beginning of each mail body:

<html>

When the email function inside your Weblearning system sees this tag in the body of the email, it will treat the body text as HTML markup instead of plain text.

It is important to realize that once you do this, all of the text is treated as HTML markup code. This opens up the opportunity to put formatting into your emails. For example, you can bold text (using <b> tags), change fonts, sizes, colors. You can also include hyperlinks and images – if you understand how to use the HTML markup tags for these items.

Here are some examples (there are thousands possibilities):

<b>this will be bold</b>
<em>this will be italicized</em>
<u>this will be underlined</u>
<font size=3>This will be sized text</font>
<font color=blue>This will be blue text</font>
<a href=’http://www.yoursite.com/somepage.htm’>This will be a hyperlink</a>
<h1>This will be header text (large)</h1>
<h2>This will be a bit smaller header text</h2>
<h3>This will be even smaller header text</h3>

.. And for an image …
<img src=’http://www.yoursite.com/someimage.jpg>

The Weblearning E-Learning System is a powerful, budget-friendly, easy-to-use Online E-Learning System for authoring, managing, and tracking online learning presentations and tests. To try it FREE,  go to the Weblearning E-Learning System Sign-up Form.

If you enjoyed this article please consider staying updated via RSS.

Weblearning 9.6 – More Previews

Well, its been a rough week up here in the northeast. The office is closed because we are getting hammered for the 2nd time in 4 days with 20+ inches of snow, so some of us (including yours truly) are working from home.

Given the circumstance, I decided to write about some more things you can look forward to in Weblearning 9.6.

Again, these are all added since my last article, and are my 10 favorites since the.

1. 100-module Limit is gone! Configurable # modules
If you have faced this limitation, you know how huge this is. All previous versions of Weblearning had a hard cap limit of 100 total modules (quizzes/presentations) per course admin account. Weblearning 9.6 changes that.While lite and basic plans will get less than 100 (thinking maybe 10 and 30 or something like that), Pro will start at 100 (and then you will be able to scale it up (for a small fee) to as many as you need (well, actually the limit is now 9,998).

2.  Improved Question Preview
The existing question preview does an OK job, but fails when your layout is complex. The new preview fixes that. In addition, the question preview is now available from the slides tab from within a quiz or presentation (so you can see the questions inside of a particular quiz), and even lets you compare the question in the quiz against the one in the databank if the two are not the same version#. Lastly, the preview now includes the choices section for questions!

3. Question and Slide Sharing
Weblearning currently has an on/off config for sharing questions and slides across multiple course admins. Unfortunately, its an all-or-nothing proposition (either all admims can view/edit/delete/use all other admins’ items, or they can’t). Weblearning 9.6 adds quite a bit of granularity. First, you can set the sharing on or off. Then, you can set parameters for whether or not the shared items can be MODIFIED or DELETED by others (or just viewed). Also, you can share/unshare items on an item-by-item basis, so you can have both private and shared items in your bank. So if you are using multiple course admins, this new system of sharing content should scale to any scenario you have.

4. Optional HTML styled Emails
All of the emails that get sent from Weblearning (like score report emails, and course invitations) are sent in plain-text format by default (which are the least likely to be flagged as spam). However, many of you were asking for HTML email abilities. To accommodate both scenarios, you can now simply enter in the tag <html> into the template sections for each email, and they will be treated/sent as HTML.

5.  Print Quiz Function
You will now be able to print off a quiz from inside the quiz properties.The print function even reformats matching and picklist questions so they print properly.

6.  Massive overhaul of the Files section
This is a huge one – and after using this new version, will wonder how you ever got by before. If you incorporate a lot of content into your online courses (like images, videos, pdfs, etc), you will love the new files area. There are quite honestly too many things to mention here, but here are some highlights. Full file sharing abilities across admins, create your own folders and nested folders, perform searches for files, upload multiple files at once, and check the usage of any file. Also, when adding content into your courses, quizzes and questions/slides, you can add right from your computer (instead of having to upload first), so in one click you can browse for a file from your computer and insert it into your course quiz or slide!

7. Add Questions into your Presentations + Instant Feedback
Currently, when you make a presentation in Weblearning 9.5, you are limited to just ‘slides’ — no question types can be used. This has changed in 9.6, where now you are able to add multiple-option, true/false and yes/no style questions into presentations. When these questions exist in a presentation, they operate a bit differently than in a quiz. When inside a presentation, when a question is delivered, the navigation is locked (so user cannot advance), and then they are forced to pick a choice. When they pick one, they are instantly notified if they were correct or not (along with feedback you can enter for each individual choice if you want). It is only when they answer correctly that the navigation is re-enabled.

8. Per-Slide/Question Animations and Slide Navigation Settings
Slides get two new settings – entrance animation (fly-in from top/bottom/left/right slow/medium/fast), and navigation settings (lock navigation for 5 seconds to 10 minutes (to force users to spend a certain amount of time per slide/per presentation), and and auto-advance to next slide setting so you can auto-advance them from slide to slide without them having to click anything). Questions get the same entrance animation options, but the question text and choices section can each have its own animation setting (so for example, you can have the question text fly in from the right, and the choices section fly in from the bottom).

9. Per Slide/Question JavaScript Code
A bit of a more advanced piece of functionality, but for those of you who can write Javascript, you can now write code that will execute upon a slide/question being delivered. Of course, the entire Javascript language is supported, and in addition, you have full access to the Prototype and Scriptaculous framework, and well as the jQuery framework!

10. Quiz-Level Plugins
I have talked about the plugin architecture in the other articles, but we just recently implemented this into Quizzes and Presentations. What it means is that you can incorporate plugins (code) into presentations and quizzes too, making them much more scalable.

If you are a current user of Weblearning 9.5, and are interested in a demo account on the beta server, email me at anthony @ atrixware.com and I will get you set up.

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Weblearning 9.6 Photo Gallery

As I sit snowed in to my home office on a Saturday, I figured I would post some screen shots of the new Weblearning 9.6 interface. Note that these are screen captures of the in-development build of Weblearning 9.6, so some minor things may change, but if you are using 9.5 now, you will notice major changes (and improvements) to the interface, while still maintaining the same ‘feel’ of 9.5.

So this will be a photo-only article (no captions, no comments), but I made sure to put a few screens in here that show new features that I have not yet posted about – hope you like it!

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Weblearning 9.6 Sneak Peek

It has been about a month since I last posted the first sneak peek on Weblearning 9.6. As promised, I wanted to tell you about some more things that will make it into the 9.6 release.

As before, there’s quite a bit, so I have to be somewhat selective to keep this article short.

Here are my favorite new features since last post:

1. 10-category-rule limit removed for question and slide picking

Currently (in version 9.5), you can create up to 10 ‘rules’ to pick questions, something like “Pick 5 questions from category 1“, and then “Pick 3 questions from category 2“, etc. Once you hit 10, that’s it. Now, there is no limit, thanks to the new wizard block functionality.

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2. You can now also include individually selected questions

That’s right. You can pick individual questions one-by-one and place them into your quiz or presentation. Looking to create a quiz with 10 specific questions? Not a problem anymore.

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3. Your quizzes and presentations can be a mixture of BOTH individually-selected and randomly-selected questions and slides.

For example, you can set your quiz up to pick 3 specific questions, and also 10 random questions from category 1, and 3 questions in sequence from category 2, and then 5 more specific questions!

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4. You can easily drag & drop each question and selection block into the exact order you want in the quiz

For example, it is now possible to do this: Show a section introduction slide, followed by 5 learning slides on a topic, followed by 3 random questions about that topic, followed by a text passage, followed by 5 random questions about that text passage. The question and quiz building abilities of Weblearning 9.6 are far superior to what you are using in 9.5. Watch the short video clip to see it in action:

5. True republishing functionality

One of the big feature requests – the ability to republish a quiz or presentation without losing any settings. Its here. Here is how it works. You update some questions in your question bank – and then you want the updates to propagate into your quiz. So you simply click the CREATE OR REPUBLISH A QUIZ, then pick the quiz you want to republish, and then click PUBLISH! Thats it! Questions/question rules are remembered, and all settings as well. Of course, you can also swap out a few questions, change the order around, etc before republishing if you choose.

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6. Auto-link Modules to Courses

When you are in COURSE DESIGN view, and adding placeholders for individual modules that do not yet exist in the course, Weblearning 9.6 will detect it, and ask you if you want to automatically link those modules to the course, saving you the extra steps of manually adding them.

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7. Question Editors Revamped

All question editors have been re hauled for easier use, and a few of them (like multiple-choice and matching) get a few new usability features.

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8. User Groups

A lot of work has gone into making user (formerly named student) management easy. One new feature is the ability to create user groups, and then place users into them. Then its as easy as 1-2-3 to do things like enrolling/dis-enrolling groups of users, changing user information across all users in a group (like start/expire dates, or custom field values for example), and more.

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9. User Data Placeholders available just about everywhere now

Previously, you had access to a user’s login id in all places that use placeholders. Now, wherever you have access to the user id placeholder, you also have access to every other data field for that user (like name, address, company, etc, and even including the now 15 custom fields).

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10. Multi-User functions

The new search functionality for users (where you can, for example, list all students from COMPANY:Microsoft or that have an @aol.com email, or live in NJ, and dozens of others) also lets you APPLY functions to the resultant list of users. For example, if you wanted to CHANGE all users from COMPANY:Microsoft to be COMPANY:Apple, no problem. Or howimage011.jpg about DELETING all users from COMPANY:Microsoft, or maybe putting all users from COMPANY:Microsoft into a user group named MICROSOFT EMPLOYEES or enrolling all of them into the WINDOWS 101 Course. No problem!

11. Automated Tasks

The new plugin architecture (mentioned in my previous article) will work with another new feature – tasks. A task is a script that runs automatically 1x per day (or you can initiate it manually from your course admin panel). The script can do anything you want (by default it does nothing, but it is designed to run plugin-scripts). What does it all mean? Well, for example, lets say you wanted to have a report run 1x per day that tells you which users were active? Or you wanted to automate the emailing of a score report to a particular person. As long as you can write the plugin to do the work (or have us write it for you), the tasks function will run the script!

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There are a few more MAJOR items that are planned for the release that I can’t comment on yet (because they are not fully finished), but I can assure you, there’s some other cool new stuff to be part of version 9.6 that you will love!

I will try to get in another post in about a month with another list.

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Weblearning 9.6 Teaser

We have been hard at work on the next update to Weblearning – version 9.6.

We are still a few months or more away from release (it’s scheduled for a Q1 2010 release), but there are so many new and cool things that will wind up in this new update, I thought I would mention a few.

There are actually around 100 new features and changes planned for version 9.6 (many based on your suggestions and requests since 9.5 was released in January 2009), but I will only cover the ones that are almost guaranteed to be in the final release (meaning they are done already and working), and from those, I will only mention a few (just my favorite ten ~ although almost 50 new features and changes are done so far).

#1. Auto-Save Progress
This is a big one ~ and what it means is that when your students are inside online quizzes and presentations, their progress is auto-saved (at pre-determined intervals which you can specify). If they lose connection, or have a power failure, this feature will be a lifesaver!

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#2. Timezone and Display Settings
You can now assign a timezone override to the server time so reports will have the time and date based on your time zone. This also includes the ability to customize time/date output (so for example, you can display dates like this: 12/25/2009 or like this 12-25-09 or like this December 25, 2009 or like this Friday, December 25, 2009 (or really any way you want).

#3: Copy Courses / Rename Courses
Two seemingly simple features, missing until now – but will be available in 9.6

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#4. Course Templates
Do you use the same Course layout and configuration for every course you create, but are tired of having to edit each new courses with your same desired content? Course Templates will enable you to set up a course template so each course you create will use it by default!

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 #5. Placeholders can now be Dragged & Dropped
When inserting placeholder text into your emails, page layouts, etc, all of the placeholders can now be dragged & dropped into place, making it a snap!

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#6. Intellectual Property Protection
Lock down your content and apply preventative measures to deter users from stealing your content ~ it’s as simple as selecting YES to enable the protection!

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#7: Multiple Admin Passwords
Do you want to assign someone to do just authoring of questions, and someone else to pull reports? Version 9.6 enables you to assign up to 4 additional passwords to your account, and specify which areas of your account they can access!

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#8. Course Invitations Get Major Improvements
Re-use previous invitation body texts and subjects (they are automatically saved), track who was already invited and who wasn’t, and even pull up the exact email invitation that was sent to each person, along with time and date.

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#9. Student Search Functions
Finding students couldn’t be easier. Search by any field (including up to 15 custom fields now in version 9.6), or ALL fields, or by UserGroup (new in 9.6), or course they are enrolled in. Exporting and deleting can be applied to the results.

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#10.  User Master Login
Want to send your students to a single login to access all of their courses (instead of having them log into each course individually)? Version 9.6 offers the master login page.

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#11. Expandable Plug-in Architecture
Ok – I cheated, and added an 11th one to the list (couldn’t resist). The new plug-in system is a huge addition to Weblearning. It has a plug-in system for the course admin interface (shown in image below ~ see the PLUGIN tab), as well as the course portal interface , and is the gateway to dozens of add-on components in the years to come, in addition to making it easy for us to add in customized functionality to your server without having to modify core files. It also makes it possible to incorporate other web components and applications into your courses that are not designed specifically for Weblearning.

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As you may have realized, this new update is a massive release, not to mention a rehaul of the visual interface (we are constantly cleaning it up and trying to make it more usable). Of course as a Weblearning user, you get it FREE!

I will be back in a month or two with another list of my next favorite 10 things as we approach the release date. Thanks!

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Adding Audio Narrations to Questions and Slides

In the latest patch to the Weblearning 9.5 LMS, we added (among other things) the ability to add audio narrations to your quiz questions and/or presentation slides as part of the new Text Editor Plugins Toolbar.

To begin, first record and then upload  your audio narrations into the FILES tab (note: make sure the narrations are in MP3 format). Once the mp3 files are uploaded into your account, you will easily be able to attach them to your questions or slides (as I will describe next).

For this example, I am adding a new Presentation Slide, and have entered some basic text (as shown):

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Next, click the TEXT EDITOR PLUGINS button:

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From the Plugins window, choose INSERT AUDIO:

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The audio plugin will appear. Simply choose the mp3 file to insert, and check/uncheck the AUTOPLAY checkbox, and choose the color of the player (keep it at auto-color for maximum compatibility with all the different skins you may apply to your quiz or presentation).

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Once you click the INSERT button, an identifying region will appear on the slide (or question) along the top:

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Go ahead and SAVE the slide, and then publish a presentation that includes this slide (and add to a course, etc). Once you view the presentation (as a student would), here is what it will look like:

blog9.png

Note the audio play bar along the bottom left of the presentation. It contains a Play/Pause button, and a moving bar indicating how far along the audio is from the end. If you have set it to auto-play (as I did in this example), the audio will begin playing when the slide is in view. Otherwise, the user can start the audio by clicking the PLAY button (which turns into a PAUSE button when the audio is playing).

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Creating a Custom Design Template for PowerPoint Quiz Maker

The newest version of Atrixware PowerPoint Quiz Maker uses design templates for the resultant presentation. For the most part, the included templates are usable, but with just a bit of work, you can create your own, and add in your own logo, graphics, font sizes, and transition FX (as a small example).

To start, browse to the templates folder:

In Windows XP, its usually here:
C:\Documents and Settings\All Users\Application Data\atrixware\PowerPoint Quiz Maker 9\shared\ppt templates\

In Windows Vista, it’s usually here:
C:\ProgramData\Atrixware\PowerPoint Quiz Maker 9\shared\ppt templates\

You should see the following folders (or something similar):

7-10-2009-3-31-14-pm.png

Now, COPY a folder (I will use PLAIN in this example), and then PASTE it so there is a new folder ..

7-10-2009-3-32-59-pm.png

Rename the new folder to CUSTOM1 (or whatever you would like):

7-10-2009-3-34-34-pm.png

Now, double-click on the folder to open it, and you will see the following files:

7-10-2009-3-35-35-pm.png

The preview.gif file is what you see in PowerPoint Quiz Maker when you choose the design template. If you have a graphic editor, you can change this to whatever you desire. For this example, we will use the default preview.

The other 5 files are used by PowerPoint Quiz Maker when it creates the PowerPoint quizzes. You can modify one, or all of these files inside of PowerPoint. The important thing is to NOT remove any elements already there, or the quiz may not work properly (but you can certainly ADD elements and MOVE elements around).

For this article, I will modify the q_slide1.ppt, which represents the slide that contains the question text, and choices for questions that do not have an image (for questions with an image, the q_slide1_image.ppt is the template). So, double-click on the q_slide1.ppt file, and it will open in PowerPoint.

Once open, you can do whatever you normally do in PowerPoint (change locations of text objects, change font sizes, colors, and styles, add some graphics and perhaps a background, assign transition FX, etc). Shown below is a before and after of the q_slide1.ppt file I did:

7-10-2009-3-43-53-pm.png

7-10-2009-3-54-29-pm.png

I also added an entrance effect to the question text and choices by selecting each one (6 total fields) and then right-clicking and choosing CUSTOM ANIMATION ..

7-10-2009-3-56-26-pm.png

.. and then choosing ADD EFFECT > ENTRANCE > FLY IN ..

7-10-2009-3-58-01-pm.png

Once you have the slide the way you like it, SAVE it, and if necessary, perform edits on the other files as well. Once complete, you will see your template as an available option from the PowerPoint Publish Dialog from inside of PowerPoint Quiz Maker:

7-10-2009-4-03-04-pm.png

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Emailing a Web Quiz

Easy Quiz Maker 9 makes it very easy to email a quiz to a recipient (or multiple recipients).

First, a checklist of what you will need

1. Easy Quiz Maker 9
2. Microsoft Outlook (2000 or better)

Assuming you have already created a web quiz inside of Easy Quiz Maker, the next step is to highlight the web quiz you want to email, and then click the EMAIL button on the ribbon toolbar (shown below):

4-3-2009-11-44-40-am.png

This will bring up the email form:

2.png

You will notice that I ..

1. entered multiple recipients in the ‘to’ field — which can be done by using a semicolon in between each recipient.
2. I Blind Carbon-Copied (BCC) myself so I will receive the same email.
3. I changed the default email message (which by the way, now becomes the default message until I change it again).

Here is the email I received:

4.png

As you can see, the quiz is sent as an attachment (quiz.htm).

Now, when sending a quiz via email, there are a few things worth knowing:

1. The emailed quiz cannot contain any images ~ it it does, the images do not get sent with the quiz
2. The recipient must be able to receive attachments

If you are wondering if you can collect the responses/scores of the quiz, the answer is YES, as long as you have configured the quiz to use the Atrixware QMS to receive the student responses.

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Introducing Flash Quiz Maker

Atrixware Flash Quiz Maker 2009 is designed to let you create a variety of different kinds of Flash Quizzes. It will be released in October of 2008 (it’s in beta testing as I write this — if you are interested in participating, please email me at anthony at atrixware.com).

image016.jpg

It shares the same authoring interface as our other quiz maker products (like Easy Quiz Maker, Online Quiz Maker, and Test Pro Developer), and shares a common import/export format for multiple-choice questions (so you can, for example, use your questions across all products).

Just as a teaser (and a sneak peek), I have published off a few example flash quizzes. Note that these operate on a web server, although Atrixware Flash Quiz Maker 2009 can produce CD-Rom quizzes as well.

Example 1: Study Mode
This example flash quiz lets you pick the categories of questions you want to view – very similar to the way you can from a test created with Test Pro Developer (although in this case, its being viewed online). It also has some other ‘study mode’ features like Test Pro Developer tests, such as a ‘show answer’ button, ‘show reference’, and more. Click Here to View Example 1 Quiz

Example 2: Simulation Mode
This example flash quiz uses question pooling — it randomly picks 3 questions (from a question pool of 5 in this case).  It has the ‘study mode’ functions disabled (and operates more like a real quiz). It is also configured to ask you for your name and email before you begin. Aah – and it also uses a different ‘skin’ (which you have full control over by the way). Click Here to View Example 2 Quiz

Look for news on the release date in October 2008, and once again, if you are interested in participating in the beta, please email me at anthony at atrixware.com.

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Export into a PowerPoint Quiz

One of the new features in Test Pro Developer 9 is the ability to export test questions (multiple choice and true/false) into PowerPoint.

A small note – this export works only if you have PowerPoint installed on your system.

To begin, select a test, and then click the EXPORT option on the task panel:

image1.png

Choose the PowerPoint Export option from the list:

image2.png

The PowerPoint Quiz Properties screen will appear:

image3.png

From here, you will be able to configure various settings for the output, such as design template, prefixing, response text, and a few others.

Spend a few minutes configuring the export, and then click the CONTINUE button once you have it set up. After a few seconds (or minutes if you have a lot of questions), the slides will appear inside of PowerPoint.

In my example shown below, I choose the ‘green fade’ design template:

image4.png

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Weblearning Rich Text Editor Tips

If you are using Weblearning version 9 or later, you have probably noticed the ‘rich text editor’ all over the entry forms. You use it to enter quiz questions, presentation slides, course layouts, response pages, and more.Chances are, you have used it to do simple markup such as bolding the text, changing the size, and perhaps even changing a color. However, there is quite a bit more you can do with this editor (actually too much to mention in a single article).

For this article, I will be focusing on the ‘Text Editor Plug-ins’ panel, and covering a few things in there that you may find useful.

The ‘Text Editor Plug-ins’ can be accessed using the button immediately beneath the editor text area:

image0011.jpg

Clicking on the button expands the plug-ins available on your account:

image0021.jpg

The general rule to follow is this. Before insterting/adding anything from the plug-ins section, make sure you position your cursor at the exact position you would like the content to appear.

Add a Popup Message

If you want to add a link that, when clicked, displays a popup message (like this one – click here), position your cursor in the exact place you want the link to appear (in the text area), then click the POPUP MESSAGE button (in the Miscellaneous section). Fill out the prompts.

Add a Print Link

If you want to add a link that, when clicked, prints the current page, or question, or report, position your cursor in the exact place you want the link to appear (in the text area), then click the PRINT LINK button (in the Miscellaneous section). Fill out the prompts

Add a Link to a Slide (or Question)

If you are authoring a quiz question or a presentation slide, and are using the navigational-style layout (where each question or slide appears on a separate page, and users navigate using back/next buttons), you can enhance the functionality by inserting links that go to the next, previous, or even a specific slide (or question). To do so, click the corresponding NEXT PREV or LINK TO SLIDE buttons, and fill out the prompts.

Here is a screen capture of what I did using the above methods:

image0051.jpg

In a future article, I will discuss some other options not covered here (I suspect it may take 5 or 6 articles to touch on everything available).

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A Quick Fill-in-the-blank Regex Answer Tester

If you are using any of our quiz authoring products (including Weblearning, Test Pro Developer, or our Quiz Maker product line), the fill-in-the-blank questions have a feature that lets you enter in answers that can accept multiple variations as the correct answer. This is accomplished using JavaScript Regular Expressions.

However, when authoring in the Weblearning system, it’s a bit of a pain to have to create the ‘correct answer’, publish the quiz, test it out, go back and modify the correct answer, republish, etc etc. Therefore, bookmark this article, and use the form below to test your ‘correct answer’ against the possible student answers – it will save you a lot of time.

Correct Answer (regex)
Student Answer

For more information on how to use regular expressions, do a Google lookup for ‘javascript reglular expressions’.

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Creating Dynamic Questions and Answers

Did you know that if you are distributing ELearning Packaged Tests or using the LAN based testing components, you can create question text and choices that contain dynamic (changing) values?

Here is a simple example. Consider this Quiz Question:

Dave has 2 apples. Jane has 1 apple. How many apples do they have total?

Suppose we want to change the names each time. Suppose we want to change the TOTAL # apples each time. We can do both – so let’s get started.

First, go to the question wizard, and pick BASIC STYLES > MULTIPLE RESPONSE:

image0011.jpg

Click ADD QUESTION, and the Question entry wizard will appear. Enter the question text, and (for this example) 4 choices:

image0021.jpg

Click NEXT (to save the question), and then close the Question Wizard form. Your new question should be listed in the question list.

Now, if you want the names Dave and Jane to be dynamic (meaning, they will be different each time), first double-click the question to open it up in the Question Editor, click the VIEW CODE tab, and click APPLY. When you click APPLY, you will be able to enter some PowerScript code. This is where we will define the ‘pool’ of names we will use. Enter the following code:

' Set Up Name Choices and Variables
ExecuteGlobal("Dim name1, name2")
'
' Create Possible Names
name1_choices = Array("Bob", "Dave", "Steve", "Joe")
name2_choices = Array("Alice", "Jane", "Mary", "Lisa")
'
' Pick a Randon Name for Each One
For i = 0 To Second(Time)
name1 = name1_choices( int(rnd(1)*4) )
name2 = name2_choices( int(rnd(1)*4) )
Next

image0041.jpg

Now, click the QUESTION/CHOICES tab, and click the FULL EDITOR button. Highlight the word Dave in the editor, and then click the INSERT DYNAMIC VALUE button:

image0061.jpg

Enter name1 into the blank and click OK. Notice that the name Dave has been replaced with <%name1%>.

image0081.jpg

Follow the same steps for Jane (highlight Jane, click insert dynamic value) – this time enter in the phrase name2 and click OK. Your question should look as follows:

image0091.jpg

Click SAVE on the FULL EDITOR, and you will be returned back to the Question Wizard. Now click the PREVIEW QUESTION tab and then click COMPILED PREVIEW. If you do it a few times, you should see that the names change each time:

image011.jpg

Changing the ANSWER is a bit more complex. The reason is, we need to make sure that each of the incorrect/detractor answers are never the same value as the correct answer. In our example, we have used the values 2, 5, and 7 as detractor values, so we never want those values to be the correct value.

Keeping that in mind, let’s go back to the code editor (VIEW CODE tab), and modify the code as follows:

' Set Up Name Choices and Variables
ExecuteGlobal("Dim name1, name2, value1, value2, correct_value")
'
' Create Possible Names
name1_choices = Array("Bob", "Dave", "Steve", "Joe")
name2_choices = Array("Alice", "Jane", "Mary", "Lisa")
value1_choices = Array(2,3,4,5)
value2_choices = Array(6,7,8,9)
'
' Pick a Randon Name for Each One
For i = 0 To Second(Time)
name1 = name1_choices( int(rnd(1)*4) )
name2 = name2_choices( int(rnd(1)*4) )
value1 = value1_choices( int(rnd(1)*4) )
value2 = value2_choices( int(rnd(1)*4) )
Next
'
' Set Correct Value
correct_value = value1 + value2

Next, go to the QUESTION/CHOICES tab. You can (if you want) go to the FULL EDITOR and replace the numbers using the INSERT DYNAMIC DATA button like I showed you previously when you did it for the names, or, you can just type it in. Either way the end result should look as follows:

<%name1%> has <%value1%> apples. <%name2%> has <%value2%> apples. How many apples do they have total?

Since we are changing the values, we also need to make the ‘correct answer‘ dynamic. To do this, click the CHOICES A-H tab, and change the correct answer from ‘3‘ to <%correct_value%>.

image015.jpg

Our code will calculate the ‘correct-value’, and place it here.

Once again, click PREVIEW QUESTION and then COMPILED PREVIEW. Doing it several times will yield various names and values each time.

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Creating Animated Text in Menu Maker

It’s relatively simple to create some animated text using Menu Maker  (if you know the code). This short project should be a great starting point for you.First, open up Menu Maker, and create a new Blank Project (once you understand this concept, you can apply to your existing projects).

Add a Text Label component (keep the name as Label1), and then configure it (for this example) to CENTER alignment, font size of 16, SOLID background style (I chose BLACK as the color), and change the caption color to WHITE.

image001.jpg

Resize the label component on the form to stretch the entire width (similar to my example below):

image002.jpg

Now get to the GLOBAL CODE area (in the example here, I am using CD Menu Maker):

image003.jpg

Click the CODE EDITOR button:

image004.jpg

Enter in the following code:

Dim Start
Dim ScrollText
Dim ScrollTimer

image005.jpg

Now go to the LOAD event of the form (as shown):

image006.jpg

Enter in the following code:

Start = 0
ScrollText = “Enter the text you want to scroll here”
Set ScrollTimer = frmCanvas.Controls.Add(“PSA.AutoEvent”, “ScrollTimer”)
ScrollTimer.Interval = 250
ScrollTimer.RoutineToCall = “AnimateText”

image007.jpg

Note the line of code that starts with “ScrollText =” defines the text that will be animated. Simply enter in the text you want inside the quotes.

You can also change the speed – the line that is ‘ScrollTimer.Interval = 250” is the code that defines the speed. A speed of 1 is the fastest, 1000 is 1 letter animated each second, up to 32,767 (which is agonizingly slow).

Now, click the button along the top of the code (where is says Sub On_frmCanvas_Load()), and choose “Add a New Sub, Function, or Class“:

image008.jpg

For Name of Routine, enter AnimateText, then click OK:

image009.jpg

Now enter the following code:

Start = Start + 1
If Start > Len(ScrollText) Then
ScrollTimer.Interval = 0
End If

Label1.Caption = left(ScrollText, Start)

image010.jpg

Preview your project to see the animated text.

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Embedding HTML Documents & Web Pages into your Online Courses

Do you have a web page you would like to render inline into one of your online course pages (or perhaps right into a quiz question)? How about an HTML document you have uploaded into your Weblearning account – do you have a need to render that inline into your course without requiring your student to click a button or link to open it?

Let me show you the basics here. In this example, I am going to render the Atrixware home page into the main tab of a course.

First go into your course Properties (COURSES > ADMIN TOOLS > PROPERTIES & SETTINGS):

image001.jpg

Click the LAYOUT & DESIGN tab, and then click TAB 1. Position the mouse cursor where you want to place the document (just click somewhere in the layout), and then click the INSERT HTML button on the toolbar:

image002.jpg

Doing so will bring up a place to enter in HTML markup code (see below):

image003.jpg

As you can see, I have entered code (which you should also enter). Note that where you see our website address, simply change to YOUR website address or document you want to render. Here is the code so you can copy/paste:

<iframe src=”http://www.atrixware.com” frameborder=”yes” height=”400″ width=”100%”></iframe>

Click OK, and then save the changes to the course. Go ahead and login as the student, and you will see your website/document inline on the course tab (my example is shown here):

image004.jpg

Now, assume you have uploaded an HTML document into your online Weblearning account, and would like to render it. The trick to this is actually knowing the URL of your file. This is obtainable in two ways.

If you know your server name, and your account login name, and the filename, the url is derived like this:

http://{SERVERNAME}/lms/{ACCOUNTNAME}/qc_imagerep/{FILENAME}

What if you don’t know all of that? The TEXT EDITOR PLUGINS can lend a hand. Click the TEXT EDITOR PLUGINS button, and in the INSERT RESOURCE section, pick your file, and click INSERT LINK:

image005.jpg

Next, click the HTML tab (shown above) so you can view the source code. Locate the code just inserted (you may want to insert into a blank tab so you won’t have to go through a bunch of other source code as I have in the example above). You will wee the URL of the file right after the window.open code (in the example, I have highlighted the URL). This is the URL of your resource.

Now that we have that, we can insert it inline on our course tab. Following a similar process as we did before, get yourself up to the place where you enter the HTML code, and enter the following (in this example, I have removed the border from the document to make it appear as if it is part of the page):

<iframe src=”http://pro.weblearningcenter.net/lms/atrixware_tech/qc_imagerep/sample.html” frameborder=”no” height=”400″ width=”100%”>

Save the changes, and log back into the course. This time, you can see in my example, there is no distinguishing the actual contents of the course tab from the embedded document (other than the red box I added to the screen shot to identify to you here the embedded content – which you will not see on yours):

image006.jpg

All of this is possible via the <iframe> html tag. It enables you to place a ‘frame’ into your page, and inside that frame, to render another web page or document.

For more information on usage of this html element, including how to change the size, border, scrollbars, css styling, and more, start here: http://www.w3.org/TR/html401/present/frames.html#h-16.5

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Place Answer Hints in Your Online Quizzes

I was recently working on a Weblearning migration, and I noticed someone had come up with an interesting way to include ‘hints’ inside their questions – they placed a link inside the question that said something like ‘click here to view a hint’, and the link opened up a JavaScript pop-up window with an html page that had the hint text, along with some graphics in some cases.

It got me thinking to how you can use Weblearning to do that without having to build additional html pages. It’s actually relatively simple to do, but perhaps just a tad technical for some. I still thought it was worth writing about, so here goes.

Step 1: The fist step is to write your questions as you normally do.

Step 2: Immediately below your quiz question text (or perhaps even inside of it somewhere), enter the phrase “Click Here for the Hint” (or something similar) – we will be turning that text into a link that shows the hint in a bit.

Step 3: Begin your hint text/graphic area – this will wind up being hidden in the quiz. Add (somewhere in your hint) the phrase “close hint” – this will be turned into a click-able link that will close the hint.

image0015.jpg

Step 4: To turn your phrase “click here for the hint” into a clickable phrase that opens up the hint, click the HTML tab (along the bottom of the editor), and locate the phrase in the html source code. TIP: you can make the code window larger by dragging the bottom-right re-sizer.

image0025.jpg

As you can see in the highlighted code, I have surrounded the phrase “click here for the hint” with some html code. This code can almost be a copy/paste scenario (you just copy/paste it into every question). The only thing you need to change is the ‘q1hint‘ part – each ‘hint’ is given a name (in this example, q1hint), and the link to SHOW and HIDE the hint both need to reference that particular reference (name) so the code knows which one to show/hide.

So, here is the code you can copy/paste into your questions (just change the q1hint each time):

<a href=”Javascript:;”
onclick=”document.getElementById(‘q1hint’).style.display=’block’;”>

Click here for the hint
</a>

Step 5: Staying inside the source code, locate the section that represents your hint. Once you have found that, simply place the following line of markup code immediately before it (again, the q1hint will need to be changed for each question):

<div class=”hint” id=”q1hint”>

Then, immediately after the hint section, place this line of code:

</div>

image0035.jpg

Step 6: Much like we turned the SHOW HINT link to show the hint, we need to add code to the CLOSE HINT phrase as well. This code can also almost be a copy/paste scenario (you just copy/paste it into every question). Just as before, the only thing you need to change is the ‘q1hint‘ part – each ‘hint’ is given a name (in this example, q1hint), and the link to SHOW and HIDE the hint both need to reference that particular reference (name) so the code knows which one to show/hide.

So, here is the code you can copy/paste into your questions (just change the q1hint each time):

<a href=”Javascript:;” onclick=”document.getElementById(‘q1hint’).style.display=’none’;”>
Close Hint
</a>

Step 7: Save your question, and publish a quiz with the question in it. You can also go ahead and add it to a course if you want (so you will be able to try it out).

Step 8: Go to the Modules Tab, and click the PROPERTIES option.

image0053.jpg

Once there, click the ADVANCED tab, then scroll down to the EXTRA CSS section, and enter in the following code:

.hint {
position:absolute;
left: 0pt;
top: 0pt;
width: 100%;
height: 100%;
background-color: #eee;
display: none;
}

image0073.jpg

Now go ahead and test out the quiz.

Here is a screen capture of the quiz before the hint is shown (with the ‘click here for the hint’ link):

image0081.jpg

.. And here is the quiz showing the hint:

image0091.jpg

Admittedly, it is a bit technical, but once you have done one or two of these, it is extremely easy to apply to all of your questions.

I hope many of you find this is helpful -

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How to Use Certificates with Your Online Quizzes

The Online Quiz Certificates functionality in Atrixware Weblearning 9 is a major improvement on previous versions in many ways. In this article, I will attempt to cover everything you need to know about them.

Note that you can customize the certificate for each online quiz from the MODULES > PROPERTIES > ADVANCED SETTINGS tab. Each online quiz can have its own certificate content and layout (this is true for the BASIC, PRO and ENETRPRISE plans).

image0024.jpg

When a student completes an online quiz, a certificate is generated and is then stored in electronic format in to the database. There are various ways to ‘get to’ that certificate. There are ways you (as the administrator) can retrieve it, and also many ways the student can get to it.

I will discuss each one in this article:

Let your student print the certificate after they pass the online quiz

If you want to enable your students to access/print the certificate for the online quiz immediately after they pass, chances are your online quiz is already configured to allow that. To check, click MODULES > PROPERTIES > ADVANCED SETTINGS, scroll down to the PASS/COMPLETE RESPONSE setting, and make sure the placeholder [[[CERTIFICATE]]] appears somewhere in the content.

image0034.jpg

This will enable your students to print a certificate right from the response page when they complete the quiz.

Let your student print the certificate from an email

If you want to enable your students to access/print the online quiz certificate from an email, you can configure the student response for the online quiz to include a link to the certificate.

To make sure your account has student emails enabled, click the ACCOUNT tab and make sure you have the “student email mode” setting configured to be “Yes Email Results..” (and click SUBMIT CHANGES).

image0043.jpg

Next, click MODULES > PROPERTIES > ADVANCED SETTINGS, scroll down to the STUDENT EMAIL TEMPLATE setting, and make sure the placeholder [[[CERTIFICATE]]] appears somewhere in the content.

image0052.jpg

As long as the student has an email address in the system, an email will be sent to them.

Let your student print the certificate from inside the course

If you want to enable your students to access/print the certificate from inside the course login, you simply need to modify the score report to show a certificate link. To do this, click the COURSES tab, then click ADMIN TOOLS next to the course that holds the online quiz, and then click PROPERTIES & SETTINGS.

image0062.jpg

Click the LAYOUT AND DESIGN tab. If you are using the default settings, the SCORE HISTORY is rendered on TAB 2 (although it can be rendered on any tab and in any place you choose). Assuming you are using the default, click TAB 2, and locate the placeholder [[[SCOREHISTORY]]]:

image0072.jpg

Delete the placeholder [[[SCOREHISTORY]]]. Next, click the INSERT A PLACEHOLDER button. When the placeholder popup window appears, click the “Insert Placeholder for All Other Dynamic Data” option, highlight “Placeholder for Extended Score History” from the list, and click INSERT >>.

image009.jpg

Click CLOSE, and you will be returned to the layout of TAB 2 – now with the new placeholder. Make sure you SAVE CHANGES. Now, when your student goes to the SCORE HISTORY tab (or whatever you have named it), they will be able to click a DETAILS button next to each score, and access the passing certificate (among other things):

image011.jpg

If you want to have the certificate link emailed to YOU

If you want the certificate link to be emailed to YOU each time an online quiz is complete, first click the ACCOUNT tab and make sure you have the “administrator email mode” setting configured to be “Yes Email Results..” (and click SUBMIT CHANGES).

image0044.jpg

Next, click MODULES > PROPERTIES > ADVANCED SETTINGS, scroll down to the ADMIN EMAIL TEMPLATE setting, and make sure the placeholder [[[CERTIFICATE]]] appears somewhere in the content.

image013.jpg

Pull up the certificate link from inside the Administrator Area

If you want to access the certificate from inside your Weblearning 9 account, you can access it from the REPORTS area in multiple ways. Here is one way. Click REPORTS > STUDENT LEVEL REPORTS and click on the student name.

image014.jpg

At the bottom of the report, click the VIEW link next to the online quiz you would like to get the certificate from:

image015.jpg

Assuming you have not modified the report template for your server, the link to the certificate will appear along the top of the report:

image016.jpg

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Add Visual Appeal to your Online Quizzes

The Atrixware Weblearning 9 System introduced a vast number of configurations for your online quizzes. One of the more ‘technical’ settings is the ability to apply CSS to your quizzes. CSS is an acronym for ‘Cascading Style Sheets‘, and is a technology used by web designers to make web sites look nice.

There are 1,000+ page books on the subject of CSS, so this article will not even scratch the surface, but I will show you an example of what you can do, and from there, you can research more if you find it appealing.

To get started, you will need to have an online quiz (practice quiz, or graded quiz) or online presentation already created. Go to the PROPERTIES of the quiz (click MODULES > PROPERTIES, and then click the ADVANCED SETTINGS tab).

image0014.jpg

Now scroll down just a bit to the “Extra CSS” section – this is where we will be adding our CSS.

image0023.jpg

Notice on the left, there are about a dozen items in blue (like .navigate, .q_essaytext, etc.). If you position your mouse over these items, a tooltip will appear with more information on what that item represents in the online quiz. For example, hover over the .navbutton item, and the tooltip says “style applied to back/next/end buttons“. This tells us that when we use this item, we are assigning properties to the navigational back, next, and end buttons.

Ok, so how to we apply a style to an item? Here is where it gets a tad technical, but its fairly easy for basic usage. Using the .navbutton as an example, we enter the item, followed by a space, then a ‘squiggly’ bracket like this:

.navbutton {

On each line below it, we enter in name/value pairs, and then finally, end it with a closing ‘squiggly’ bracket, like this:

.navbutton {
(all name/value pairs go in here)
}

For this example, let’s make some changes to the .navbutton item. To do this, I have placed a quiz into a course, and logged in as a student so I can access the quiz many times to view the changes (you will need to do the same if you want to view your changes in real time).

So, I have started with this template (from the skins included with Weblearning 9):

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And after applying some CSS, it looks like this (notice the change to the navigation buttons):

image0042.jpg

This is of course an extreme example (the buttons are very bright), but it’s quite a dramatic difference. Here is the code I wrote for the css:

.navbutton {
color: white;
font-size: 16pt;
font-weight: bold;
border: 4px solid white;
background-color: blue;
}

.. or as seen in the editor:

image0051.jpg

Now understand that there are an infinite number of name/value pairs, and the more you know about CSS, the more effective you will be at making these changes. I used some basic name/value pairs (like color, font-size, etc) that are reasonably easy to understand. Trust me when I say the complexity of this can get enormous, but the results you can achieve are astounding.

So, the key points I want you to take out of this article are:

1. You can use CSS to modify just about every element in your online quizzes
2. There are an almost infinite number of CSS name/value pairs (or put another way, an almost infinite things you can do to change the look of each element)
3. The more you know about CSS, the more effective you will be at making your online quizzes look great.

Another tip: since the online quizzes you create are html documents, you can also apply CSS to all HTML document elements as well (such as body, p, h1, div, and all other HTML document elements). I know – this sounds confusing, but for those of you pursuing more CSS knowledge, you will understand how powerful of a concept this is.

So I am hoping I have opened up a new door for you to explore. Here are a few links if you are interested in learning more about CSS:

http://www.w3schools.com/css/
http://www.davesite.com/webstation/css/

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How to Force Students to Take Your Quizzes in Order

The Weblearning Online Quiz System enables you to create courses that contain quizzes that must be taken in a specific order. By default, when you create a course, that functionality is turned ‘off’ (meaning quizzes you place into a course can be taken in any order).

However, you may have a requirement that students can only take ‘QUIZ B” after they have taken “QUIZ A”. The Weblearning System enables you to perform some fairly sophisticated logic, and covering all of the scenarios could make for an extremely long article, so for this example, I will show you how to place three quizzes into a course, and set up the course so that the student will have to PASS each quiz before taking the next one.

Fisrt you will need to place quizzes into numbered ‘slots’. You may have come across this when you published your quizzes in the past, and just ignored it (as you should have if you aren’t concerned about the order in which student take the quizzes). Since we are now concerned with this, the slot number is very important - as it defines the order in which the quizzes are ranked. For example, a quiz in slot #5 is ranked higher than one in slot #10. Therefore, if you have 3 quizzes in your course, the ‘order’ in which they must be taken are based on these slot numbers.

Understanding that, during the publishing of your quizzes, you will need to plan a bit how to order them. You may not necessarily be creating the quizzes in the same order as you want them delivered, for example.

image0012.jpg

As shown here, we are going to place each quiz into specific slots. I have “Quiz A”, Quiz B’ and “Quiz C”, and have placed them into slots 20, 21, and 22.

Next, I will create the course. I am calling it “ABC Course”. Set the option to require students to take quizzes/modules in order to YES:

image0022.jpg

Click the ADD button to add the course. Next, click the ADMIN TOOLS link next to the course and pick MODULES (ADD/REMOVE):

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Highlight each of the three quizzes one at a time (QUIZ A, QUIZ B and QUIZ C) and click the ADD button to add them to the course. Note that the order that they appear in the list is the order they will appear in the course – this is a good verification of whether your quizzes will be appearing in the order you expect. The slot # is represented in square brackets next to each quiz title as well.

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Make sure you click the SUBMIT CHANGES button.

Next, go to the MODULES tab. For each of the three quizzes, click the PROPERTIES link:

image005.jpg

Make sure that the Allow Retake on Pass is set to NO, and Allow Retake on Fail is set to YES. This must be done for all three quizzes.

image0061.jpg

Submit the changes, and you are done.

See my example below — I have added myself as a student, and then logged into the course. As you can see, the first quiz is ready to be accessed, but the other two are not yet accessible.

image007.jpg

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Convert Flash Videos to CD-Rom Auto Launch Executable

The Atrixware CD Menu Maker software is designed to enable you to turn just about anything into an auto launch CD-Rom application. A common task is turning one or more flash videos or presentations into an application your end user can run automatically simply by placing the cd-rom into their system.

Note: This article was written with a beta version of CD Menu Maker, so some screen shots and steps may vary slightly from the final release.

To do this, follow these steps:

1. Start CD Menu Maker, click the Create New Project button, enter a name fpr the project (I used ‘Movie Player’), and pick one of the templates from the ‘Blank Templates‘ tab.

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2. From the Add Component Panel, click the VIDEO button, and then click OK on the dialog box:

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3. The View Component Properties Panel will appear. From here, click the ADD button, click the BROWSE button on the File Dependencies Dialog, and then click the Filesystem tab on the Dependency Browser panel:

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4. Locate your swf file (in this example shown above, I have my swf file ‘Weblearning8.0LMS.swf’ located and highlighted). Making sure the swf file is selected (highlighted), click the OK button

5. Making sure the swf file is selected (highlighted), click the OK button on the Dependency Browser dialog, and then click DONE on the File Dependencies Dialog.

6. Now, click the PICK button on the Video Component Properties panel, and your swf file should now appear an an option – pick it.

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7. You can leave all checkboxes checked (the default) for this example – they are the most common settings. Click OK, and then resize the component to your desired size:

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8. You may need to Preview (press F12, or click the PREVIEW button along the top toolbar) your project a few times until you work out the desired size of the video component and/or window size.

If you want your video component to ‘snap’ to the form size, and perhaps you want your end users to be able to resize the form, follow these steps:

1. In the Components Explorer panel, click the ‘frmCanvas‘ component (at the very top of the list).

frmcanvas.jpg

2. On the top toolbar, click the Actions button, and choose OnStart.

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3. On the Actions Menu, click the CLICK HERE button to access the Code Editor.

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4. When the code editor appears, type in the code as shown below:

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5. Click the Actions button (along top on the top toolbar) again – this time, instead of choosing OnStart, choose the On_frmCanvas_Resize option, and then type in the following code:

article1_html_4fcfcaa5.jpg

Once you have completed the project, click the BUILD button on the top toolbar. Once complete, drag & drop the files onto a blank CD-Rom (or use your favorite CD Burning software).

The end result is, when your end user inserts the CD Rom into their system, your application will start, and the video will begin playing immediately.

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Online Quizzes 101: Sequencing Questions in Weblearning

There are times when you want to shuffle the question order of your online quizzes (to prevent cheating or memorization, for example). However, there are also times when you want to make sure you deliver questions (and slides) in a specific order. In this article, I will discuss the latter.

When you enter in questions or slides into your Weblearning account, each question is given a ‘random’ sequence number (you will not find any ‘sequence number’ data filed on the question entry form).

The place you will be able to find the sequence datafield is in the question listing area. To get there, click CREATE > MANAGE QUESTIONS & SLIDES > UPDATE LIST

img1.gif

You will see the sequence number boxes next to each question/slide. To sequence the questions and slides, simply type in the sequence number for each one, and then click the re-order button. Note that each ‘category’ has its own set of sequencing (as you can see in the screen capture below):

img2.gif

The next step is to publish your quiz or presentation. To do this click CREATE > CREATE A PRACTICE QUIZ (or one of the other create options to make an online quiz or online presentation).

Once there, enter your quiz title, and then you will need to specify each category of questions you want to pick, in the order you want them displayed. You will need to pick the “All” option for each category (as opposed to a specific number) to indicate you want the questions and slides pulled from the question bank in sequence (specifying a number will result in the items getting pulled randomly).

img3.gif

In my example, there are two categories (“section 1″ and “section 2″). As you can see in the example above, I have specified to pick “All” questions from “Section 1″, and then pick “All” questions from “Section 2″. The system sees this as: “Pick All Questions from Section 1 in sequence, and then pick All Questions from Section 2 in sequence”.

Publish the online quiz by clicking the Publish Quiz button.The final thing to do is make sure your quiz is not set to shuffle the order of questions and slides each time it is viewed. To do this, click the MODULES tab, and then click the PROPERTIES link next to the quiz or presentation you just published.

img4.gif

Scroll down a bit and make sure the ‘Shuffle Questions’ setting is set to “No – show in sequence”.

That’s it. Now place your quiz or presentation into a course, and you are ready to go.

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Offering Offline and Online E-Learning

It’s not often I get to personally meet our customers, but each time I do, I spend as much time as I can learning about them, their successes, ideas, how our products and services have helped them so far, and how we can help them get to the next level.

I recently had the pleasure to meet on of our long-time customers in person. Steve Terepka took the trip from his e-learning business in Florida all the way up the east cost to our offices in New Jersey. Steve has asked me to not mention his company name or industry.

Atrixware E-Learning Customer Visits Atrixware OfficesSteve is not short on ideas. At one time, he was one of a few companies competing in the e-learning space of his industry (while other companies were sticking just to classroom training). However, those other companies took notice, and it keeps Steve on the cutting edge of e-learning technology.

He and I discussed many ideas and concepts – and I think I learned more than he did. Just like any other evolving trend, e-learning is expanding into many forms and industries, and becoming more of a core part of training and development than ever before.

I see Steve’s e-learning business maturing at an incredible speed. He started by offering a complete study kit which included texbooks, training video’s on cd-rom, and a variety of practice quizzes on cd-rom. He is using a combination of e-learning authoring tools, including the use of Test Pro Developer to create his practice quizzes and flashcard quizzes, and Visual E-Learning Design Studio to create e-learning front-ends for his videos and his quizzes.

He is now preparing an offering for online e-learning delivery. This is important, since many people now expect to be able to study and get their training online. However, many companies today totally miss out on the desktop/cd-rom e-learning offering, forcing their students to be ‘connected’ and online. There are many things that can be done more efficiently via a cd-rom, for example, high quality video, or large presentations. If you are looking to offer e-learning on cd-rom, consider our desktop e-learning authoring tools for the task.

I have no doubt Steve will continue to be successful. He is always looking to improve his offering with better content, and more ways to access it.

Are you going to be in the Southern New Jersey area? Please feel free to stop by – I would really enjoy meeting you.

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How to Make Your Own Quiz

What a broad topic. I know – you just want to make your own quiz, and do something with it – like put a quiz up on to your web site, or make a quiz you can email, or make a quiz for your website. Some of you might be doing it for fun (maybe you want to make a quiz for fun, for example), and others are looking for a was to make a quiz you can use to quiz your students.

For those of you just trying to make your own quiz for fun (for myspace for example), you are probably best served using a free or low-cost quiz maker software product. There are a handful out there. Atrixware offers a free quizmaker as well – its actually a full older version (2002) of our Test Pro Developer product. For more information on getting the free quiz maker we offer, just click here.

If you want to make your own quiz that actually counts, you have various products to choose from. Atrixware offers a few products that can help. Our desktop quizmaker software product is called Test Pro Developer. It is offered in several ‘editions’, but for most of you, the Basic/Academic edition will be more than adequate to let you make your own quiz and put it up on your website, email it to your students, make a printed quiz, make an online quiz, and much more. We also offer a very popular online quiz system / LMS system called Weblearning. It enables you to make your own quiz (actually many quizzes, and also learning presentations), place them into courses, and enroll students. For more information on the Weblearning LMS, click here.

For a fun quiz, you probably want to keep the questions to a minimum (10 questions or less), and stick to simple multiple-choice and true/false question styles. When you make your own quiz and its one that will count towards a grade, the content of the questions is obviously paramount. Make sure the questions are good and the answers are accurate. Using a system such as Weblearning (which has statistical reporting) will help you determine which questions are too easy, which are too hard, and which ones need to be modified.

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Very Impressive DHTML Color Picker

I realize that not all of you share my personal (nerdy) love for coding and technology, but I just had to post a link to this really nice DHTML (JavaScript/HTML) color picker: http://www.colourlovers.com/blog/2008/01/16/free-advanced-dhtml-color-picker/

Here is a screen shot of what it looks like:

DHTML Color Picker

My guess is, you will see this in an upcoming Atrixware product ..

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