Wednesday, November 19, 2008

SCORM and Bandwidth Part 2

In my previous post SCORM and Bandwidth, I described an issue I am having with a Captivate eLearning tutorial freezing up on some of my users accessing it through Moodle. It turns out I was right that the problem has something to do with the zipped SCORM package. I came to this conclusion by posting a link to just the .swf file and it works great for the users who had issues. How come the .swf file works great but the zipped SCORM package freezes up? I also tried posting a link to the html file and that froze just like the zipped SCORM package. At this point I can move forward with the project using just the .swf file but I will not be able to track through SCORM and I won't be able to use the handy Captivate toolbar. I have "work arounds" for both of these issues but I wish that everything would work as intended.

I believe the problem could be that the SCORM package and the html file require more bandwidth and higher modem speeds. In the near future the users who are having problems will be upgraded to a 384K modem so I am hoping the higher modem speeds will solve the issues I am having with the zipped SCORM package but that is still not mindblowing speeds so we'll have to wait and see.

Any suggestions or input for solving this issue are greatly appreciated.

Monday, November 17, 2008

SCORM and Bandwidth

I am in the process of implementing Moodle and my first time using an eLearning tutorial developed with Captivate did not go well. I ran a little test with a small group of people who are accessing Moodle through a Citrix connection. The tutorial froze up on about %50 of the end users and worked great for the other half.

There are a variety of things that could have caused the Captivate tutorial freeze up and I am hoping I can find a solution. My first thought is that the organization is currently going through a network upgrade which has caused a variety of system issues. I am hoping that all of my problems are solved after the network upgrade is complete but I suspect that there will still be problems. Many of the users connect on a WinTerm through Citrix which does not encourage great performance : )

Another possible culprit could be how I have the SCORM settings set. The reason I believe SCORM tracking may be the culprit is because I have had nothing but success with flash based eLearning courses that do not use any kind of SCORM tracking. The only difference here is that I am using a zipped SCORM package as opposed to a standard .swf file.

I am going to start by trying some different SCORM settings and run a few more tests. I am currently recording all interactions so I am hoping by changing that setting I will get better performance. I am also waiting to hear back on the status of the network upgrade and hopefully I will get good news.

Related Posts:

Thursday, November 13, 2008

Go Kings!

I went to see the Sacramento Kings play the Pistons on Tuesday night and ended up getting a whole lot more than I bargained for. I was picked out of the crowd to come down to the court and compete in a "name that song" contest sponsored by Verizon wireless. I was so caught off guard to be picked out that I didn't even hear her mention what the prize was.

So here I am during a timeout in the 3rd quarter standing on center court ready to compete with one other guy. The announcer explained to the crowd that there would be 3 rounds and the prize get's better each round. The first song started playing and neither I or the other guy knew what it was so the first round went by without either one of us winning the $50 verizon wireless gift card. Then on comes the second song and I nail it! Scored myself a $75 gift card to Verizon which works out because I actually am a Verizon customer. All I needed to hear is the first couple of notes of the song for Round 3 before nailing the buzzer and screaming "Ozzy - Crazy Train!!" It's a song I know very well to say the least. We got shuffled off the court in a hurry having no idea what I won for the second round. As soon as they got me off the court they handed me a piece of paper to write my address down on. I suspiciously asked why and their response was "We need to know where to send your new Blackberry Storm!" This is where the heart skips a beat and the drool starts dripping down my chin.

I like my gadgets and the Blackberry Storm looks to be the hot gadget of the Christmas season. If you haven't heard it's Blackberry's answer to the iPhone. I am particularly excited about this phone because my work is Blackberry dependent so I will be able to replace my current clunker with this giant upgrade. That is unless I decide to put it up on eBay for a pretty penny. There has been a delay on the release of these phones so there is no availability retail which is driving up the price on eBay. The phone arrives in 7-10 days so I will have to see what they are selling for at that time. If they are available retail before then the ebay price will drop. It would be a no brainer to sell it if I didn't want to keep it so bad!

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

Managing Users in Moodle

This week I was able to overcome what I thought would be one of the most difficult hurdles in a Moodle implementation. I was having nightmares about setting up and maintaining over 1000 user accounts. I knew that Moodle had some options to make this easier but didn't realize just how easy it would be.

Moodle provides a couple of different options for managing users in bulk (at least I am only aware of 2). You can connect to an existing database which is ideal in most circumstances but takes a little more knowledge of databases then I currently have. Or you can take the less tech savvy approach and upload users in bulk using a text file. The downside to this is that you still need to list out each user on the text file. I didn't want to deal with having to create this text file so I went to a friend who is a software developer for help. He was able to whip up a report that listed out all the information I needed in the text file for each Moodle user. Then I was able to simply copy and paste the report into a text file, upload it to Moodle and Bam, every user profile is setup. Something else great about this is if I need to update existing user profiles I can just upload an updated text file and it will make all of the changes. What would have taken days ended up taking a few minutes with the help of my handy Crystal report.

Problem solved for now but after talking with my software developer friend it sounds like it might not be too difficult to connect Moodle to an existing database for an HR program with all of the needed user information. This way Moodle would automatically be updated when information is updated in the HR program. For now I will be sticking with maintaining user profiles via text file but will move towards the database options once the dust settles from the initial implementation.

Please let me know if you have any suggestions for methods of maintaing users in Moodle.

Monday, November 10, 2008

eLearning Learning

Tony Karrer of the eLearning Technology blog invited me to take part in a new site called eLearning Learning. This new site brings a collection of ed tech related blogs together making it very easy to research a variety of topics without jumping from blog to blog. Tony describes it best with this quote;

"This is the beginning of a community portal where the community will help to collect and organize the best content from blogs and web sites. The goal is to create a place where it's relatively easy to find current content and highly relevant content surrounding eLearning." - Tony Karrer

If you look on the lower right side of my blog you will see a handy new widget listing labels of common topics on my blog. If you click on one of the topics it will bring you to the learning eLearning site where you will see a listing of my posts related to that topic. From there you can dive deeper into more specific content from a growing number of blogs. But be careful, first time I tried this out I got stuck at my computer for hours reading blog post after blog post : )

I'm excited to be a part of the launch of this new site and just as excited to use it for my own research. Thanks to all who are taking part in learning eLearning.

Saturday, November 1, 2008

Establishing Connections on LinkedIn

Everybody talks about how great LinkedIn is so a while back I set up an account to see what everybody was talking about. And that's about as far as I went, I set up an account then didn't really know what to do with it. I found that without connections it's hard to make any use out of it. So that raises the question; how do you establish connections on LinkedIn?

After initially setting up the account, I did not revisit LinkedIn until recently reading a couple of articles praising linkedIn on Tony Karrer's blog . This inspired me to give it another shot and see if I can establish some connections and take advantage of what Tony and others speak so highly of.

Here's what I did to start establishing connections whose expertise I might be able to tap into. First off, I connected with Tony. He has a ton of connections in the educational technology industry and by having him as a connection I am more likely to get a response from other people that he is connections with. The next thing I did to work on meeting more people to establish connections with was to join a few groups. I didn't know this when I first started my account but groups can establish pages with some great social networking features that make it easy to share your knowledge and establish connections with others in your industry. I started off by joining the ASTD, and CLO groups and I think I'll look into the eLearning Guilds group next. Now that I have joined the groups I need to dive into the forums and see what everybody is talking about.

With my newly established and potential LinkedIn connections I hope to learn through others experiences and discover opportunities to improve my career in instructional design and eLearning development. I am currently gainfully employed with a great company but I am always looking for opportunities to gain more experience and LinkedIn is a great tool for this. Please leave a comment if you have any LinkedIn tips and please don't be shy to connect with me on my profile on LinkedIn