Installations and Preferences
How do I uninstall Design-a-Course?
- The most efficient way to uninstall Design-a-Course is to select Uninstall from the Design-a-Course program group. (Start/Programs/Design-a-Course/Uninstall). Within the Uninstall routine, choose Custom, choose Select All for each screen and then just follow the prompts. This cleans out the program and all registry entries.
How do I know where to find the pages I create when I use Design-a-Course?
- When you go through the steps of creating a new course in Design-a-Course, a folder is saved to your hard drive where all of the files related to your course are stored. You name this folder during the course setup process.
Do you require anything for the student to be downloaded from your site?
- Students and administrators do not need to download anything in order to fully use the software. Course developers must download the Design-a-Course Author, which is the course development tool.
Editing Course Pages
Can I change where I want the questions to appear in my course after they have been added?
- Design-a-Course allows you to group questions so that they appear to the student either at the end of a given chapter, at the end of the course, or as they appear in the course outline. You set this by clicking the “Properties” button on the editor toolbar. With this feature, you can put questions anywhere in the Outline!
How do I get a picture or graphic to align correctly on my page in the Author?
- The best way is to put your cursor on the line with the picture or graphic and use the left, center, or right alignment buttons. These buttons are located on the tool bar between the Underlining and Numbered Bulleting buttons.
Why doesn’t my Tab key doesn’t seem to have any effect?
- The Tab key is another feature that is not supported in most HTML editors. For best results in aligning text and graphics, put your cursor on the line with the text or graphic and use the left, center, or right alignment buttons. These buttons are located on the tool bar between the Underlining and Numbered Bulleting buttons. You can also achieve the same effect as you would with the Tab key if you use the indent and outdent buttons, which are located to the right of the alignment buttons on your Design-a-Course tool bar.
I know I can use external HTML editors to develop my pages outside of Design-a-course, but can I also use Word?
- Well, the answer is mix of yes and no. Yes, you can initially develop your pages in Word, or any application that can export to an HTML page. But once it’s imported in Design-a-Course, you must make a decision. If you want to edit your imported pages in DaC, then you should not edit that page in Word again. If you want to edit your pages in Word, then ONLY use Word to edit those pages.
- The reason? Since DaC is HTML based, Design-a-Course made the decision to conform to the strict HTML standards developed by the World Wide Web Consortium (W3C) http://www.w3c.org. For instance, they, with input and cooperation from leading industry companies and professionals, decide what code or tags (HTML terminology) should be used to make a sentence bold on a Web page. Adhering to these standards ensures that HTML code, pages, technologies, and applications like Web browsers, are interchangeable with one another.
- Microsoft, however, has gone a different route. In order to streamline their applications and make them more integrated with one another, they generate non-standard HTML code with extra information that only Microsoft applications understand. If DaC attempted to get involved with what Word was generated, the applications would bump heads, so-to-speak, and the end result would be inconsistent.
What happens when I delete a course?
- Using the Delete Course button on the Catalog View window causes all files and folders associated with that course to be permanently removed. Items deleted in this manner are not recoverable.
Can I preview a course in my browser during development?
- Yes. Use the Preview button on the main toolbar in the Author. This will open individual HTML pages in your Web browser, allowing you to see how they will appear online before your course is published to the Web.
How can I back up a course that I’ve been working on?
- To maintain a copy of a course apart from the database version, use the Course Export option. This produces a .zip archive that you can save as a back-up copy. To load the back up, use the Import Course option from the course selection screen. Design-a-Course has a built-in Backup folder where all Imported and Exported course .zip files will automatically be directed to for storage.
How do a rename a course in Design-a-Course?
- Highlight your course in in the course catalog.
- Click the Export button. Save the course into your backup folder or any folder you keep backups in.
- In the course catalog, Open that course.
- Click the Properties icon and the General tab.
- Change the Course Title and Directory name to whatever you want. Click OK.
- Click the Catalog icon to return to the course catalog. Your course will now show up with its new name.
- Click the Import Course button and navigate to where you saved your course.
- Highlight the original course and click Import.
- You will now have two courses, with the exact same content but with different names in your course catalog. This “Save As” function can be handy for unique branding of the same course for different audiences.
How do I make a copy of a course and keep the original?
- Select your course in the Author Course Catalog
- Click Export and save it in another directory
- Now select that same course in the Course Catalog and click Open
- Once the course is open click the Properties button
- Change the course title and directory name
- Save and Close the course
- From the catalog screen Click Import
- Navigate to the original course you Exported, highlight it and click Import
- You will now have two separate courses in your catalog
COURSE SETTINGS AND ONLINE OPTIONS
How do I upload courses?
- Uploading courses requires a simple click of the “Upload” button. This will send all of the files in the course folder to the server, where they will be stored and accessible as a fully functional course to your students.
I have placed a user in the same group with a course, but the user still can’t take that course. What else do I need to do?
- Design-a-Course is set up so this works by default. Meaning every group has a default permission that allows users in that group to take courses in that group. The only time it won’t work is when an administrator has accessed the “Manage Groups” screen to remove the default permission, either by changing “Courses which may be taken by users” or “Students that may take courses”.
- To correct the problem you choose Manage Groups, select the group in question, click on the first “edit” link under permissions, and verify that the group shows up in that list. If not, click ” add more groups of courses” and add it.
What do I do if I want to update or change my course information after the course has been uploaded?
- You may edit your course pages at any time by opening up your course in the Design-a-Course Author. However, in order for the changes to take effect online, you will need to re-upload the course once you complete your editing.
How do my students access their courses?
- Once courses are uploaded, the course administrator creates users, entering their user information for scoring and tracking purposes and giving them access to the course pages. When students visit the Design-a-Course login page, they are given a list of any courses they have been given permission to take.
What is the difference in letting my students view the outline or turning this function off?
- Allowing students to view the course outline also enables them to navigate to any area of the course they choose, skipping questions or entire sections of material. Depending on your audience, topic, and purpose, this may be preferable. Disabling this feature ensures that students will follow the course in a linear fashion.
Why would I choose to allow students to skip questions?
- If you have limited the number of times a student may take the questions in a course, you may want to allow them to skip questions until they feel prepared to take them. This would allow them to read the material as many times as they needed before being tested. If students are not able to skip questions, they will be required to answer the questions as they appear in the course each time they take it.
I have placed a user in the same group with a course, but theuser still can’t take that course. What else do I need to do?
- Every group has a default permission that allows users in that group to take courses. However, that default permission can be deleted by an Administrator for the group which in turn will deny access for everyone in that group. To correct the problem, you log into your online account with Administrator privileges, choose Manage Groups, select the group in question, click on the first “edit” link under permissions, and verify that the group shows up in that list. If not, click “add more groups of courses” and add it.
If a student is put in the highest group do they have access to all courses in lower groups in the hierarchy?
- No. The default rule is that a student in a group can take courses in the group they are placed into and any parent group.
- For example. Lets says you have a top level root group called ‘MAIN‘ and then you have 2 branched groups under that called ‘HR‘ and ‘ACCOUNTING.’ And you have a group branched off ‘ACCOUNTING‘ called ‘PAYROLL.‘ If you place a student in GroupPAYROLL they will have access to courses in groups MAIN, ACCOUNTING, and PAYROLL, but NOT HR.
- Again, this is the default behavior of groups and permissions can be modified on an indvidual student basis as needed.
Internet Connections and Error Messages
Regarding access via firewall ports, which are required and is the access outbound only or inbound also?
- Port 80 is required. Port 443 is also strongly recommended. However, Spherion can choose to disable the default security requirements on Design-a-Course connections to their account, after which port 443 is not needed. If this decision is made, Spherion would need to inform us so that we can disable the default security requirements.
- Only outbound connections are required. Proxy servers are fine, but course developers will need to know their proxy configuration. WPAD and auto-configuration scripts are not available for the course Author upload function.
I am getting, “Connection refused by remote host ” when I try to upload my course. What’s wrong?There are several possible reasons for this message.
- First, please make sure you have given the correct URL, which was chosen when registering for Design-a-Course.
- Second, it is possible that your network is not functioning properly. Please be sure you have dialed the internet if you are using a modem, or ask your local help desk or internet provider about known problems on their network.
- Finally, your organization may require a proxy server to manage internet connections. Your network administrator or internet provider should be able to tell you if this is the case. To use a proxy server, click on the Advanced button from the Upload dialog. Enter the proxy information given to you by your network administrator or internet provider, and click OK.
- Proxy servers are “inside firewalls” — they filter and block access to sites. They can be used by your IT department or internet provider to track connections, or to offer performance boosts by caching frequently used pages directly on the server. Though some proxies are designed to improve internet performance, a proxy server will NOT improve the performance of uploading courses from the Design-a-Course Author. If your organization has an optional proxy server, we recommend that you do NOT enter any proxy server configuration into the Design-a-Course Author. If your organization requires the use of a proxy server, you may enter your configuration into the Design-a-Course Author. Ask your network administrator or internet service provider for the correct proxy configuration.
What role does Java play and do we need to enable it on student workstations?
- Java is used only internally within the course Author, and requires no special configuration of the student workstations.
What role does ActiveX play and which settings need to be enabled?
- ActiveX plays absolutely no part in the Design-a-Course system.
Does your site require cookies be accepted?
- Session cookies must be enabled for Design-a-Course to function properly. Cross-session (long-term or disk storage) cookies are not used, and can be safely disabled in the user agent.
Do you rely on pop-up technology?
- Yes, pop-ups are used in two places:
Students launch pop-ups to take courses. This action is allowed by all pop-up blockers we have tested in their default configuration, since the pop-up window is a direct result of a click by the student to take the course.
The preview function of the course Author uses pop-ups to create the course preview window. This action may be prevented by various popup blockers, and Design-a-Course will provide instructions in the product to disable popup blockers as needed, in order to allow course developers to successfully preview courses. This will NOT be required of students who take courses in Design-a-Course; it is only necessary for those people who develop training courses for the Design-a-Course system.
Is training provided or available for the product? If so, what is the cost?
- Design-a-Course provides a “Using Design-a-Course” course with each download. This course highlights all the features DaC offers, and it also provides practice exercises to help you as you begin your course development. Custom training is available on request.
My course looks fine both within the Author and when I use Preview to look at it from a Web browser. When students take the course, some of the pages are empty or some of the images appear broken. Why is that, and how can I fix it?
- If a + character occurs in a filename, the upload will appear to succeed, but the image will not appear when the user takes the course from the course engine. Rename the image so it does not have a + character and re-insert it into the course page.
I am trying to insert video into my course using the Design-a-Course Author. It seems to work in the Author, but it doesn’t work in Preview on some machines, or some students can’t see the video. How do I fix this?
- Chances are, there’s a file configuration problem on the computers where the video isn’t playing. Ask students who can’t see the movie to check their file associations and make sure that that the video file’s extension is associated with the right application. Some video file formats can’t be played with Apple’s QuickTime player unless the student has additional extensions, so it is safest to have the student associate AVI and MPG files with Windows Media Player rather than QuickTime.
What are the system requirements for self-hosting?
- If you choose the self-hosting option, the systems requirements will be:
- Dedicated Linux Server running SuSe Linux 9.1
- 1 GHZ x86 CPU ( 2 GHZ – Pentium 4 or AMD 64 or equivalent recommended)
- 512 GB RAM (1gb ECC RAM recommended)
- SCSI or Serial ATA Hard Drive
- 40gb Disk Space (Mirrored Disks recommended)
- 100Mbps Ethernet Card