Archive for June 2005

Tuesday 28 June 05

We’ve been testing more of the sample UoLs and have found a little problem with the "Learning to listen to Jazz" UoL. The problem is when you view some of the resources from the environment menu tree (especially the results page) the tables aren’t formatted very well – everything is bottom aligned which makes it hard to read the tables – all seems to be happening with the ‘globalcontent’ pages.

I found that the reason was the xml file which generates this page (from the LD package) specifies all the table alignment as being ‘bottom’. This is fine in the CopperCore demo player because they then apply a stylesheet  just to this section of the page – which can be done because the CC player is all frames and windows, so the stylesheet doesn’t affect anything else – eg menus etc. If I try to add in the same stylesheet to the Sled player – since it is a complete single html page – this stylesheet affects all the menus etc, as no specfic classes are provided for. I think there’s a couple of ways around this …

  1. Add classes to all the ‘standard’ elements, eg the menu and other layout, so that the globalcontent.css file doesn’t affect these
  2. Try to find a way when so that when the globalcontent is transformed using xsl, this adds a class attribute, which is also then reflected in the globalcontent.css file – so preventing the design affecting any of the other elements
  3. Find another way so the css is only applied to particular areas of the page – don’t know how feasible this is though – if it’s possible at all.

I think my preferred option is (1), but not sure if it will affect other things I’ve not thought about yet!

This also raises the question of how much of the design/layout should be included in the resource file (in the LD package) and how much should be left to the player – the content/design seperation and how much of the meaning of the content is contained in the design – but I’ll leave that argument for another day!

Monday 27 June 05

I’ve now uploaded a new version of the Sled player to Sourceforge. The main things that have changed are:

  1. Level B UoLs should be running fine – this version has been tested with most of the example UoLs from the OUNL’s learning networks site.
  2. I’ve added a web interface for the clicc tool – so that users can be added more easliy to runs and new runs created. This web interface is password protected – the password can be changed in the web.xml file.

Next on my list to do is look at how to check the send-mail and notifications are running properly – I spoke to some of the people from OUNL this morning and apparently there needs to be a little change made to CopperCore before the emailing functionality will work – so I’ll need to wait until this is fixed before I can test it out with our mail server here.

 

Friday 24 June 05

Today have made some good steps forward in making the Sled player run more level b learning designs, it now runs fine with all the ones I’ve tested it on so far. Next week I’ll try with some more to see if it breaks!! I’ll also get this new version uploaded to sourceforge.

I’ve also managed to complete creating a web interface for the clicc tool – so users don;t have to be at the server sonsole to be able to add/edit users/runs etc. This should make it much easier for people who would like to just try out the Sled player and Coppercore. All that’s left for me to do is to make this page password protected.

Also on my to do list for next week is to find out if the Sled player runs level C learning designs – I know that this is not a big step up from level B (certainly not as much as the step from A to B), but I’m not sure whether the system will link into the OU smtp mail server or not – I assume (hope!!) it’s protected from anonymous access.

Friday 24 June 05

Attended the recent Unfold meeting (Communities of Practice for Learning Design) which was very worthwhile. Had some interesting discussions and got to share thoughts and ideas with developers from both LAMS and Moodle. The main things we were discussing was how to make both of these VLEs Learning Design compliant, so they could both import and export LD XML. We found that especially for Moodle, the export to learning design would/should be relatively straightforward, though an import would be harder – due to the fact that Moodle wouldn’t currently cope with the complex activity structures that can be created in LD – so some ‘flattening’ of a deeply nested activity structure might be necessary.

The other problem we discussed for both LAMS and Moodle was how to describe and export the tools and services which are in both of these products, but the LD spec doesn’t allow for. The way we are thinking of working is to create a common description of each of these tools/services (eg forum, noticeboard, voting tool etc) which could then be exported into the LD package as resource file – so this resource file would be an xml file which describes the characteristics of the tool. Theres much to be done here, but I think we’ve got a plan of what needs to be looked at and a way of achieving this now, it will also tie in well with some of the work being done in the OKI/SAKAI projects.

Finally (!), I’ve been asked to present the progress of our 2 learning design projects at the next Unfold meeting which will be in Glasgow in October (more details)

Friday 10 June 05

Have been spending a bit of time creating a web interface to the CopperCore clicc tool for adding users and runs etc to units of learning. I’ve got quite a lot done so far, though I’m not planning on creating an interface which includes all the clicc options, just the basics, since it’s only to help people test out uols.

I think I’ve also got the Sled player to run most level B and C learning designs though this does need some more testing, someone has pointed out to me a few problems with a couple of level B UOLs, though other level B UOLs have been working fine.

Also still hoping that we’ll have a designer soon to do some work on the actual player interface, ie making a better stylesheet, logo etc.