Posts tagged ‘mobile’

Providing alternative translations

With the HEAT Mobile content I’ve been looking at ways in which we can allow users to switch between different translations of the content. By enabling the Moodle Multi-language content filter, I can add alternative translations for the same content page. I found this method a little fiddly, and in switching between the HTML code view and the HTML editor view, sometimes the language span tags get removed. For example, if I enter:

<span class="multilang" lang="en"><p>My content here</p></span>

the HTML editor strips out the span tags completely. But with a bit of playing around I got it all working.

I then updated my export code (which generates the files to drop into the Android app) to check for the languages available on each page and to create an option for the user to switch to whichever languages are available for that page. Here’s an example of switching between English and Swahili on one of the PNC module pages:

PNC introduction in English

Switching to Swahili

PNC introduction page in Swahili

You can also have a go with this on my demo site.

The next step is to be able to switch the whole interface over to alternative languages (not just the content) and also being able to provide the quizzes in multiple languages. Though now I already have this working with the main content, it shouldn’t be too hard to extend this.

Updated mobile HEAT content

I’ve just uploaded the updated mobile HEAT Android app (you can get it from:

The main differences are:

  • a new design (using JQuery Mobile framework)
  • all the content and quizzes are automatically exported from the HEAT courses I have on my local Moodle server, this makes it much easier if we want to update/change the content in the future, or create new modules
  • additional ‘video’ section, so you can jump directly to the videos, rather than looking through the content. Please note though that the videos may not run on your devices, as we pre-load them onto the phone’s SD card, they’re not included in the app download.

For those of you without an Android phone, but would like to see the content, I’ve created a demo page to show the content. You will need to create an mQuiz account to login (you can register for this directly from the demo). Again, with the videos these won’t play from this demo as they are designed to be run offline from the phone SD card.

Any feedback is very welcome.

Automatically exporting mobile learning content

Over the last couple of weeks I’ve been looking at how we can export content directly from Moodle into the format needed to create the Android application for the HEAT content (see my previous posts here and here).

I now have a basic script running which will export a Moodle course to the files needed to drop into the Android app, including of all the self assessment questions and any embedded image files. This will make it much easier to create and edit the mobile HEAT content, or for any other Moodle courses which we may want to run offline on an Android phone.

Using JQuery Mobile framework, I’ve also given the HEAT mobile app a bit of a facelift, so it looks quite a lot cleaner now and seems to load the pages a bit quicker. Here’s a sneak preview of the new design:

Once I get it all a bit more finished I’ll make the updated app available for download.

GPRS Speeds

Whilst back in Ethiopia I tested out the GPRS speed – previously we’d only really tested that a connection was available, not the actual speed of this connection. The results were:

Date Time My location Server location Ping Upload Download
1 Jun 12 11:39 Negash Health Centre Athens, Greece 514ms 60kbps 10kbps
1 Jun 12 11:41 Negash Health Centre Athens, Greece 539ms 62kbps 4kbps
1 Jun 12 11:43 Negash Health Centre Addis Ababa, Ethiopia 435ms 52kbps 14kbps
1 Jun 12 11:44 Negash Health Centre Addis Ababa, Ethiopia 561ms 58kbps 7kbps
1 Jun 12 11:45 Negash Health Centre Addis Ababa, Ethiopia 331ms 62kbps 29kbps
1 Jun 12 12:30 Negash Health Centre Addis Ababa, Ethiopia 473ms 67kbps 28kbps
1 Jun 12 12:32 Negash Health Centre Addis Ababa, Ethiopia 362ms 68kbps 38kbps
2 Jun 12 11:45 Mekelle Addis Ababa, Ethiopia 754ms 119kbps failed
2 Jun 12 11:49 Mekelle Addis Ababa, Ethiopia 342ms 9kbps failed
2 Jun 12 12:03 Mekelle Addis Ababa, Ethiopia 717ms 68kbps failed
2 Jun 12 12:05 Mekelle Addis Ababa, Ethiopia 318ms 70kbps 1kbps
2 Jun 12 16:12 Mekelle Airport Addis Ababa, Ethiopia 434ms 68kbps 8kbps
2 Jun 12 16:13 Mekelle Airport Addis Ababa, Ethiopia 537ms 63kbps 25kbps
3 Jun 12 12:45 Addis Addis Ababa, Ethiopia 335ms 195kbps 67kbps
3 Jun 12 12:46 Addis Addis Ababa, Ethiopia 335ms 188kbps 47kbps
5 Jun 12 12:44 Addis Addis Ababa, Ethiopia 437ms 130kbps 18kbps
5 Apr 12 13:45 Addis Addis Ababa, Ethiopia 1071ms 87kbps 10kbps
5 Jun 12 13:47 Addis Addis Ababa, Ethiopia 441ms 131kbps 14kbps
Average 496ms 86kbps 18kbps

I used the app for Android for this testing, and it’s just to give an idea about what the speeds are, I can make no promises that these are the same speeds you’ll experience!

Patient Management Tools Video

Just posted on the Digital Campus blog:

Video demo of the patient management tools currently being used by Health Extension Workers on our project. This video shows the mobile protocols (using ODK), the mobile scorecard and analytics dashboard.

Since my camera broke the other day (I’m waiting for a new one to arrive), I used a flip camera for filming this, unfortunately it doesn’t focus well in close up, so the images of the mobile screen don’t show up well on this video, once my new camera arrives, I’ll refilm the video, to better capture the mobile screen.

HEAT Mobile demo app on Google Play

For info I’ve just published the HEAT demo app up on Google Play for anyone who is interested in having a look.

Couple of notes…

  • This is a work in progress so not everything may work as expected. Any feedback is welcome.
  • To initially log in to the app, you’ll need to create an account on mQuiz. This is because any responses to the self assessment exercises are sent (if you are online) to be stored on mQuiz.
  • The embedded videos won’t be available, the videos aren’t included in the app on Google Play, they’re stored separately on the phone SD card (to keep the apk file size down). Please contact me if you’d like details about the videos we’re using.

OpenLearn content on mobiles

Here is a brief overview of how I created the Android application with the HEAT content. It is very much a demo/prototype application, so I’m sure there are many other ways this could be done (maybe in a more generic approach).

I used the plain zip download format of the HEAT modules (eg: – which essentially provides a set of static webpages of all the module content. I noticed a couple of issues with these downloads, for example some had incorrect references to images, and the contents page wasn’t in quite the right order, but no big problems.

I then used the PhoneGap framework to turn this content into an Android application, just applying a revised stylesheet and adding a new header/footer for navigation. Initially I tried working with a whole HEAT module, but we found there was just too much text for anyone to be able to read comfortably, so we cut the content down to just the essential parts (introduction, learning outcomes, summary and SAQs). This was the part that probably took the most time, since it was a manual process to refactor the content in this way.

I’m sure there are ways this could be done in a more generic and less-manual way, perhaps using the OU XML to generate only these specific sections, but I suspect that we will always want to edit the content slightly for mobile devices, especially since we’ll be adding videos and perhaps some audio content too. Using the PhoneGap framework means that we should easily be able to transfer this application over to iPad/Blackberry/Windows Mobile applications with very little effort.

For embedding the videos, I used a PhoneGap extension to allow the embedding of local video content. The videos we’re testing out are from the Global Health Media Project, and are stored on the phone/tablet local SD card. We could include the videos directly in the Android apk package, but this is likely to make the apk quite large, plus we’ve not yet finalised which videos we’d like to embed.

The final part to all this is the interactive self assessment exercises. This is using a web app I have been developing over the last few weeks (mQuiz) and is designed to allow quizzes to be run offline. The quiz can be created then stored as a JSON object and a javascript library is then used to display the quiz to the user. If the user has an active internet connection then their responses are sent back to the mQuiz server, if they are working offline their responses are kept until a connection is available.

So we now have an Android application which can be run completely offline, with all the content, videos and quizzes pre-loaded onto the phone.

All of this is a work in progress, the code is up at: I’m sure there are areas where improvements to this could be made – any suggestions welcome.

HEAT content on smartphone and tablet

Here’s an updated video showing the OU HEAT content running on an Android smartphone and tablet showing embedded video content (videos stored locally on the device) and interactive self assessment exercises:

The video we’ve embedded is from the Global Health Media Project

Mobile training course content and quizzes

Posting from Digital Campus blog:

We’ve recently been looking at how we can embed some of the Open University HEAT training content (for HEWs in Ethiopia) onto mobile phones and have these integrated alongside interactive self assessment questions (SAQs).

We restricted the content to just putting the introduction, learning outcomes, summary and SAQ for each of the study sections, otherwise there is far too much text content for users to comfortably read on screen – so this is designed to supplement (rather than replace) their existing course manuals.

The quizzes can be taken anytime, whether they have an internet (GRPS) connection or not, and results are submitted back to the mQuiz server (or stored for later upload if no connection is currently available). All the content and quizzes are stored directly on the phone. Users need an internet connection to initially log in, but once logged in they won’t need to re-enter their details (unless they log out or change their password).

Their SAQ results are stored on the phone, along with a ranking for how they have performed against others who have taken this assessment exercise.

Here is a quick demo video of this running on my mobile:

The next steps are to test embedding video and audio content.

mQuiz Updates

Looking back at my recent blog postings I realise that most seem to be just holiday/travel photos, so to show I have really been doing some work too, here is some info on the latest updates I’ve been making to mQuiz.

The big change is that now I have an HTML5 version, so you can run the quizzes in your browser (either on your normal PC/laptop or on your smartphone). The quizzes and results are cached, so if you happen to be offline you’re still able to take quizzes. The mobile browser version (at: supports all the same functionality as the Android application but will make the app available to more users (even those without smartphones). The browser version has a search feature and will suggest quizzes for you to take.

mQuiz running in Firefox on laptop

mQuiz running in Android emulator

The other change I’ve made is that the detailed list of results for a quiz are only available to the owner/creator of that quiz (previously these were available to anyone), although the overview results (average scores, average score by question) are still available to anyone who is signed in.

I’ll still be maintaining the Android specific app for mQuiz, but will probably spend more time focussing on the HTML5 version for now.

I’m sure there are still some kinks to work out and I have lots of ideas for functionality I’d like to add so will be working on these over the coming weeks. Any feedback welcome if you find something not working correctly. In the meantime test your knowledge of the periodic table.