Multiple Users on one Freestanding Computer

suzanneb
suzanneb Community Member Posts: 32
I posted this question a week or so ago as a response to a 2010 posting. Since I have received no replies, I decided to post the question as a new topic, since it is an important issue for my company as we are researching Lectora's capabilities.

While we currently publish courses for companies that use an LMS, as well as for individuals, and hope to expand to mobile distribution, by far the largest segment of our customer base is for companies that do NOT use an LMS. Due to the nature of their business, educational offerings are not allowed to require internet access, so we publish to CD and the business loads the course to one or more specific computers in their training area.

This creates a problem with Lectora's native functioning with regard to saving of student data, since the data for each new person using the same computer would simply be mixed with data from anyone else previously using the same course on that computer.

With the product that my company uses currently, we had a “login shell” created that the student uses to enter the course. The shell saves the required student data in an XML file on the C drive of the “shared” computer. A unique student ID + password combination is used to access and store the data, including bookmarking, a few chapter quiz scores, and the time spent in each chapter of the course (and any other unique student data that is saved by the program). After successfully logging in via the shell, code was written so that the specific user variables for that student are retrieved and loaded to the courseware variables as the student actually enters the published course. When the student exits the course, the updated student variables are saved back to the XML file. This has worked well for many years now. Unfortunately, the product we’re using is a Flash-based product, so we are looking to replace it with software that can produce output for mobile devices as well as PCs.

Is anyone aware of something like this being created to use with Lectora? This is a large concern for us as we look for a new product because it affects such a great percentage of our customer base.

Is this a project someone already has or is willing to tackle? We have not yet purchased Lectora because we are still in the review process of determining if Lectora can fully meet our needs; this topic being one of several items on the list. I assume we are not supposed to discuss fees and such on this community site, but if someone has the knowledge and capability to do this, would like to know how to contact them on a more direct basis to get some estimates.

 

Comments

  • ssneg
    ssneg Community Member Posts: 1,466 ☆ Roadie ☆
    Couple of ways to achieve this, off the top of my head.

    1. You can install an existing open-source LMS locally. Then logging into the LMS and running any content, Lectora or non-Lectora, will work without internet connection just like it would online.

    2. You can create a browser-based local shell that would be able to read and write same type of XML files and display any Chrome-compatible content built in Lectora or other tools. This is essentially you writing your own mini-LMS.

    Also, how are you planning to produce mobile-ready content if students cannot access it on mobile phones, only on a shared PC? Anyhow, Lectora is really good for building mobile and desktop courses, and also for building content for integration with non-standard platforms (like your local shell).
  • klaatu
    klaatu Community Member Posts: 988
    This won't solve the multiple users on one pc, however, if you set up a local server, such as WAMPP or XAMPP you'll be able to host the content on the local computer and serve it up to connected mobile devices via localhost. This is how I test all my mobile content (both Lectora and regular web design work).

    Sergeys, #1 suggestion is probably your best bet. Look into Moodle.
  • ssneg
    ssneg Community Member Posts: 1,466 ☆ Roadie ☆
    BTW have you noticed that the recent build of Lectora 16 actually includes a local web server so you can preview stuff on mobile phones (as long as they are on the same network as your workstation)?
  • suzanneb
    suzanneb Community Member Posts: 32
    Good suggestions, if we were producing content for our own company to be used within our own company. However, that is not the case. We produce educational materials that are used by several diverse groups, one of which is comprised of many different companies across the country and even several locations outside the country, the majority of which do not have an LMS. Each location is unrelated to the other. We have to provide a product that will work within their existing system; we have no control over their computer set-up. As far as the question about mobile deployment, a different segment of our users includes individuals outside of the corporate setting. They would be our targets for the mobile courses, not staff at the facilities. I'm not even sure if Sergey's 2nd suggestion would be an option, since right now Chrome is not the browser in use at most of these locations; not sure if we possibly could overcome that or not. And, even if we could, we do not have the expertise to create that programming ourselves.

    I guess this leaves me a little discouraged about our possibilities with Lectora, which otherwise seemed to be the leader among the products we've reviewed. If we published for web access (as opposed to CD, then loaded to the computer), wouldn't we run into the same problem if different students accessed the course using the same computer? Not sure if this even is an option; the prior non-internet course requirement was due to security and privacy issues at these locations, so would have to see if any exceptions to the rule would be allowed. Just trying to find some way around this issue.
  • klaatu
    klaatu Community Member Posts: 988
    Sergey, it does? How do you access the preview? With Wampp you need to put the content in the designated www folder. How does the Lectora local server work?
  • ssneg
    ssneg Community Member Posts: 1,466 ☆ Roadie ☆
    Darrel, Lectora now runs a small webserver in the background. So when you click preview, instead of putting the files at something like "c:/users/yourname/temp/lectora/page_12.html", it puts them into the "www" folder of the server automatically and points the browser to preview at something like "http://localhost:3750/page_12.html" (writing off memory here). Same thing happens when you publish the whole course and then click "preview" - it puts the content on the web server so you can access "http://your-computers-ip-in-your-lan:3750" to view the content on your phone.

    Suzanne, I don't think that your problem has anything to do with Lectora. There are two distinct kinds of software:

    1. Learning management platforms (LMS) that, well, manage your learners, provide them with credentials, control access to learning materials, store progress and completion data, provide reporting. Examples: Moodle, Blackboard, CourseMill.

    2. E-learning authoring tools are used to, yes, author e-learning materials. Create pages, add texts and images, create quizzes, insert interactions, add media, etc. They output a set of HTML files that should be put into an LMS. LMS provides learners with access to the materials and stores results of interactions, etc. Examples of authoring tools: Lectora, Captivate, Storyline.

    No authoring tools task themselves with LMS features (e.g. student registration, access control, data storage, reporting) and, conversely, LMS usually provide very limited authoring capabilities.

    So whether you choose Lectora or not, you will still have to find a way to put the produced materials on the local PCs, create some learner access interface, store learner progress and provide reporting.
  • klaatu
    klaatu Community Member Posts: 988
     

    Sergey, have you actually been able to connect to this server and preview on s mobile device? I tried and can't connect.

    I see the URL on the workstation but can't connect to it on the mobile. It would be time saving (not too much, but everything counts) to be able to do this without starting WAMMP and moving the files to the WWW folder.

    I opened up port 3750 in the firewall. Both the computer and my phone are connected to the same network.

    Any idea's?
  • ssneg
    ssneg Community Member Posts: 1,466 ☆ Roadie ☆
    Works for me (see pic). So you just need to troubleshoot your network.
  • klaatu
    klaatu Community Member Posts: 988
    Thanks, Sergey. I'll figure it out. That was a good observation about the URL, I never noticed it.