HTML-based tutorials?

Subject: HTML-based tutorials?
From: "Geoff Hart (by way of \"Eric J. Ray\" <ejray -at- raycomm -dot- com>)" <ght -at- MTL -dot- FERIC -dot- CA>
Date: Sat, 12 Dec 1998 04:53:20 -0700

For an upcoming project, we've been asked to create an instructional
package that can be used both on CD-ROM and on the Web. Because of
various constraints (no money to acquire and learn to use something
as sophisticated as Authorware or Guide, and no staff time to
develop those proficiencies), we've decided to go with a solution
based on simple, (relatively) browser-independent HTML. In short,
we're going to focus on what we do best (creating content) rather
than on flash and glitter.

We've protyped the product, and it looks like we'll get what we want
to get; we'll use Web-optimized graphics for the Web version, and
more complete or detailed graphics (e.g., Quicktime video snippets,
high-res photos) for the CD-ROM version. This isn't true
single-sourcing, but given our various constraints, we expect the
results to be acceptably close to single-sourcing.

We'd like to consider the option of including a computerized test
within the body of the instructional material. For the "train the
trainer" version of the product, a printed test that students submit
in writing is probably the best option, since this fulfills certain
legal requirements for documentary proof ("yes, Fred took the course
and passed; no, John didn't, and we recommend that you don't let him
drive your trucks anymore"). But for people who will be self-training
and those who do their studying over the Web, we'd like to provide
some method of letting the computer assess their performance rather
than making them record their answers and do it manually. (In both
versions, clicking on an answer in the test will take you to a page
that explains why the answer is right or wrong, then returns you to
the rest of the test, to redo the question if you're wrong or move on
to the next question if you're right.)

Does anyone have recommendations for a Web-based tool (e.g., a
specific CGI script) that will total up correct answers to provide a
final grade? We could always use e-mail based forms that send the
completed test to us for grading, but I don't want to add that to our
workload. How about something HTML-based that will be independent of
the operating system (i.e., so that users of the CD version can get a
grade whether they're working on PCs, Macs, or UNIX)? I suspect a
Java application may be our only choice, and though we do have a
small budget for programming, it would be better to obtain a
commercial product if one exists.

Please respond to me privately as well as on list, and I'll summarize
the results. Thanks!
--Geoff Hart @8^{)}
geoff-h -at- mtl -dot- feric -dot- ca

"Patience comes to those who wait."--Anon.


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