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Supplementary material for all AOU courses

AOU Learning Management System

Copyright © 2004
Arab Open University and
the UNESCO – Cairo Office
(CI/INF Programme)

Administrator’s Manual
Staff tutors, course authors, and system administrators

Contents

Preface ................................................................................... 2
Creating new courses ............................................................. 2
Restoring existing courses ...................................................... 3
Managing users and groups.................................................... 4
Assigning tutors to groups and staff tutors to courses ............. 7
Quiz and TMA management...................................................10
Generating quizzes from existing question categories ............15
Authoring questions categories..............................................16
Importing new questions ........................................................18
Administering your course .....................................................19
Customizing your course........................................................22
Editing your course ...............................................................22
Adding audio and video to your course ..................................24
Adding mathematical equations and algebra .........................25
RSS feeds...............................................................................26
System maintenance and backup............................................27
Configuring the AOU-LMS ....................................................28
Appendix: Formats for importing questions ...........................39

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Preface

This manual is written to help the Arab Open University staff tutors, course
coordinators, course authors, and system administrators use the AOU learning
management system effectively and easily. AOU learning management system is a
customized version of an open source system called moodle. The information on this
document will help you do part or all of the following functions:

• Maintain the AOU learning management system at your branch.


• Maintaining user accounts such as adding a new users, uploading users,
importing new user accounts from a text file, editing user accounts, browsing
the list of user accounts, creating privileged accounts (administrators, course
creators), assigning tutors to course, and enrolling students to course.
• Creating and editing courses.
• Managing courses.
• Managing the site files.
• Configure the AOU learning management system such as configuring
variables that affect general operation of the site, defining how the front page
of the site looks, choosing how the site looks (colors, fonts etc), editing the
current language pack, managing installed modules and their settings,
managing installed blocks and their settings, choosing text filters and related
settings, and configuring automated backups and their schedule.

This document does not contain the installation procedure for the AOU learning
management system. The information for installing the system can be found on
moodle website www.moodle.org; yet we don’t recommend downloading and
installing the system from this site as the AOU version of moodle is different. The
customized AOU version contains added security and functionality to ensure smooth
implementation of AOU courses. If you need to upgrade or re-install the AOU
learning management system, please contact Dr. Abdel-Elah Al-Ayyoub
(ayyoub@acm.org) or Dr. Tarek Shawki (tshawki@mac.com) or refer to the
Installer’s Quick Reference.

If you are a tutor or a student, then you better consult the User’s Manual. There you
will find more information on how to use the AOU learning management system as
well as other sources of information on managing your account and course workspace.

Creating new courses

If the system contains no courses, you should create one and make a backup for it.
Creating a “dummy” course is a tricky method to restore the real courses from
existing backups taken on another installation (the start courses TU170, GR100, and
T171). To create a new dummy course login using the administrator account and then
click on the link Course in the Administration block. Next do the following:

1. If this is the first course in the system then the default course category is
named miscellaneous. You may add a new category or rename the existing
one if you wish.

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2. Click on the course category, and then click on the button Add a new course.
3. Leave all settings as is and then click on the button Save changes.

4. Next you can add teachers to the course. Skip this step by clicking on the
course code (CF101) in the top navigation bar as shown below.

5. This will take you to the course main page. Click on Backup in the
Administration block. Follow the steps without changes (click on Continue
until you see the message Backup completed successfully). Once you make the
backup you will be ready to restore the original course from this (dummy)
course.

Restoring existing courses

The AOU learning management system generates a directory to store all materials
related to a course. This directory is named using the course id; which is an integer
number (most likely it is 2 if this is your first course in the system). The course
directories are all stored into one folder. The location of this folder is “c:\moodledata”
in Windows and “var/moodledata” in Unix. Open this folder and try to find a
subfolder which the system created for the dummy course created in the previous
section. In that subfolder you will find another subfolder named “backupdata”. This is
where you should place the backups for your real courses. Copy the backups for the
course you want to restore to this subfolder and then follow these instructions:

1. Go back to the dummy course main page. If you logged out of the system then
login as administrator and click on the course name (it should “Course
Fullname 101” if you didn’t change it).

2. In the course main page, click on Restore in the Administration block. This
will take you to a screen similar to this one

Now restore the three courses GR100, TU170, and TU170 simply by clicking
on the link Restore next to file containing the back up for the associated course.
Follow the instructions as they are displayed to get the full real course
installed in your system. Finally, you repeat this step for the rest of the courses.

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Managing users and groups

The AOU learning management system has five types of user accounts. These are
student, tutor, staff tutor, course author, and administrator accounts. The table below
summarizes the access rights and privileges for each of these accounts:

Account type Privileges


Student Can access a set of courses and their related students resources
Tutor Can access a set of courses and their related tutor resources
Staff tutor Can edit a set of courses
Course author Can create new courses and edit them
Administrator Can do anything and go anywhere in the site

The administrator account is the only account through which other user accounts are
created, deleted, and altered. To administer user accounts click on the link Users in
the Administration block. On the user administration screen (see the snapshot below)
you can choose the method of authentication if users are allowed to sign up by
themselves. The confirmation is sent to the user's email address. This email contains a
secure link to a page where the user can confirm their account.

The administrator can add users manually or import users accounts from a text file. In
fact this the practical way of generating accounts for the AOU students. The system
administrator should do this at the beginning of each semester. Specifically, the
system administrator needs to do the following at the beginning of each semester:

1. Generate accounts for new students.


2. For each of the offered course generate the required groups. Clear old groups
from last semester presentation (un-enrol old students from the course).
3. Assign students to groups.

The first and the third steps can be done at one upload; however the second step needs
manual group generation within each course. This can be done by using the
administrator, a staff tutor, or the course accounts. The sequence below should help
you do this task:

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1. After you login, click on the course name so you enter the course main page.

2. If this is a new presentation for the course, then you have to un-unroll old students
from the course. You may do this from the course main page. Click on Students in
the Administration block. Finally click on the button Unenrol all students. That
will remove all students from the course. The black arrows will enrol/unenrol
individual users to/from the course. You don’t have to much to do with these
arrows at the moment.

3. Now go back to the course main page. Note that the navigation bar (the top line in
the above figure) always tells you where you are. Just click on the course name
(TU170 in the above example) in order to go to the course main page.

4. Click on Groups in the People block.

5. Click on Turn editing on to the top-right corner. The screen like the one shown
below will appear. Here you can generate new groups one-by-one. You better use
group names/numbers that match what you will get from the student information
system. Usually integer numbers starting from 1 are use to name groups in most
students information systems.

To add a group, type the group number in the box next to the button Add new
group, and then click on the button Add new group. Repeat this for all groups you
need to open. The course author may have generated default groups for you.
GR100, TU170, and T171 have 50 groups pre-generated for your convenience.
These will be displayed in the middle column as you can see in the figure below.
Add or delete groups as you see fit; yet note that the system does not check for
duplicate group names. So be careful not to add groups with duplicate names
(numbers).

That is all you need to do at this step. Adding students to groups will be done
rather automatic and form administrator’s workspace.

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6. Add new user to the system. You need administrator access to add new users to
the AOU learning management system. User accounts can be added manually
one-by-one (not a good method in our case) or uploaded from a text file all at once.
The format of the text file specifies the user information and the course they are
registered in. More specifically, The minimum amount of information needed
includes: username, password, first name, last name, email, preferred language, ID
number, mail display flag, course code, and group number. Here is an example of
a valid import file:

username, password, firstname, lastname, email, lang, idnumber, maildisplay, course1, group1
enas, enas, Enas, Ghandour, e_ghandour@arabou.org, en, 3663737, 1, TU170, 1
020584, 020584, Omar, Kahtani, o_kahtani@arabou.org, en, 020584, 0, TU170, 1
020584, 020584, Omar, Kahtani, o_kahtani@arabou.org, ar, 020584, 0, AR101, 4

:
Each line of the file contains one record. Each record is a series of data separated
by commas. The first record of the file contains a list of fieldnames which define
the format of the rest of the file. Do not use apostrophes or quotes.

Course codes follow the coding as in the AOU course codes. So far we have 4
courses developed on the AOU-LMS. These are GR100, GR100-Summer, TU170,
and T171. So, use these codes when uploading users.

Most of the fields are self-explanatory. The field idnumber is the student ID
(employee ID for tutors). Also the field maildisplay is a flag to tell the system
whether to publish users email.

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Commas within the data should be encoded as &#44 - the script will automatically
decode these back to commas. Boolean fields are filled with 0 for false and 1 for
true.

Note: If a user is already registered in the user database, this script will return the
userid number (database index) for that user, and will enroll the user as a student
in any of the specified courses without updating the other specified data. This will
help you upload students for each course separately as you don’t have to worry
about duplicates. Tutor accounts should also be added to this file to the group
he/she will be teaching. If a tutor teaches more than one group (for the same or
different course) then one account should created for each group. For example a
tutor who teaches 2 groups of TU170 and 1 group of T171 will receive THREE
accounts, one account for each of these groups.

So, the above amount of information will do the job for you. However, there are
other fields you may want to include:

Required fields: username, password, firstname, lastname, email. It is a good idea


to use the students’ IDs for username and password (same). This will simplify
dispatching account information to the students.

Default fields (if they are not included then the values are taken from the primary
admin): institution, department, city, country, lang, timezone.

Optional fields: idnumber, icq, phone1, phone2, address, url, description,


mailformat, maildisplay, htmleditor, autosubscribe, course1, course2, course3,
course4, course5, group1, group2, group3, group4, group5.

7. Once the text files are ready (here I am assuming you will prepare one file per
course) you can upload these files to the AOU learning management system. From
the administrator account click on Users in the Administration block. Browse and
then upload the text files one after another until users are created and assigned to
their groups.

Note: Make sure the contents of the user upload files are correct. Mistakes in
these files may lead to disastrous results. Removing accounts form the system is a
real pain; you have to do that one-by-one! Please be careful and let a second part
have a look at the file before you upload it.

Assigning tutors to groups and staff tutors to courses

Tutor, staff tutor and course creator accounts are created like any other account. They
can be added manually or uploaded through a text file with only the required fields

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(username, password, firstname, lastname, and email). Assigning tutors to groups, and
staff tutors to courses as well as defining course creators can be done from the same
place (Administrator – Users). The administrator can do all these assignments;
however the course author and the staff tutor can assign the tutors and staff tutors as
well. Thus it is a good idea to have the administrator assign staff tutors to courses
and then leave the tutor-to-group assignment for the staff tutor in each course.

The system administrator can assign staff tutors to any course by clicking on Courses
on the Administrations block. Click on the face icon next to the course name as
shown in the snapshot below.

Once you click on icon face you will see the list of teachers (tutors) assigned to this
course. Presumably the list is empty unless you have teachers from the previous
semester. Keep those continuing for this semester and remove the rest. You can
add/remove tutors by simply clicking on Add teacher and Remove teacher next to the
tutor’s name. Once you add a tutor, you make that tutor a staff tutor by doing the
following:

1) Select Yes for the edit option. This will give the tutor the privilege to change the
course and view all groups work. Most of this is in the staff tutor capacity.
2) Assign the title “Staff tutor" in the Role field. This will appear on the site's course
listing and also on the list of participants for the course. If you leave the role
empty then the default word for teacher will be used (tutor).
3) Order list so to put the staff tutor at the top. Simply select numbers from the
menus in the "Order" column. After pressing Save changes you will see the new
order.

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Note: If you use select "Hide" for a tutor, the tutor will not be shown on the course
listings or the list of participants. Hidden tutors will not be known to students unless
they post messages to the forums.

Up to this point we are able to add students to the system, assign them to groups,
define staff tutors for the course, and define course authors. The rest of the work will
be done the staff tutors.

A staff tutor can define tutors (and staff tutors as well) from the link Tutors in the
Administration box. The rest of the process is similar for what we have discussed
above for adding staff tutors. Be careful to search for the correct names and defining
then as tutors. A single mistake will case a student, for instance, to gain tutor access.
So it is important to designate tutor names. One idea is to have the students ID in
place of their last names and have their full name as first. This way a students called
Mohamed Ali with an ID of 020351 will be displayed as Mohamed Ali 020351. This
would minimize the probability of assigning wrong tutors.

Another important more for staff tutors: Be careful when saying Yes in the role field.
Keep in mind that a tutor who can change might end doing things that affect all the
groups. You may want to retain this privilege as given by the staff tutor and you allow
grant tutor access.

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Quiz and TMA management

This are two major tasks for a staff tutor. Managing the quizzes and TMAs need
timely actions fro the staff tutor. The staff tutor should set the TMA submission
deadlines early at the beginning if the course. Father deadline extensions should also
be promptly handled by the staff tutor. Students won’t be allowed to submit
assignments beyond the deadline.

There are a number of ways to get to the TMA editing screen (shown below). You
may use the Activities block on the course main page. Just click on Assignments to see
the list of TMAs in the course. To edit an assignment click it and then click on the
button Update this assignment which is located at the top right-corner. On the editing
the assignment keep everything as is except the date which might need to be adjusted
according to the course calendar. Change the date and time Due date in the screen
Editing assignment as appropriate and click on Save changes.

There are two types of assignments which you can choose for the assignment type;
these are offline activity or upload a single file. Offline activity is useful when the
assignment is performed outside of the AOU-LMS. Students can see a description of
the assignment, but can't upload files. Tutors can grade all students though, and
students will see notifications of their grades.

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The second type (upload a single file) allows students to upload a file of any type,
which might be a Word document, an image, a zipped web site, and so on. Tutors can
grade submitted assignments online.

The option Resubmitting assignments is set to no. If you allow resubmitting then
students will be allowed to resubmit assignments after they have been graded (for the
tutor to re-grade). This is useful if the tutor wants to encourage students to do better
work in an iterative process, which does not apply in the AOU case; hence you better
leave this option set to no. Obviously, this option is not relevant for offline
assignments.

The Maximum grade is an integer number which represents the weight of the
assignment from the overall total. In the AOU-LMS you can use customize scales for
grades other than integers. To create custom scales, use the Scales link in your course
Administration block.

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Quizzes are managed in a similar way; but with more caution and more frequent
updates. In a well-designed course the quizzes are generally ready-made so the staff
tutor will have little things to update. Let us first discuss the little, yet important, items
which should be updated every time a group of students enters the quiz. These items
are opening and closing the quiz, setting passwords, and setting the subnet ranges.
As a staff tutor you have to do all measures to make your groups quizzes available on
time and, most importantly secure. You tutors will tell you about the time and the lab
number in which their groups will take the quiz (this information might be available
from the study calendar and the courses schedules). Then your role is to do the
following:

Set the opening and closing times and dates for the quiz.
Set the quiz password.
Defining the subnet from which the quiz can be accessed.
Hide the course material during the quiz.
Inform the tutor about the password. The tutor should be requested to take all
necessary measures so the password dose not go outside the test lab.

As you know quizzes and final exams are serious matter at the AOU. Therefore, you
as a staff tutor must do your role in order to ensure smooth and credible exams and
quizzes. I will summarize below the meaning of the fields and how to set them.

Opening and closing the quiz: You can specify times when the quiz is accessible for
students to make attempts. Before the opening time, and after the closing time, the
quiz will be unavailable. By default, quizzes are set to past date.

Time limit: This is the maximum allowed time for the quiz. Once the students starts
the quiz, a floating timer window is shown with a countdown. when the timer has run
out, the quiz is submitted automatically with whatever answers have been filled in so
far. Tutors should be aware of this so their students won’t be surprised. If a student
manages to cheat and spends more than 60 seconds over the allotted time then the
quiz is automatically graded zero.

Password: The quiz password adds more security to the quiz. Students must enter the
quiz password before they are allowed to make an attempt on the quiz.

Subnet: This is used to restrict access for a quiz to particular subnets on the LAN or
Internet by specifying a comma-separated list of partial or full IP address numbers.
This is especially useful for a proctored quiz, where you want to be sure that only
people in a certain room are able to access the quiz. For example
192.168. , 192.168.12.0/23 , 231.3.56.211

There are three types of numbers you can use (you can not use text based domain
names like www.arabou.org):

• Full IP addresses which will match specific computers.


• Partial addresses such as 192.168 which will match anything starting with
those numbers.

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• CIDR notation♠ to specify more detailed subnets.

Shuffle questions: If you enable this option, then the order of questions in the quiz
will be randomly shuffled each time a student attempts the quiz. This is not related to
the use of Random Questions, this is only about the displayed order of questions. The
intention is to make it a little harder for students to copy from each other. This option
is enabled by default.

Shuffle answers: If you enable this option, then the order of answers within each
question will be randomly shuffled. Of course, this only applies to questions that have
multiple answers displayed, such as Multiple Choice or Matching Questions. The
intention is simply to make it a little harder for students to copy from each other.
Quiz attempts: This should be set to 1 as per the AOU regulations. In some trial
quizzes the students may be allowed to have multiple attempts at a quiz. This can help
make the process of taking the quiz more of an educational activity rather than simply
an assessment.

Each attempt builds on the last: If multiple attempts are allowed and this setting is set
to Yes, then each new attempt contains the results of the previous attempt. This allows
a quiz to be completed over several attempts. To show a fresh quiz on every attempt,
select No for this setting.

Grading method: When multiple attempts are allowed, there are different ways you
can use the grades to calculate the student's final grade for the quiz.

• Highest grade: The final grade is the highest (best) grade in any attempt.
• Average grade: The final grade is the average (simple mean) grade of all
attempts.
• First grade: The final grade is the grade gained on the first attempt (other
attempts are ignored).
• Last grade: The final grade is the grade gained on the most recent attempt only.

Feedback: If you enable quiz feedback, then students will receive question feedback
on every answer (right or wrong). In trial quizzes it is okay to give feedback, but in
official quizzes or final exams you must turn this option off.

Show correct answers: Dangerous option which should be turned off during AOU’s
official quizzes and final exams. If you enable correct answers, then the feedback will
show also show the correct answer for each question (highlighted in a bright color).

Allow review once quiz is closed: Dangerous option which migh expose the questions
database, so you better leave it off. If you enable this option, then students will be
able to review their past attempts at this quiz. This is only enabled once the quiz is
closed.

Maximum grade: The maximum grade you set for a quiz is what all grades are scaled
to. For example, you might set the max grade to 20, because the quiz is worth 20% of


Courseless Inter Domain Routing is a method for defining IP ranges. It uses the format xxx.xxx.xxx.xxx/n, where n is the
number of significant bits used to identify a network. For example, 192.168.12.0/23 represents the address range 192.168.12.0 -
192.168.13.255. It is simply 2(32-23) address starting from 192.168.12.0.

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the whole course. Even though you might have 10 questions in your quiz worth a total
of 50 marks, all grades out of 50 will be "scaled down" to the quiz max grade of 20. A
well-designed course should have this option set for you.

Hide the course material during the quiz: It is important to hide the course materials at
the quiz time. This is important because the students may manage to switch to the
course pages. To hide items from the course main page click on the button Turn
editing on and then click on the eye icon for the item you want to hide. You can hide
weeks, blocks, and particular items from the course main page. Don’t worry about
hidden items as you can allows show them from the same place.

Note: To save all change you made to the quiz setting you have to click the button
Continue and on the next screen click on the button Save this whole quiz.

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Generating quizzes from existing question categories

To construct a new quiz from an existing questions database, use the Add drop-down
menu in the course main page. If you can’t see this menu, then switch to the editing
mode (click on Turn editing on). Next you will be asked to fill in the details for the
quiz as discussed in the previous sections. Once you are done click on Continue. A
screen like the one below will show. On this screen select the question category, then
tick the questions you want to add to the quiz, and finally add the ticked questions to
quiz by clicking on the button Add selected to quiz.

You may edit the questions and you can also change the order of the questions by
clicking on the up or down arrows on the left.

You can add an arrangement (a subset) of random questions from a category. To do so


click on the button Create multiple questions then select the number of questions and
the grade for each question. The questions will be added to the quiz if you tick Add
questions to current quiz. The random question will pick a question not used on the
quiz.

Finally, you can weight each question from the Grade pull-down menu. Select a grade
weight for each question. If most questions are weighted as a “1,” then a weight of
“5” will be worth five times as much as the “1” questions. This is important as you
can use this to make matching questions worth more than normal questions. If most of
your questions are worth “1,” and you have 2 matching questions of 5 parts each, you
might want to make those worth “5” each to reflect that they have more parts. The
total of the quiz can be anything (it does not have to total 10 or 100). This total will be
“scaled down” to the maximum grade you set on the first screen.

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Once you have your quiz constructed and weighted, click on Save this whole quiz, and
the quiz will be added to your course.

Authoring questions categories

You can add a variety of different types of questions to a category. There are a
number of questions type you can add to any category. Of course naming the
categories should follow the course materials (e.g. unit1, unit2, etc.). Below we give
explanation for the different types of question.

Multiple Choice: In response to a question (that may include a image) the respondent
chooses from multiple answers. There are two types of multiple choice questions -
single answer and multiple answer. Single-answer questions allow one and only one
answer to be chosen. Generally all the grades for such a question should be positive.

Multiple-answer questions allow one or more answers to be chosen - each answer


may carry a positive or negative grade, so that choosing all the options will not
necessarily result in good grade. If the total grade is negative then the total grade for
this question will be zero. Be careful not to create questions that have scores greater
than 100%.

Finally, each answer (right or wrong) should include feedback - this feedback will be
shown to the respondent next to each of their answers (if the quiz itself is configured
to show feedback).

Short Answer questions: In response to a question (that may include a image) the
respondent types a word or short phrase. There may be several possible correct
answers, each with a different grade. If the "Case sensitive" option is selected, then
you can have different scores for "Word" or "word". You can use the asterix character
(*) as a wildcard to match any series of characters. For example, use ran*ing to match
any word or phrase starting with "ran" and ending with "ing". If you really do want to
match an asterisk then use a backslash like this: \* . Note that without wildcards the
answers are compared exactly, so be careful with your spelling.

Numerical questions: From the student perspective, a numerical question looks just
like a short-answer question. The difference is that numerical answers are allowed to
have an accepted error. This allows a continuous range of answers to be set. For
example, if the answer is 30 with an accepted error of 5, then any number between 25
and 35 will be accepted as correct. Numerical questions can also have case-insensitive
non-numerical answers. This is useful whenever the answer for a numerical question
is something like N/A, +inf, -inf, NaN etc.

True/False questions: In response to a question (that may include a image) the


respondent chooses from True or False. If feedback is enabled, then the appropriate
feedback message is shown to the respondent after answering the quiz. For example,
if the correct answer is "False", but they answer "True" (getting it wrong) then the
"True" feedback is shown.

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Matching questions: After an optional introduction, the respondent is presented with
several sub-questions and several jumbled answers. There is one correct answer for
each question. The respondent must select an answer to match each sub-question.
Each sub-question is equally weighted to contribute towards the grade for the total
question.

Embedded answers (Cloze): This very flexible question type is similar to a popular
format known as the Cloze format. Questions consist of a passage of text that has
various answers embedded within it, including multiple choice, short answers and
numerical answers. There is currently no graphical interface to create these questions
- you need to specify the question format using the text box or by importing them
from external files.

Random Short-Answer Matching questions: After an optional introduction, the


respondent is presented with several sub-questions and several jumbled answers.
There is one correct answer for each question. The respondent must select an answer
to match each sub-question. Each sub-question is equally weighted to contribute
towards the grade for the total question. The questions and answers are randomly
drawn from the pool of "Short Answer" questions in the current category. Each
attempt on a quiz will have different questions and answers.

Random Question: Random questions are a special question type. When you put a
Random Question into a quiz, then a question will be chosen randomly from the
whole category, on each attempt. The maximum grade for the question will always be
when you have chosen as the grade for the Random Question. If you make a quiz with,
say, 10 random questions, then each student may get a completely different set of 10
questions each time they attempt the quiz.

Note that you can mix random and non-random questions if you want to ensure that
particular questions are always included.

Description: This type of question is not really a question. All it does is print some
text without requiring any answers. It can be used to print a descriptive text to be used
by a following group of questions. This is useful in language tests where a passage is
followed by a group of questions.

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Importing new questions

This function allows you to import questions from external text files. The AOU
learning management system supports a number of formats. Below is a short
description for each of these formats. More detailed descriptions can be found in the
help files. When your upload file is ready you can upload it from quizzes – edit
questions links (Click on the Quizzes link on the Activities block). Select the format
and the browse for the upload file. Finally click on the button Upload this file.

A brief description of the import formats are given below. The full details of these
formats are annexed to the end of this manual.

GIFT format: The most comprehensive import format available for importing
questions from a text file. It was designed to be an easy method for teachers writing
questions as a text file. It supports Multiple-Choice, True-False, Short Answer,
Matching and Numerical questions, as well as insertion of a _____ for the "missing
word" format. Various question-types can be mixed in a single text file, and the
format also supports line comments, question names, feedback and percentage-weight
grades. Below are some examples:
Who's buried in Grant's tomb?{~Grant ~Jefferson =no one}
Grant is {~buried =entombed ~living} in Grant's tomb.
Grant is buried in Grant's tomb.{FALSE}
Who's buried in Grant's tomb?{=no one =nobody}
When was Ulysses S. Grant born?{#1822}

Aiken format: A very simple way of creating multiple choice questions using a very
clear human-readable format. Here is an example of the format:

What is the purpose of first aid?


A. To save life, prevent further injury, preserve good health
B. To provide medical treatment to any injured person
C. To prevent further injury
D. To aid victims who may be seeking help
ANSWER: A

Missing Word: This format only supports multiple choice questions. Each answer is
separated with a tilde (~), and the correct answer is prefixed with an equals sign (=).
Here is an example:

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As soon as we begin to explore our body parts as infants we
become students of {=anatomy and physiology ~reflexology
~science ~experiment}, and in a sense we remain students for
life.

AON: This is the same as Missing Word Format, except that after importing the
questions all Short-Answer questions are converted four at a time into Matching
Questions. Additionally, the answers of multiple-choice questions are randomly
shuffled during the import. It's named after an organization that sponsored the
development of many quiz features

Blackboard: This module can import questions saved in Blackboard's export format. It
relies on XML functions being compiled into your PHP.

WebCT: This module can import questions saved in WebCT's text-based format.

Course Test Manager: This module can import questions saved in a Course Test
Manager test bank. It relies on different ways of accessing the test bank, which is in a
Microsoft Access database, depending on whether the AOU learning management
system is running on a Windows or Linux web server. On Windows it lets you upload
the access database just like any other data import file. On Linux, you must set up a
windows machine on the same network with the Course Test Manager database and a
piece of software called the ODBC Socket Server, which uses XML to transfer data to
the AOU learning management system on the Linux server. Please read the full help
file below before using this import course.

Embedded answers (Cloze): This special purpose format imports just one type of
question, the Embedded Answers (also known as Cloze) format.

Custom: If you have your own format that you need to import, you can implement it
yourself by editing mod/quiz/format/custom.php. The amount of new code needed is
quite small - just enough to parse a single question from given text.

Administering your course

On the left-hand side of the screen are the administrative tools for your course. The
screen shot shows the contents of the administration block.

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The table below gives a brief description on the links in the administration block and
the function for each of these links.

Link Function
Turn editing on/off allows you to make changes to your course.
Settings allows you to change the look of your course (more on this later).
Tutors lists all the teachers for the course.
Students lists all of the students in the course. You can manually enroll or
unenroll a student from here.
Backup allows your course data to be backed up.
Restore allows you to restore old course data (that was backed up).
Scales allows you to define special scales for evaluation. These are made
up of word evaluations (i.e., Excellent, Good, Average, etc.)
Grades lists the grades of the tests and quizzes of each enrolled student.
Logs shows you all of the activity in your course for a set amount of time.
Files allows you to upload files to your course or to view any files that
are already there.
Help brings up the help pages for the system.
Teacher forum a teacher-only discussion board.

Settings: This allows you to change the look of the course. If you click on the Settings
link, you should see a screen where you will and will also be able to alter any of the
following fields:

1. Course title, full name code and summary.

2. Format. There are three different formats for the course – weekly, topic,
and social. The weekly format organizes the course into weeks, with
assignments, discussion boards, tests, etc. all residing in a week-by-week
block. The topic format organizes everything by topics (or units),
regardless of how long they take. The social format is built around a forum
(bulletin board), which is good for announcements and discussions.

3. Number of weeks/topics – this displays the number of weeks or the


number of topics displayed on your course page (the default is 10 weeks or
10 topics).

4. Group mode – This is the default setting for groups for the course. You
have three settings to choose from if you use groups:

• No groups – if this is set, the course is one big group. Everyone can
see everyone.
• Separate groups – if this is set, each group is separate – the groups
cannot see each other.
• Visible groups – if this is set, students belong to groups, but the
groups can see each other.

Force (setting related to group mode) – if this is set to “No,” then groups
can be assigned for each module added (each assignment). In this case, the
course group setting is the default setting, but that can be changed. If this

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is set to “Yes,” then the group setting cannot be changed at the assignment
level – the setting for the course level is always the setting.

5. Enrollment key – this is to keep students who are not registered from
joining.

6. Guest access – this controls if students without accounts can get into your
course.

7. News items to show – this sets how many news items to show for your
course. Any time you post something in the News forum (at the top of the
course page), the title will appear in the Latest news block. The number
you set here limits how many news items to post before old ones get
dropped. If you enter “0” for this menu, Latest news block will not be
displayed.

8. Show grades – this item sets whether or not students can see the grades
given them on any assignments that support grades (which is most of
them). By default, this is set to “Yes” so the student can see the grade you
gave. If this is set to “No,” then students can not see the grades that were
given.

Tutors: This link have been discussed in this manual.

Students: This link have been discussed in this manual.

Backup: Generally, staff tutors should not have to worry about backup. That should
be done by the administrator through scheduled backups, but if you do want to back
up your files, you click on this button.

Restore: If you have backup files you wish to restore to the system, click on this
button.

Scales: This screen allows you to create a word-based evaluation scale (like “fair,”
“excellent,” etc.)

Grades: This shows the grades of tests, quizzes and projects that students have done.

Logs: Logs show you the activity in your course for different days or times. This can
be useful to check to see if everyone has done a certain task.

Files: This allows you to upload files to the server. Students do not have access to
these files unless you link them to another part of the site (more on that later). A file
can be text documents, sound files, spreadsheets, and more.

Help: This links you t the system s help files.

Teacher Forum: This is a forum that is accessible by tutors only. It can be used to
discuss anything you like, but may be especially useful if face-to-face meetings are
difficult (if schedules conflict). It may also be useful for departmental discussions.

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Customizing your course

The AOU learning management system organizes all of the information on the sides
of the course page into units called blocks. Blocks can be moved around and turned
on or off to suit the needs of your course. All of the blocks (People, Activities,
Calendar, etc.) now have additional symbols showing. The symbols change the
appearance or the location of the individual block. The symbols look like this:

• The eye – if you click on the eye when it is open, it will shut. When the eye is shut,
you can see the block , but the students in the course can not see the block. If the
eye is shut and you click on it, it will open, and the block will be visible to the
students again.

• The “X” – if you click this symbol, the block will be deleted from your course
page. If you delete a block and want to show it again later, add it from the menu in
the Blocks block, which is located at the top right of the page (by default).

• The arrows – these arrows move the block in that direction. If you click on an up
arrow, the block will move up the screen. If you click on a down arrow the block
will move down. If you click on a right arrow, the block will move all the way
across the screen to the right-hand side of the screen. If you click on a left arrow,
the block will move to the left-hand side of the course screen.

Editing your course

This is where you add activities to your course such as discussion boards, journals,
tests, quizzes, online resources and more. To start editing your page, click on the
button Turn editing on to the left-hand side, or at the top right of the page. This will
change the look of the page slightly. Editing symbols will now appear next to existing
features, and an Add box will now be in each topic box (or week box if you use
Weekly format):

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For existing items (like News forum above) there is a series of symbols next to the
item. If you “hover” over each symbol with the mouse, it will tell you what the button
does. The right-facing arrow indents the item (for organizational purposes). If the item
is already indented, there will be a left-facing arrow to “un-indent” the item. The
double arrows move the item up or down in the list. The hand holding the pen edits
the item. The “X” deletes the item. The eye hides the item from students (or shows the
item if it is already hidden).

We can now add content to each week (or topic). Note next to the Add menus there is
a “?” symbol. This brings up a window that explains what each item is, in case you
need help. The first thing we can do is to add text to the week box (or topic box if
using topic format). To do this, click on the hand holding the pen in the box to which
you wish to add text. This will bring up the editing box (a simple html editor which
allows you to type your text). Add the summary, and click on Save changes. If you
change your mind about what you have typed, you can click on Revert and the
changes will not be saved.

On the Add menu has a pull-down menu from which you can add the desired activity.
The standard activities include Assignment, Chat, Choice, Forum, Glossary, Journal,
Label, Lesson, Quiz, Resource, Survey, and Workshop. There are more activities that
are not included in the standard insulation. Examples on these are Dialogue, Wiki,
Questionnaire, Appointment, Exercise, Scheduler as well as others. Please refer to the
User’s Manual for the short description on these activities. More detailed description
on these activities and they are added can be obtained from the system help menus.

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Adding audio and video to your course

AOU learning management system allows you to add audio to course modules
(forums, quizzes, etc.). There are two ways to do this: add the sound file as a resource
(this is a separate module), or add it as an embedded sound to the module you are in
(forum, quiz, etc.). Both methods are pretty straightforward.

Please note that for sound to work, upgrade multi-media plug-ins for AOU learning
management system. If these features do not work, then download the file
“mediaplugin.zip” and more its contents to the directory “filter/mediaplugin” in the
AOU-LMS root.

Adding sound as a resource: Make sure you are in edit mode in your course. Go to the
week (or topic) where you want to add the sound and select Resource from the Add
menu. This will take you to the resource edit screen. Type in a name for your sound
resource, and select Uploaded file from the Type of resource menu. Fill in a
description of the file in the Summary field. When you are done, click on Continue.
You will then see a screen where you can browse for your sound file. To find your file,
click on Choose or upload a file. This will bring up a new window that will show you
any files you have already uploaded. If your file is not yet uploaded, click on Upload
a file. You may type in the file path for the file you want or you may click on Browse
to search for it (browsing is much easier). Find the file you want, and double-click on
it (or click on it once) and select Open. This fills in the path for you. Click on Upload
this file, and the file will be moved into your course. Click on “Choose” on the right-
hand side to select the sound file you wish to use. The system will fill in the name of
the file for you. You may wish to check Display this resource in a new popup window
if you want that feature (the sound will open in a new window of the browser) . When
you are finished, click on Save changes. Your sound will now appear as a resource in
your course page. When you click on the resource, it will play for you:

Adding embedded sound: Adding a sound as a resource works well, but it requires
your students to click on the resource, which means opening another browser window,
or leaving the module they are in. The AOU learning management system has the
ability to embed sound in another module (like a forum or a quiz).

You can only add sounds that you have already uploaded to your course, and the
sound files should be in mp3 format. Other sound files formats will work, but mp3
files work the best. If you need to add a new sound, click on the Files link on the left-
hand side of the course main page. This will take you to the files section. To add a
new file, click on Upload a file. Click on Browse and find the file you want on your
computer.

Important: Please make sure your sound files are in mp3 format – other types of
sound files may cause problems! When you find the file you want,
double-click on the file and the system will fill in the information:

Click on Upload this file and the system will add the file to your course.

Now you can add the sound to a forum, for example, but it works the same way in any
module. Create a forum (or use an existing one). Go into your forum and find the

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discussion group to which you want to add the sound. Now you can use reply to an
existing message or start a new discussion with a sound. Fill in the body of the
message. At some point, add some text that will be a link to the sound (usually at the
end, but it does not have to be). To add the sound, use your cursor to highlight the text
that will link to the sound file then click on the link icon on the tool bar (it looks like a
chain). Click on the name of the sound file you want to play and add a title for the
sound file. You may also choose to have the sound open in another window and other
options under the Target menu, but the default None works just fine. When you are
finished, click OK. When you are finished, click on Save changes.

To hear the sound that was added, click on the play button and the system will play
the sound for you. If your sound plays faster than it should, you may need to change
the sample rate of your sound using a sound editing program.

Adding video: Adding video works the same as adding audio files. The AOU learning
management system supports Quicktime, Windows Media Player and Flash Player
formatted video. Video can be uploaded as a separate resource, or it can be integrated
into forums and other modules. We will skip the steps as they are similarly to what we
have discussed for audio.

Adding mathematical equations and algebra

The AOU learning management system supports TeX and Algebra notation to add
mathematical expressions anywhere in a module. Please note that your system
administrator must turn on support for TeX and Algebra for these functions to work.

Algebra: There are a couple of ways to add mathematical expressions. For very
simple expressions, you can use the superscript and the subscript functions in the html
editors. More complicated expressions (fractions, calculus, etc.) need more advanced
formatting, using the algebra filter. This filter uses coding to create mathematical
expressions. The good news is that it is very simple to use. The code looks like a
mathematical expression you would type (like x^2 = y), except you enclose it in
double “@” signs, like this: @@x^2 = y@@. The filter is flexible and can ignore
spacing: @@xy=z@@ is the same as @@ x y = z @@. The filter can make full use
of parenthesis for organization, so @@(length)/(height)@@ is a valid expression.

Here are some examples of what the input into the AOU learning management system
would look like, with the corresponding output.

@@x^2@@

@@A=pi r^2@@

@@dy/dx=3x^2/y^3@@

@@asin(x/y)@@

@@int(x/(x^2+4) dx)@@

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@@int(x/(x^2+4) dx,0,1)@@

@@sqrt(x^2+y^2)@@

@@sqrt(x^2+y^2,3)@@

@@x>=1@@

@@x<=pi@@

@@x<>infty@@

@@cos(x,2)+sin(x,2)=1@@

@@cosh(x,2)-sinh(x,2)=1@@

@@lim((x-2)/(x^2-4),x,2)=1/4@@

@@lim(x/(x^2+1),x,infty)=0@@

More complicated expressions – TeX: The AOU learning management system


supports TeX notation for more complicated mathematical expressions. TeX
expressions are always enclosed in double $. A TeX expression looks like $$sinx^2$$.
Since TeX expressions can be more complicated, I suggest sticking with algebra
notation unless you know TeX or need to learn it. For more information on TeX
formatting, see

http://www.math.uiuc.edu/~hildebr/tex/course/intro2.html
http://www.math.tamu.edu/~harold.boas/courses/math696/LaTeX-in-line-equations.html
http://abel.math.harvard.edu/computing/latex/manual/node21.html
http://www.matheboard.de/formeleditor.php

For a greate glossary on TeX commands, go to http://emathpool.net/login/index.php


and login as a guest.

To test TeX formatting live, go to http://moodle.org/filter/tex/texdebug.php or


http://yoursite.org/moodle/filter/tex/texdebug.php.

RSS feeds

The AOU learning management system supports outgoing (out of AOU learning
management system) RSS feeds. This option needs to be enabled by the system
administrator. Once enabled, RSS is available in the Forum and Glossary modules.

RSS (Really Simple Syndication) is a technology where visitors to your site can
choose to have the site send new postings to an RSS aggregator (a collector). RSS
allows a user to build a custom news service. When users “subscribe” to your RSS-
enabled page, they will get new postings from forums and/or new entries in glossaries
without having to visit your AOU learning management system site every day. The

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end user does need a way to collect the news-feed, called an aggregator. Some
aggregators can be found at:

http://www.bloglines.com/ (web based)


http://www.fastbuzz.com/main.jsp (web based)

or you can put RSS into a search engine to find more.

If you normally try to keep updated on what is happening on 10 or 15 different


webpages, RSS can help. If all 15 pages are RSS enabled, then you can put all 15 RSS
feeds into your one aggregator, and can see all the new things going on in all the
pages, but you only have to look one place.

RSS in Forums: When RSS is enabled, you will see two new questions in the Forum
setup. These are

• RSS feed for this activity: This turns RSS on or off for this forum. When
set to None, RSS is disabled. When set to Discussions the RSS feed will
send out new discussions to subscribers. When set to Posts, the RSS feed
will send out any new posts to subscribers.
• Number of RSS recent articles: This number sets the number of articles
that go out via RSS. If this number is set to 5, then the 5 most recent
articles will be sent to subscribers. As new posts (or discussions) get added,
the oldest post/discussion gets replaced on the RSS feed. If your forum
gets a lot of posts every day, you will want to set this number high.

When you enable RSS in your forum, your users will see an orange RSS button on
the main page of the forum (in the upper right-hand side). Now you (or your user) can
get the latest posts or discussions along with all the other RSS (news) feeds that you
are subscribed to.

RSS in Glossaries: The AOU learning management system’s RSS feed works almost
the same in the glossary module as it does in the forum module. The users then can
get the latest posts or discussions along with all the other RSS (news) feeds that you
are subscribed to.

System maintenance and backup

This is one of the main activities that should be setup be the system administrator. The
AOU learning management system has build in feature to schedule automatic backups
for courses. The screen below is self-explanatory. You can include the course
modules with or without the user data. You can also include user files, system logs,
and the course files so you get a complete backup for all courses. The system can
keep multiple versions of backups and also can store the backup files in the same host
or on a mapped drive on a different host; which makes more sense.

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Configuring the AOU-LMS

In this section you will find information on how to configure the AOU learning
management system such as configuring variables that affect general operation of the
site, defining how the front page of the site looks, choosing how the site looks (colors,
fonts etc), editing the current language pack, managing installed modules and their
settings, managing installed blocks and their settings, choosing text filters and related
settings, and other operations.

The screen shot below is taken from the Admin link in the Administration box (you
need to be logged in as administrator to see this link). The screen contains 6
categories of links which give you a lot of control over the site. These categories are
related to site layouts, user management, course management, logs, site files, and
database management. In this section we will look at the configuration, site files, and
database. The rest of the links are either straightforward or discussed earlier in this
manual.

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The configuration link allows you to configure variables that affect general operation
of the site, define how the front page of the site looks, editing the current language
pack, managing installed modules and blokes, choosing text filters and related settings,
and configuring automated backups and their schedule. This is really quite a lot of
functions, most of which require some elaboration which we will be doing next.

There is a set of variables that should be revise before the site is put into production.
These variables are set at the installation time; yet they can be re-visited and updated
whenever necessary. Click on the Variables link under the Configuration category. A
screen like the one shown below is displayed (the screen in the figure has been
modified to fit the page, yet all the variables are there).

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These variables affect the operation of the site; hence you better set them carefully.
The table below explains the meaning of each of these variables along with some
recommended values.

Variable Meaning
lang The default language for the whole site. Users can override
this setting later.
langmenu Display the general-purpose language menu on the home
page, login page etc. This does not affect the user's ability to
set the preferred language in their own profile.
langlist Leave this blank to allow users to choose from any language.
However, you can shorten the language menu by entering a
comma-separated list of language codes that you want (no
blanks after the commas). Example: en,ar
locale A site-wide locale which will affect the format and language of
dates. Leave blank to use local data on your operating system.
timezone The default time-zone. It recommended to use Server's local
time. User can override this by setting their own in their profile.
country The default country for all users. Leave blank to allow users to
choose a country.
smtphosts The names the local SMTP servers that AOU-LMS will use to
send mail (e.g. 'mail.arabou.org'; 'mail.arabou.org.bh'). If you
leave it blank, AOU-LMS will use the PHP default method of
sending mail.
smtpuser Set this only if you specified smtphosts and the server requires
smtppass authentication. Enter the username and password in these two
boxes.

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Variable Meaning
gdversion The version of the installed GD graphics library. The system
automatically detects this. Change it if you know otherwise.
htmleditor Choose whether or not to allow use of the embedded HTML
text editor. Even if you choose allow, this editor will only
appear when the user is using a compatible web browser.
Users can also choose not to use it.
maxeditingtime This specifies the amount of time people have to re-edit forum
postings, journal feedback etc. Usually 30 minutes is a good
value.
longtimenosee The time limit a student can be absent (haven't logged in). The
system automatically unsubscribe absent students from all
courses after this time limit.
deleteunconfirmed This option have been removed from the AOU-LMS. Students
cannot create accounts for themselves. However, If you are
using email authentication, this is the period within which a
response will be accepted from users. After this period, old
unconfirmed accounts are deleted.
loglifetime This specifies the length of time you want to keep logs about
user activity. Logs that are older than this age are
automatically deleted. It is best to keep logs as long as
possible, in case you need them, but if you have a very busy
server and are experiencing performance problems, then you
may want to lower the log lifetime.
sessiontimeout If people logged in to this site are idle for a long time (without
loading pages) then they are automatically logged out (their
session is ended). This variable specifies how long this time
should be.
sessioncookie This setting customizes the name of the cookie used for the
AOU-LMS sessions. This is optional, and only useful to avoid
cookies being confused when there is more than one copy of
the AOU-LMS running within the same web site.
zip Indicate the location of your zip program (Unix only, optional).
If specified, this will be used to create zip archives on the
server. If you leave this blank, then the AOU-LMS will use
internal routines.
unzip Indicate the location of your unzip program (Unix only,
optional). If specified, this will be used to unpack zip archives
on the server. If you leave this blank, then the AOU-LMS will
use internal routines.
slasharguments Files (images, uploads etc.) are provided via a script using
'slash arguments'. This method allows files to be more easily
cached in web browsers, proxy servers etc. Unfortunately,
some PHP servers don't allow this method, so if you have
trouble viewing uploaded files or images (e.g. user pictures),
set this variable to the first option.
proxyhost If this server needs to use a proxy computer (e.g. a firewall) to
proxyport access the Internet, then provide the proxy hostname and port
here. Otherwise leave it blank.
Debug If you turn this on, then PHP's error_reporting will be
increased so that more warnings are printed.
framename If you are embedding the AOU-LMS within a web frame, then
put the name of this frame here. Otherwise this value should
remain as '_top'
Secureforms AOU-LMS can use an additional level of security when
accepting data from web forms. If this is enabled, then the
browser's HTTP_REFERER variable is checked against the
current form address. In a very few cases this can cause
problems if the user is using a firewall (e.g. Zonealarm)
configured to strip HTTP_REFERER from their web traffic.

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Variable Meaning
Symptoms are getting 'stuck' on a form. If your users are
having problems with the login page (for example) you might
want to disable this setting, although it might leave your site
more open to brute-force password attacks. If in doubt, leave
this set to 'Yes'.
teacherassignteachers It is recommend to set this variable to No since tutors are not
allowed to assign other tutors within courses they teach. This
way only staff tutors, course creators, and administrators can
assign tutors.
allowunenroll It is recommend to set this variable to No since students are
not allowed to un-enroll themselves from courses.
maxbytes This specifies a maximum size that uploaded files can be
throughout the whole site. This setting is limited by the PHP
setting upload_max_filesize and the Apache setting
LimitRequestBody. In turn, maxbytes limits the range of sizes
that can be chosen at course level or module level.
fullnamedisplay This defines how names are shown when they are displayed
in full. For most mono-lingual sites the most efficient setting is
the default "Given names + Surname", but you may choose to
hide surnames altogether, or to leave it up to the current
language pack to decide (some languages have different
conventions).
extendedusernamechars Enable this setting to allow students to use any characters in
their usernames (note this does not affect their actual names).
The default is "false" which restricts usernames to be
alphanumeric characters only
forcelogin Normally, the front page of the site and the course listings (but
not courses) can be read by people without logging in to the
site. If you want to force people to log in before they do
ANYTHING on the site, then you should enable this setting.
forceloginforprofiles Enable this setting to force people to login as a real (non-
guest) account before being allowed to see the user profile
pages. By default this is disabled ("false") so that prospective
students can read about the tutors of each course, but this
also means that web search engines can see them.
opentogoogle If you enable this setting, then Google will be allowed to enter
your site as a Guest. In addition, people coming in to your site
via a Google search will automatically be logged in as a
Guest. Note that this only provides transparent access to
courses that already allow guest access.
enablerssfeeds This switch will enable RSS feeds from across the site. To
actually see any change you will need to enable RSS feeds in
the individual modules too - go to the Modules settings under
Admin Configuration.

In the site settings you can define the site names (long and short), front page format
(show the news, the courses, and so on), number of news items to be displayed in the
front page, and the way to name students and tutors. The screenshot below shows the
site setting and the recommended values. Note that you can add images and any
HTML code in here.

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Themes (or skins) define the look of a site. A number of simple themes are provided.
To view and select a theme, click on Themes. A screen like the below will sow.

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You may want to create your own theme with your own colors, logo, styles and
graphics. Each theme is in a subdirectory of the "theme" directory, and contains at
least the following files:

config.php: defines the theme colors used throughout the site.


styles.php: the style sheet containing CSS definitions for standard HTML
elements as well as many the AOU-LMS elements.
header.html: included at the top of each page. This is what you need to edit to add
a logo at the top of pages, for example.
footer.html: included at the bottom of each page.

To create your own themes do the following:

• Copy one of the existing theme folders to one with a new name (one of the
standard themes is recommended).
• Edit config.php and insert your own colors.
• Edit styles.php and change your CSS styles.
• Edit header.html and footer.html to add new logos, or change the layout.

Note that all these steps are optional - you can make a radically different look to your
site simply by editing the colors in config.php. Note also that future upgrades for the
system may break themes slightly, so check the release notes carefully if you are
using a custom theme. In particular, Moodle 2.0 will have a completely new display
system, probably based on XSL transformations of XML output from Moodle. It is
likely that the themes for this will be a completely different format, but the advantage
will be a much higher possible degree of customization (including moving elements
around the page).

Filters act on texts and change them in some way. There are a number f filters, here is
a list by some of these filters.

algebra this filter will convert Algebra code into nice GIF images. It requires the
tex filter to be installed (see below). (discussion)

mediaplugin this filter looks for links to various media and replaces them with a
proper plugin. For example, links to MP3 files gain a compact Flash
button.

Multilang this filter looks for <lang> tags which indicate that a text contains
multiple languages. It then selects and outputs the best language for the
current user.

Tex this filter will convert TeX code into nice GIF images. It requires a
binary program called MimeTeX - versions for Linux (glib2.3),
Windows and Mac OS X are included.

To activate a filter click on Filters under the configuration category. A screen like this
one will be displayed.

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Text cache lifetime: For larger sites or sites that use text filters, this setting can speed
things up. Copies of texts will be retained in their processed form for the time
specified here. Setting this too small may actually slow things down slightly, but
setting it too large may mean texts take too long to refresh (with new links, for
example).

Filter uploaded files: Enabling this setting will cause AOU-LMS to process all
uploaded HTML and text files with the filters before displaying them.

Blocks are those boxes which contain links categories. You can add, delete, and move
blocks. Some blocks have settings which can be modified. The screenshot below
gives an idea on what blocks are available and which of them have settings.

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There are standard modules that come with the system; but other are add-ons. Some
of these add-ons are underdevelopment so be careful when added unstable modules.
The screenshot below gives an idea on what modules are available.

The AOU-LMS gives a tool to manage files. The site files are accessible to all users,
however the course files are accessible to the course creator only. The screenshot
below gives an idea on how to manage site files.

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Moodle supports a increasing number of languages and there are more languages that
are been added constantly. In AOU-LMS we better stick to Arabic and English.
languages are well added yet sometimes we at the AOU may need to change little
terms here and there for time to time. To do so click on Language under the
configuration category. The screenshot below gives an idea on how to manage site
language. Click on the item name and see the language setting for that item (in the
figure below you see all terms used in the resource module).

Finally, the system keeps everything in a database (aoulmsdb in our case). If you have
experience with MySQL and moodle then you can edit this database to get around
code problems sometimes. Be careful not to change thiongs here unless you know
what you are doing. The screenshot below gives an idea on how to manage site
language.

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Of course you can edit the aoulmsdb from the MySQL shell, yet you can also edit the
database if have installed MySQL Admin add-on. To view and edit the aoulmsdb the
click on Database under the configuration category.

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Appendix: Formats for importing questions

Importing "GIFT" format files

GIFT is the most comprehensive import format available for importing AOU-LMS quiz
questions from a text file. It supports Multiple-Choice, True-False, Short Answer, Matching
and Numerical questions, as well as insertion of a _____ for the Missing Word format. Various
question-types can be mixed in a single text file, and the format also supports line comments,
question names, feedback and percentage-weight grades.

QUESTION TYPES

Multiple Choice:
For multiple choice questions, wrong answers are prefixed with a tilde (~) and the correct
answer is prefixed with an equal sign (=).
Who's buried in Grant's tomb?{~Grant ~Jefferson =no one}

The Missing Word format automatically inserts a fill-in-the-blank line (like this _____) in the
middle of the sentence. To use the Missing Word format, place the answers where you want
the line to appear in the sentence.

Grant is {~buried =entombed ~living} in Grant's tomb.

If the answers come before the closing punctuation mark, a fill-in-the-blank line will be
inserted for the "missing word" format. All question types can be written in the Missing Word
format.

There must be a blank line (double carriage return) separating questions. For clarity, the
answers can be written on separate lines and even indented. For example:

The American holiday of Thanksgiving is celebrated on the {


~second
~third
=fourth
} Thursday of November.

Japanese characters originally came from what country? {


~India
=China
~Korea
~Egypt}

Short Answer:
Answers in Short Answer question-type are all prefixed by an equal sign (=), indicating that
they are all correct answers. The answers must not contain a tilde.

Who's buried in Grant's tomb?{=no one =nobody}

Two plus two equals {=four =4}.

If there is only one correct Short Answer, it may be written without the equal sign prefix, as
long as it cannot be confused as True-False.

True-False:
In this question-type the answer indicates whether the statement is true or false. The answer
should be written as {TRUE} or {FALSE}, or abbreviated to {T} or {F}.

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Grant is buried in Grant's tomb.{F}

The sun rises in the east.{T}

Matching:
Matching pairs begin with an equal sign (=) and are separated by this symbol "->". There
must be at least three matching pairs.

Matching Question. {
=subquestion1 -> subanswer1
=subquestion2 -> subanswer2
=subquestion3 -> subanswer3
}

Match the following countries with their corresponding capitals.


{
=Canada -> Ottawa
=Italy -> Rome
=Japan -> Tokyo
=India -> New Delhi
}

Matching questions do not support feedback or percentage answer weights.

Numerical:
The answer section for Numerical questions must start with a number sign (#). Numerical
answers can include an error margin, which is written following the correct answer, separated
by a colon. So for example, if the correct answer is anything between 1.5 and 2.5, then it
would be written as follows {#2:0.5}. This indicates that 2 with an error margin of 0.5 is correct
(i.e., the span from 1.5 to 2.5). If no error margin is specified, it will be assumed to be zero.

When was Ulysses S. Grant born? {#1822}

What is the value of pi (to 3 decimal places)? {#3.1415:0.0005}.

Optionally, numerical answers can be written as a span in the following format


{#MinimumValue..MaximumValue}.

What is the value of pi (to 3 decimal places)? {#3.141..3.142}.

AOU-LMS's browser interface does not support multiple numerical answers, but AOU-LMS's
code can and so does GIFT. This can be used to specify numerical multiple spans, and can
be particularly usefully when combined with percentage weight grades. If multiple answers
are used, they must be separated by an equal sign, like short answer questions.

When was Ulysses S. Grant born? {#


=1822:0
=%50%1822:2}

Note that since AOU-LMS's browser GUI doesn't support multiple answers for Numerical
questions, there's no way to see them or edit them through AOU-LMS. The only way to
change a numerical answer beyond the first, is to delete the question and re-import it (or use
something like phpMyAdmin).

OPTIONS

In addition to these basic question types, this filter offers the following options: line comments,
question name, feedback and percentage answer weight.

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Line Comments:
Comments that will not be imported into AOU-LMS can be included in the text file. This can
be used to provide headers or more information about questions. All lines that start with a
double backslash (not counting tabs or spaces) will be ignored by the filter.

// Subheading: Numerical questions below


What's 2 plus 2? {#4}

Question Name:
A question name can be specified by placing it first and enclosing it within double colons.

::Kanji Origins::Japanese characters originally


came from what country? {=China}

::Thanksgiving Date::The American holiday of Thanksgiving is


celebrated on the {~second ~third =fourth} Thursday of November.

If no question name is specified, the entire question will be used as the name by default.

Feedback:
Feedback can be included for each answer by following the answer with a number sign (#
also known as a hash mark) and the feedback.

What's the answer to this multiple-choice question?{


~wrong answer#feedback comment on the wrong answer
~another wrong answer#feedback comment on this wrong answer
=right answer#Very good!}

Who's buried in Grant's tomb?{


=no one#excellent answer!
=nobody#excellent answer!}

Grant is buried in Grant's tomb.{FALSE#No one is buried in


Grant's tomb.}

For Multiple Choice questions, feedback is displayed only for the answer the student selected.
For short answer, feedback is shown only when students input the corresponding correct
answer. For true-false questions, the imported feedback is saved so that it will display if the
student chose the wrong answer. So, in the last example above, the student would see the
feedback only if they selected TRUE as their answer.

Percentage Answer Weights:


Percentage answer weights are available for both Multiple Choice and Short Answer
questions. Percentage answer weights can be included by following the tilde (for Multiple
Choice) or equal sign (for Short Answer) with the desired percent enclosed within percent
signs (e.g., %50%). This option can be combined with feedback comments.

Difficult question.{~wrong answer ~%50%half credit answer =full


credit answer}

::Jesus' hometown::Jesus Christ was from {


~Jerusalem#This was an important city, but the wrong answer.
~%25%Bethlehem#He was born here, but not raised here.
~%50%Galilee#You need to be more specific.
=Nazareth#Yes! That's right!}.

::Jesus' hometown:: Jesus Christ was from {


=Nazareth#Yes! That's right!
=%75%Nazereth#Right, but misspelled.

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=%25%Bethlehem#He was born here, but not raised here.}

Note that the last two examples are essentially the same question, first as multiple choice and
then as short answer.

Note that it is possible to specify percentage answer weights that are NOT available through
the browser interface. Such answer-weights will calculate correctly (according to the value
assigned when imported), and will appear normal to students taking the test. But such
answer-weights will not display correctly to teachers when editing them through AOU-LMS's
Edit Question interface. The pull-down menu only allows certain fixed values, and if the
answer-weight does not exactly match one of those predetermined values, then it will not
display correctly. If you edit such a question through the browser interface, the answer weight
will change to that displayed.

Multiple Answers:
The Multiple Answers option is used for multiple choice questions when two or more answers
must be selected in order to obtain full credit. The multiple answers option is enabled by
assigning partial answer weight to multiple answers, while allowing no single answer to
receive full credit.

What two people are entombed in Grant's tomb? {


~No one
~%50%Grant
~%50%Grant's wife
~Grant's father }

Note that there is no equal sign (=) in any answer and the answers should total no more than
100%, otherwise AOU-LMS will return an error. To avoid the problem of students
automatically getting 100% by simply checking all of the answers, it is best to include negative
answer weights for wrong answers.

What two people are entombed in Grant's tomb? {


~%-50%No one
~%50%Grant
~%50%Grant's wife
~%-50%Grant's father }

Special Characters ~ = # { } :
These symbols ~ = # { } control the operation of this filter and cannot be used as normal text
within questions. Since these symbols have a special role in determining the operation of this
filter, they are called "control characters." But sometimes you may want to use one of these
characters, for example to show a mathematical formula in a question. The way to get around
this problem is "escaping" the control characters. This means simply putting a backslash (\)
before a control character so the filter will know that you want to use it as a literal character
instead of as a control character. For example:

Which answer equals 5? {


~ \= 2 + 2
= \= 2 + 3
~ \= 2 + 4 }

::GIFT Control Characters::


Which of the following is NOT a control character for the GIFT
import format? {
~ \~ # \~ is a control character.
~ \= # \= is a control character.
~ \# # \# is a control character.
~ \{ # \{ is a control character.
~ \} # \} is a control character.

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= \ # Correct! \ (backslash) is not a control character.
BUT,
it is used to escape the control characters.
}

When the question is processed, the backslash is removed and is not saved in AOU-LMS.

Other Options:
Short Answer questions can be made case sensitive by changing "0" to "1" in the following
line:
$question->usecase = 0; // Ignore case

Other options are available through editing the import filter gift/format.php.

// EXAMPLE QUESTIONS for the GIFT import filter


// by Paul Tsuchido Shew, January 2004.

//-----------------------------------------//
// EXAMPLES FROM DESCRIPTION
//-----------------------------------------//

Who's buried in Grant's tomb?{~Grant ~Jefferson =no one}

Grant is {~buried =entombed ~living} in Grant's tomb.

Grant is buried in Grant's tomb.{FALSE}

Who's buried in Grant's tomb?{=no one =nobody}

When was Ulysses S. Grant born?{#1822:1}

//-----------------------------------------//
// EXAMPLES FROM DOCUMENTATION
//-----------------------------------------//

// ===Multiple Choice===

Who's buried in Grant's tomb?{~Grant ~Jefferson =no one}

Grant is {~buried =entombed ~living} in Grant's tomb.

The American holiday of Thanksgiving is celebrated on the {


~second
~third
=fourth
} Thursday of November.

Japanese characters originally came from what country? {


~India
=China
~Korea
~Egypt}

// ===Short Answer===

Who's buried in Grant's tomb?{=no one =nobody}

Two plus two equals {=four =4}.

// ===True-False===

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Grant is buried in Grant's tomb.{F}

The sun rises in the east.{T}

// ===Matching===

Matching Question. {
=subquestion1 -> subanswer1
=subquestion2 -> subanswer2
=subquestion3 -> subanswer3
}

Match the following countries with their corresponding capitals. {


=Canada -> Ottawa
=Italy -> Rome
=Japan -> Tokyo
=India -> New Delhi
}

// ===Numerical===

When was Ulysses S. Grant born? {#1822}

What is the value of pi (to 3 decimal places)? {#3.1415:0.0005}.

What is the value of pi (to 3 decimal places)? {#3.141..3.142}.

When was Ulysses S. Grant born? {#


=1822:0
=%50%1822:2}

// OPTIONS

// ===Line Comments===

// Subheading: Numerical questions below


What's 2 plus 2? {#4}

// ===Question Name===

::Kanji Origins::Japanese characters originally


came from what country? {=China}

::Thanksgiving Date::The American holiday of Thanksgiving is


celebrated on the {~second ~third =fourth} Thursday of November.

// ===Feedback===

What's the answer to this multiple-choice question?{


~wrong answer#feedback comment on the wrong answer
~another wrong answer#feedback comment on this wrong answer
=right answer#Very good!}

Who's buried in Grant's tomb?{


=no one#excellent answer!
=nobody#excellent answer!}

// ===Percentage Answer Weights===

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Grant is buried in Grant's tomb.{FALSE#No one is buried in Grant's
tomb.}

Difficult question.{~wrong answer ~%50%half credit answer =full


credit answer}

::Jesus' hometown::Jesus Christ was from {


~Jerusalem#This was an important city, but the wrong answer.
~%25%Bethlehem#He was born here, but not raised here.
~%50%Galilee#You need to be more specific.
=Nazareth#Yes! That's right!}.

::Jesus' hometown:: Jesus Christ was from {


=Nazareth#Yes! That's right!
=%75%Nazereth#Right, but misspelled.
=%25%Bethlehem#He was born here, but not raised here.}

// ===Multiple Answers===

What two people are entombed in Grant's tomb? {


~No one
~%50%Grant
~%50%Grant's wife
~Grant's father }

What two people are entombed in Grant's tomb? {


~%-50%No one
~%50%Grant
~%50%Grant's wife
~%-50%Grant's father }

// ===Special Characters===
Which answer equals 5? {
~ \= 2 + 2
= \= 2 + 3
~ \= 2 + 4 }

::GIFT Control Characters::


Which of the following is NOT a control character for the GIFT import
format? {
~ \~ # \~ is a control character.
~ \= # \= is a control character.
~ \# # \# is a control character.
~ \{ # \{ is a control character.
~ \} # \} is a control character.
= \\ # Correct! \\ (backslash) is not a control character. BUT,
it is used to escape the control characters. So, to
specify
a literal backslash, you must escape it with a
backslash
(as shown in this example).
}

//-----------------------------------------//
// EXAMPLES FROM gift/format.php
//-----------------------------------------//

Who's buried in Grant's tomb?{~Grant ~Jefferson =no one}

Grant is {~buried =entombed ~living} in Grant's tomb.

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Grant is buried in Grant's tomb.{FALSE}

Who's buried in Grant's tomb?{=no one =nobody}

When was Ulysses S. Grant born?{#1822:5}

Match the following countries with their corresponding


capitals.{=Canada->Ottawa =Italy->Rome =Japan->Tokyo}

//-----------------------------------------//
// MORE COMPLICATED EXAMPLES
//-----------------------------------------//

::Grant's Tomb::Grant is {
~buried#No one is buried there.
=entombed#Right answer!
~living#We hope not!
} in Grant's tomb.

Difficult multiple choice question.{


~wrong answer #comment on wrong answer
~%50%half credit answer #comment on answer
=full credit answer #well done!}

::Jesus' hometown (Short answer ex.):: Jesus Christ was from {


=Nazareth#Yes! That's right!
=%75%Nazereth#Right, but misspelled.
=%25%Bethlehem#He was born here, but not raised here.
}.

//this comment will be ignored by the filter


::Numerical example::
When was Ulysses S. Grant born? {#
=1822:0 #Correct! 100% credit
=%50%1822:2 #He was born in 1822.
You get 50% credit for being close.
}

Importing "Aiken" format files

The Aiken format is a very simple way of creating multiple choice questions using a clear
human-readable format. Here is an example of the format:

What is the correct answer to this question?


A. Is it this one?
B. Maybe this answer?
C. Possibly this one?
D. Must be this one!
ANSWER: D

Which LMS has the most quiz import formats?


A) AOU-LMS
B) ATutor
C) Claroline
D) Blackboard
E) WebCT
F) Ilias
ANSWER: A

The question must be all on one line.

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Each answer must start with a single-letter character, followed by a period '.' or a bracket ')',
then a space.

The answer line must immediately follow, starting with "ANSWER:" and then giving the
appropriate letter.

Importing "WebCT Quiz Format" files

The WebCT import filter is in development and does not support all of the WebCT question
types.

At the time of writing this, only Multiple Choice and Short answer questions are supported.

Here are some examples of these questions in a text file:

# Start of question: Short Answer Question


:TYPE:S:
:TITLE:Short Answer Question
:QUESTION:H
What is the name of the WebCT Learning Hub?
<br />
:IMAGE:dotcomLogoc.gif
:ANSWERS:1
:CASE:0
:ANSWER1:WebCT.com:100:0:20:0
:FEEDBACK1:H
Be sure to visit the Learning Hub\: www.WebCT.com
:CAT:Default
# End of question: Short Answer Question

# Start of question: Multiple Choice Question


:TYPE:MC:1:0:C
:TITLE:Multiple Choice Question
:FEEDBACK
Darwin invented the theory of evolution and created darwinism.
:QUESTION:H
Where is the Darwin Research Center?
:IMAGE:
:LAYOUT:vertical
:ANSWER1:0:H
Menlo Park, California
:REASON1:H
Sorry!
:ANSWER2:0:H
Vancouver, Canada
:REASON2:H
Sorry!
:ANSWER3:100:H
Galapagos Islands, Ecuador
:REASON3:H
Correct Answer!
:ANSWER4:0:H
London, England
:REASON4:H
Sorry!

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:ANSWER5:0:H
Sidney, Australia
:REASON5:H
Sorry!
:CAT:Default
# End of question: Multiple Choice Question

Importing "Course Test Manager" files

Course Test Manager is an "End of Lifetime" software package from Course Technology. It is
no longer being actively developed by Course Technology. It has been replaced by a new test
manager called ExamView. However, there has never been a migration path to allow this
format to be exported from CTM testbanks to any other common test format. This is why this
module has been written.

In order to import questions from CTM, you must have CTM installed on a Windows machine,
and have access to the MS Access data files on that machine. Two data files are required in
order to access the data files:

• System.mda - This file is in the top directory of your CTM installation, and is referred
to in MS access parlance as the "System Database".
• ctm.mdb - this is the database that contains the test bank questions. There is one of
these databases for each course installed in CTM. It is located in a directory one level
bellow your CTM installation directory.

The import process is somewhat different based on whether you're running AOU-LMS on
Windows or Linux. Regardless of what platform AOU-LMS is running on, you must have a
Windows system (Windows 2000 or Windows XP) on the same network as your AOU-LMS
system in order to host the Access database while importing test banks.

The process is somewhat easier on a Windows-based AOU-LMS system. All you need to do
to use the CTM import class is:

1. upload the system.mda system database to AOU-LMS using the file manager. It
doesn't matter what course you upload the system.mda file to. AOU-LMS will find it
regardless.
2. Crete your quiz and go into the "import questions from file" process. Upload your
chosen ctm.mdb database as the file to import. If you did this correctly, you will see
another screen that allows you to choose the sub-category of questions to import
from the database. The reason this step is here is that CTM test banks often contain
a large number of categorized questions, based on the chapters of the book or
sections of the course.

The process on a Linux-based AOU-LMS system includes a third-party software component


called the ODBC Socket Server. In order to import CTM databases on Linux, you must first
download and install this small network program on the Windows system that hosts your CTM
databases. Do not follow the installation steps outlined in the ODBC Socket Server
Installation. They're more complicated than they need to be! Instead, follow these steps to
install this program on your Windows system:

1. Go to the windows system and unzip the install file you downloaded from this site
(http://odbcsock.sourceforge.net/) on the system.
2. Copy the binary ODBCSocketServer.exe to a permanent location, such as your
system directory (probably C:\WINNT\ or C:\Windows) or your Program Files directory.
3. Install the ODBC Socket Server as a Service on the system with this command:
<path you copied the file to in the step above>ODBCSocketServer.exe /Service

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You may do this by typing this command from Start->Run... dialog, or from a
command prompt.
4. Open the Service Manager by either going to Start->Settings->Control Panels-
>Administrative Tools->Services or by right-clicking on My Computer, choosing
Manage, then choosing Services and Applications->Services from the right panel.
You may also access the Service manager by typing services.msc in the Start ->
Run... dialog
5. In the Service manager, right-click the ODBC Socket Server item and choose the
Start item. It's status should change to "started" when you do this. Note that you may
stop and/or disable this service completely after you've completed the import process.
6. Make sure that the system.mda and ctm.mdb access data files are on the machine,
and that the MS Access ODBC driver is present. It is installed in a standard Windows
installation. You can determine if it installed by opening the "Data Sources" item in
"Administrative Tools" and referring to the "Drivers" tab. You're going to have to
determine where CTM is installed and locate the system.mda file and the ctm.mdb
database or databases you're interested in importing data from. Make note of the full
local paths to these files as well as the IP address or hostname of the Windows
server. You're going to need this information for the import process.
7. Now you may import the testbank or testbanks into AOU-LMS. Crete your quiz and
go into the "import questions from file" process. NOW HERE'S WHERE THINGS
ARE DIFFERENT FOR LINUX - YOU MUST SPECIFY A DUMMY FILE IN THE
UPLOAD FIELD TO GET THE IMPORT PROCESS STARTED. THIS FILE WILL
NOT BE PROCESSED, IT'S JUST A PLACEHOLDER FOR THE IMPORT FORM.
YOU WILL GET A PLACE TO SPECIFY THE WINDOWS SERVER INFORMATION
NEXT. Next, you will get a screen where you can type in the hostname for the
Windows ODBC Socket Server machine as well as the paths to the system and
testbank databases. Type in the information you wrote down from the previous step
here and click "Connect to Server". If everything was set up correctly, you'll get
another form to allow you to choose the sub-category of questions to import from the
database. The reason this step is here is that CTM test banks often contain a large
number of categorized questions, based on the chapters of the book or sections of
the course. IF YOU GET TO THIS STEP WITHOUT ERROR MESSAGES, YOU
HAVE SET UP THE SOCKET SERVER CORRECTLY AND YOU'RE ABOUT TO
IMPORT QUESTIONS TO AOU-LMS!

If you received error messages during this process, you may find this technical information
useful. The ODBC Socket server uses port 9628 to open a socket and trade and XML query
for an XML result table of the query results. The import class parses that XML and use it just
like I use a local query to do the importing.

AOU Learning Management System – Administrator’s Manual 2004 © – AOU and the UNESCO Cairo Office Page 49 of 50
The document is prepared and compiled by Dr. Abdel-Elah Al-Ayyoub
(ayyoub@acm.org) with the support of the UNESCO, Cairo Office, CI/INF
Programme (Dr. Tarek Shawki tshawki@mac.com)
Please send your feedback and corrections to us.

AOU Learning Management System – Administrator’s Manual 2004 © – AOU and the UNESCO Cairo Office Page 50 of 50