Posts Tagged ‘SCORM’

Moodle 2.2 SCORM Reporting improvements and GSOC

Monday, August 15th, 2011

Ankit Agarwal has been working on restructuring the SCORM reporting code as part of a GSOC project this year. This now allows the standard Moodle plugin functionality to the reporting interface in SCORM – developers can write their own SCORM report plugins and drop them in place in the same way installation of a block/module/standard plugin is done in Moodle.

The initial work involved a large amount of restructuring and very limited (if any) differences in the UI to users…. but Ankit has just finished a new “interactions” report that displays SCORM interactions in a more readable manner – This report is currently available in MDL-28277 and will probably become part of Moodle 2.2 core very soon. This interactions report is something that has been requested a lot in the forums and will hopefully allow teachers to make a lot more sense out of the data that SCORM presents.

Kudos to Ankit for his hard work on this project – it will be interesting to see any new SCORM report plugins that are developed and hopefully the new interactions report provides a useful addition to the SCORM reporting in Moodle! Thanks heaps to Google for funding Ankit’s time to work on the project!

Moodle 2.2 SCORM 2004 and GSOC

Monday, August 15th, 2011

Mayank Gupta has been working on a new test harness that allows us to automatically run the SCORM ADL 1.2 and 2004 tests as part of a GSOC project this year. This also means we can start to run the 1.2 and 2004 tests during Moodle’s weekly integration review to make sure that any new code hasn’t broken SCORM compliance. Previously, running the tests has been a very time consuming task – even for SCORM 1.2 with just 2 SCORM packages to test… SCORM 2004 has 189 different SCORM packages that need testing!

As part of Mayank’s work a small number of SCORM 2004 issues have been resolved in Moodle 2.2 and hopefully with the automated test harness in place it will help to progress with other SCORM 2004 bugs.

If you would like to keep track of Moodles SCORM 2004 progress, add yourself as a watcher to MDL-7068 where each SCORM 2004 test has been added as a task.

If you would like to install the test harness and check it out in action – see the instructions here:

One of the challenges we faced was loading 189 SCORM packages into a Moodle Course – I knocked up a quick script to import bulk SCORM packages that is available on MDL-17822 if anyone is interested!

Mayank’s work has been a valuable contribution and I’m personally appreciative of the effort he put into the test harness – it’s going to save me a LOT of time – and hopefully help to prevent any SCORM regressions from appearing in new versions of Moodle! – and thanks heaps to Google for helping to fund Mayank’s time to do the work!

IE7 and XMLHttpRequest

Wednesday, July 13th, 2011

I’ve spent a big part of the last week of my time lost in the abyss of IE 7 and XMLHttpRequest as part of MDL-28295 – it seems that under certain conditions a call to XMLHttpRequest crashes IE 7 when called from a child window….

Posting here in case someone else runs into this weird bug in the hope that it might save someone some time!
Pseudo code:
httpReq = new XMLHttpRequest();“POST”, url,false);
httpReq.setRequestHeader(‘Content-Type’, ‘application/x-www-form-urlencoded’);

When “param” contains something like this it works fine!

but when “param” contains something like this – it crashes IE 7:

Initially I thought the encoding might be the issue and encoding the params using encodeURI() seemed to work – but further testing found it was still an issue.

The fix was to re-structure the code so that it didn’t call the code from a child window but from within the “parent” window…. crazy….


Monday, April 25th, 2011

We’ve just accepted 2 GSOC students to improve the SCORM module in Moodle.

Mayank Gupta will be working on a SCORM Test Harness to allow us to automatically run the SCORM ADL tests on the latest code – this has previously been a time consuming process and can only be performed in IE – this will greatly improve our existing code review process and help to identify the issues with SCORM 2004 support and allow ongoing development without breaking compatibility with previous tests, for more information on this see MDL-26912 – a secondary task for Mayank is to add tracker issues for the failing SCORM 2004 tests and if he has time suggest fixes for a few of them as well.

Ankit Kumar Agarwal will be working on improving the quiz reporting in SCORM – presenting the responses to quiz questions (if the SCORM package reports them back to Moodle) in a more readable manner – for more information on this see MDL-27256 , a secondary task for Ankit(if he has time) is to look at some of the SCORM 2004 tests that are failing and suggest fixes for them.

SCORM Bug update

Tuesday, July 13th, 2010

In preparation for Moodle 2.0 we’ve been going through all the outstanding SCORM bugs in the tracker and have merged many of the fixes into 1.9Stable – we’ve closed over 30 bugs in the past 3 weeks with a range of issues from grading to support of buggy SCORM packages. Piers has also been working on a new SCORM player to hopefully fix a range of issues people have had with the old one – it’s based on the new player that Petr Skoda wrote for the new IMSCP Module in Moodle 2.0.

2.0 is looking like a great release!

Moodle and SCORM 2004 – certified already?

Sunday, November 1st, 2009

now that I’ve got your attention…. The guys at Rustici have written an plugin for Moodle to connect to their Commercial hosted SCORM player – which is SCORM Certified for 1.2 and 2004

Bascially, they “host” your SCORM object on their SCORM Cloud, and the Moodle plugin redirects the user to their site, and allows their site to pass back information like the grade and duration data. The Moodle module is free to download, and you pay Rustici for “hosting” your SCORM objects. You can create a free demo account to test their SCORM Engine but to use on a production site, you will need to pay them for the hosting.

The Moodle code and the SCORM Cloud are still in beta, (I’ve just had a quick look through the beta code and reported a couple of small issues) but in the near future, this could be an easy answer to those RFP’s that require a SCORM 2004 checkbox to be ticked.

something like this could be used in those RFP’s(and in the moodledocs):
Moodle 1.9.5 is SCORM 1.2 Compliant and Certified, it supports some SCORM 2004 content, but if SCORM 2004 certification is required then the commercial Rustici SCORM Cloud can be used to host SCORM objects that require full SCORM 2004 support

With the availability of the Rustici engine at an affordable price, the urgency for getting the SCORM module in Moodle SCORM 2004 compliant/certified has definately decreased.

SCORM Engine

Wednesday, May 27th, 2009

I’ve just noticed this post on Rustici’s Blog -they’ve also mentioned in the past about the possibility of offering a commercial plugin for Moodle and their SCORM engine.

One of the questions posed on their post is:

Q: Would open source adoption increase revenue substantially?
A: Doubtful. If the SCORM Engine were part of Moodle, for example, would any Moodle user come to us for a support arrangement? Or would they go to a Moodle host? Would we continue to appear to be a distinct entity in the eyes of a user? We don’t think so, and given that, what’s the positive impact for us? (It is, after all, about us, in some respects.)

While this may seem selfish to some people in the open source community – it’s also a very important one that many open source communities battle with! Rustici is a Business that needs to make money to pay employees so they can pay their mortgages etc… I presume a large amount of their income comes from the licensing of their SCORM engine.  SCORM LMS development isn’t cheap – and it’s not always easy to find someone to fund the full development work, but it’s not as hard to find people willing to pay smaller amounts of money to get a SCORM compliant Engine! – So when SCORM 2.0 comes out finally – Rustici may be in a better position to spread the cost of development across a larger group of clients rather than the traditional Moodle method of a single up-front cost.

But eventually, an Open Source based LMS will implement SCORM 2004 and then 2.0 (maybe) – we’re hoping this will happen for Moodle soon! – So any income that Rustici receive for licensing may decrease significantly when that happens. But – if the SCORM engine in Moodle was an open-source engine from Rustici – then the profile Rustici would get from this integration could improve Rustici’s revenue rather than decrease it!

So will Rustici release an open source version of their Engine? – I would love to see it happen, but I don’t think it is likely at this stage! – in the meantime it will be good to see a commercial offering from them to allow people who really need compliance/certification inside Moodle to have a viable option!

SCORM 2004 in Moodle

Saturday, May 23rd, 2009

Now that we’ve manged to get Moodle 1.9 Stable to pass all the SCORM 1.2 tests, there’s been a lot of talk between Moodle Partners and other Moodle users about SCORM 2004. I’ve posted about this in a few places in the forums 1 2 and I’ve sent various e-mails to a range of interested users! – here’s my attempt at summarising it all in one post!

To get to where we are today took 3 months of solid funded work (thanks to Moodle HQ) from 1 full time Senior Developer(Piers), with 1 part-time Senior Developer supporting(me). This included closing approximately 160 issues in the Moodle Tracker, and modifications to support the ADL test suite.

The SCORM 1.2 test suite comprises of 2 test packages. SCORM 2004 contains 103 test packages, of which Moodle currently passes 2 (at least it did last time Piers ran the tests) – It’s really hard to define how much time it would take for us to complete SCORM 2004 so it passes all the different tests!

Sequencing and Navigation is a big chunk of SCORM 2004 that isn’t implemented – we expect that once this work is completed a bunch of the test packages will pass. I’ve seen estimates that put completion of SCORM 2004 work at 6-8 months or even more! – there are also a range of SCORM 2004 bugs that are related – for more details see MDL-7068

We’re currently attempting to source an initial 3 months worth of funding to continue work on SCORM 2004 – we believe that 3 months would be a worthwhile effort,  at the end of which we would have an accurate picture on what it would take to complete! – bounce me an e-mail if you might be able to help fund this! –

Less than 20 bugs in SCORM!

Sunday, December 7th, 2008

We’ve managed to get the bugs in SCORM down to 17 issues! 7 are related to SCORM 2004, 6 are feature requests, and the remaining issues have a low impact for people using SCORM!

This past couple of weeks the following issues have been resolved:
MDL-17115 – Improved API check, which greatly improves the speed in which a SCORM object loads/performs for a user.
MDL-16651 – ability to delete SCORM responses
MDL-12588 – Restrict SCORM module availability via time/date duration (only in 2.0)
MDL-17034 – Update Frequency not enforced
MDL-11908 – allow skip content page with Multiple SCOS
MDL-11501 – improved control over SCORM content (2.0 only)
MDL-16123 – improved method of accessing external scorm objects via proxy

A couple of other small ones have been fixed too!

Of the remaining issues, MDL-16184 is probably the highest priority, then there’s all the SCORM 2004 work that needs to be done. We really need to put together a costing/quote to get the SCORM 2004 stuff finished so we can raise some $$ to continue to work solidly on SCORM

I’ve been impressed with the number of people helping out in the SCORM forum on recently! Thanks to everyone who has helped in the forums and in the Bug Tracker! There also seems to be a decline in the number of people asking for help using older versions of Moodle which is great! – I’ve tried to improve a lot of the SCORM Docs/Faqs to help with this as well.

SCORM 1.2 Certification in Moodle

Wednesday, November 12th, 2008

Roberto Pinna did some great groundwork setting the SCORM module up, but unfortunately ran out of time to devote to it, and since then, SCORM in Moodle had really taken a dive! :-( – it’s became unreliable, there was a mounting list of bugs, and forum posts sitting with no response. Piers Harding and I took up the challenge to tackle the “Beast” and see if we could make it a bit more reliable, and compliant!

The first task of cleaning out the Moodle Tracker has been a mammoth one, sifting through a range of duplicates/bad SCORM packages, and red herrings! We’ve finally got the tracker into a manageable state (32 issues as of the time I write this post!)

Thanks to Piers hard work getting the ADL Self-Test Suite working – Moodle 1.9.3 and Moodle 1.8.7 both pass all tests in the test suite! – we’re hoping to get “Official Certification” at some point! – I hope we get a fancy logo to display somewhere on the site! :-)

One of our constant battles at the moment is the number of people requesting help in the forums with older versions of Moodle – with the number of bugs fixed in Moodle 1.9.3 and 1.8.7 it’s really hard to gauge whether the person is referring to an old bug, or an issue with their SCORM object! – I’ll say it here again! – If you’re using SCORM, please upgrade to 1.9.3 or 1.8.7 before posting your request for help! – it will certainly help us focus on the work instead of re-hashing old issues!

There’s still a lot of outstanding work on SCORM that we’d like to get to! – Top of my list are:
MDL-16651 – ability to delete SCORM responses
MDL-12588 – Restrict SCORM module availability via time/date duration
These 2 should be really easy to implement, and I’m surprised they haven’t been in the Moodle Tracker untill recently.

Others that I’d like to see good solutions on are:
MDL-17115 – In 1.9.3 we’ve added a small countdown to the page to give a visual indication of a delay that has always been there! – It’s annoying a lot of people as they weren’t aware that the delay was being forced in the first place, and now we are displaying the countdown, the time it’s taking the SCORM object to load is much more visible. This delay is there to wait for the browser to load all the JavaScript API stuff before trying to call the SCORM object. This really needs to be done in a much cleverer way! – I’d like to see an extra check added to the time delay that somehow checks to see if the JavaScript API has loaded and redirects the user as soon as it finds the API. I think there could be a range of different ways of achieving this…if anyone has some good solid Ideas, I’d love to hear them!

The other thing that annoys me a lot is the reporting or lack of reporting for SCORM in Moodle – it’s clunky, and isn’t easy to get the information that everyone wants. There are a range of bugs in the Moodle Tracker related to reporting – I’d love to see some good examples on how reporting is managed in other LMS – let me know if you’ve got screenshots/etc that we can base some work on!

A lot of the grading/reporting issues people are having are related to settings that are being set incorrectly in their SCORM authoring tool. Piers has been working on a patch for Moodle 2.0 (not 1.9 sorry!) – that allows a teacher to force a range of settings even if set incorrectly in the SCORM package – see MDL-11501 for the details on this.

AICC is supported in the SCORM module, however there are still a lot of bugs in 1.9 – we’ve pushed these into Moodle 2.0, but haven’t had the time to test them properly in 1.9 – after talking with a few people this week, I might be interested in patching this for 1.9.4 – if anyone has any funding they could put towards this, make sure you let me know! – Also – let me know if getting AICC Certification would be useful – there don’t seem to be that many people using AICC in the forums…although that could be due to the number of AICC related bugs in 1.9!

I couldn’t finish this post without “mentioning” SCORM 2004…. this is still a way off for us, the common statement is “some of it’s there, but it’s missing sequencing and navigation”. I don’t expect we’d get this done before Moodle 2.0 release, It’s hard to balance whether time should be spent on the SCORM 2004 stuff, or the other structural/scalability issues. My feeling is that we need a good base to build the 2004 stuff into, and at the moment, the base is stronger than it was, but it still needs improvement! We still need help with managing the large number of forum posts – if there’s anything posted which you have experience with (or you’ve seen previous posts with similar info) it would be great for you to chime in and share you experience!