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Courselab: Quick Start Guide

Courselab: Quick Start Guide

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CourseLab

CourseLab Quick Start Guide

Quick Start Guide
1

Table of contents
Introduction..............................................................................................................3 Starting CourseLab .........................................................................................3 The Course Menu..................................................................................................3 The Module Wizard...............................................................................................4 Anatomy of a Course.............................................................................................6 The Default Screen..........................................................................................6 Front Page and Master Pages.......................................................................7 Slides v Frames ................................................................................................7 Using Components..................................................................................................8 Adding text.......................................................................................................8 Adding Graphics.............................................................................................8 Insert from file.........................................................................................................9 Insert from Clip Art.................................................................................................9 Insert from AutoShpes...........................................................................................9 Using objects..................................................................................................10 Complex Objects................................................................................................10 Formatting Objects........................................................................................11 Adding questions..................................................................................................13 Question Properties.......................................................................................14 Question...............................................................................................................14 Limitations.............................................................................................................14 Scoring..................................................................................................................15 Feedback.............................................................................................................15 Display...................................................................................................................16 Messages..............................................................................................................17 Using Actions..........................................................................................................18 Display...................................................................................................................19 Goto......................................................................................................................20 If and Else.............................................................................................................21 Navigation............................................................................................................21 Publishing a module.............................................................................................22

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Introduction
CourseLab is a powerful, yet easy-to-use, e-learning authoring system that offers programming-free WYSIWYG environment for creating high-quality interactive elearning content which can be published on the Internet, Learning Management Systems (LMS), CD-ROMS and other devices. It makes use of a PowerPoint style interface that is familiar and designed to allow users to create course materials simply and efficiently.

Starting CourseLab
Locate the CourseLab icon on the desktop and double click When first running the module you will be prompted for a registration and a code. Complete these screens as required and enter the code that will be sent by e-mail

The Course Menu

Once open CourseLab will display the Start Page. To create a new course click on the icon highlighted.

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The Module Wizard
Once the course creation button has been clicked, CourseLab will display a wizard to help you create the module.

The Introduction screen

Enter the following: 1. 2. 3. The name of the module to be created The folder that the module is to be created in The location of the folder

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At this stage you can choose the template that you will be using for the module. Choose from a series of default templates from a drop down menu or select a user created one.

After a short delay, the package will be created.

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Anatomy of a Course
The Default Screen
Once created you will be presented with a default front screen as follows:

Toolbars

Course Structure

Slide Thumbnails

Main Editing area

Template Buttons

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Front Page and Master Pages
For every module it is possible to create a title page and a master page. The master page will contain elements that will be displayed one every slide. The title page will contain information that will be displayed on starting the module. To switch between the three sections, use the template buttons

Title

Master

Normal

Slides v Frames
Each slide can contain content made up of text, graphics and/or CourseLab objects. In addition a slide can be broken down into frames that allow step by step processes to be displayed. An example frame structure can be seen below. Most modules that are created will make use of a slide by slide basis, but frames can be used when trying to simulate software.

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Using Components
Adding text
To insert text onto a slide, click the text box on the toolbar

This will display a text box on the screen. Double click this box to open the text editor

The text editor has functions similar to Microsoft Word. However it does not have any language tools such as Spell Check or Thesaurus. In order to make sure that your text is correct, copy and paste from the Editor to Word, spell check and the copy back again.

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Adding Graphics
There are three methods of inserting graphics into CourseLab modules.

Insert from file
This allows you to import graphic files in common formats. The main formats used are JPEG, GIF and BMP. Once imported, resized files will often pixilate and distort if resized. Therefore it is better to resize them outside of the program.

Insert from file button

Insert from Clip Art
There is no built in clip art in Courselab. Instead it will collate all the imported graphic files into a clip art catalogue. Whilst this can sound a good method to access graphic files, after you have created a few modules, it will take some amount of time to produce the clip art catalogue for use.

Insert from clip art button

Insert from AutoShpes
CourseLab has a number of built in AutoShapes similar to Microsoft products. This is inserted via the insert menu (no button) and produces a side menu with a selection of shapes.

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Using objects
All graphic and text items are classed as objects and, as we will see later, can have actions applied to them. In addition there are a number of other complex objects that are available by clicking on the insert object button.

Insert Object

Complex Objects
CourseLab is a very powerful and very feature rich application. As a result there are a number of very useful objects that have been included into the package to help develop lessons. A summary of these are as follows. External Elements The ability to open documents, links and a browser within a lesson. This includes “External File” Objects such as Word, Excel etc, external URLs which open in a sepearte browser and the use of iFrame. This allows a browser window to be opened within the CourseLab environment. Use to display ‘help’ or other comments that can be overlaid onto a lesson Speech and though bubbles that can be applied to pictures or other objects. These are objects that help with decoration and/or functionality. They include a colour gradient to be used in the background of a module and click areas, to be used when constructing menus. This allows you to import various media objects including Flash-Movies, Shockwave-animations, java applets and video clips. The latter should allow standard Windows Media and Quicktime formats. A series of extra navigation objects that allow pop up help screens

Popup Windows Balloons Design Elements

Rich Media Objects

Navigation Objects

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Characters

Lists Text Boxes Form Controls Simulations Questions Tests Scenarios Cursors

Flash based characters including “Agent” characters and “Talking Head” characters. These can be animated by a series of actions that allow some complex moves to be made. Allow list of items to be displayed in various formats. Good to uncover items step by step Text boxes that offer a higher level of complexity than simple text boxes. Various means of displaying text and border size/styles are available. Allows the input of data into variables for later calculation and display Allows a range of question types to be used and results calculated Allows a series of questions to be displayed in one go and the results calculated Allows you to build complex scenarios using agents and an online catalogue Allows you to move cursors and other objects around the screen using frames

Formatting Objects
Each object allows formatting via a format box similar to that used in Word and PowerPoint. Right clicking the object will allow access to the menu as follows:

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The format Colors, size and position options are identical to Microsoft Word. The Display option allows you to decide if an object is to be displayed (or called via an Action), shown for a specified time or shown after a period of time.

In addition options are available for the way an object is displayed or erased from the slide. The Sound tab allows you to bind a sound to an object. This can then be played automatically or called later via an Action

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Adding questions
One of the key components of CourseLab is the ability to setup and use questions. Single choice of answer Multiple choice of answer Place each element in order Enter numbers as answers Match text as answers Match pairs

For each question type, drag and drop from the Object menu to the slide.

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Question Properties
To open the question properties double click the question. The following tabs are available:

Question
This area is where the question text is entered.

Click to enter the question text – opens the text editor

Click to add or remove questions

Limitations
Limits the number of attempts that can be made to answer a question. Also allows a time limit to be set to any question.

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Scoring
Allows an objective to be set to hold the score for a question or series of questions

Feedback
Sets the text and position of the message delivered to the user on answering a question. Can be turned off if required.

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Display
Allows you to change the look and feel of the questions being created.

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Messages
These are the default feedback messages that will appear on the question text.

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Using Actions
One of the most powerful elements of CourseLab is the ability to assign actions to objects. For example, when a user clicks on a button, it moves it to another screen, plays a sound or displays a message. These actions can be accessed by right clicking on any object and selecting Actions from the menu. This will open an Actions box as follows:

Notice that there are a list of options that can be used to initiate an action on the left of the box. The Actions that can be initiated are on the right.

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A series of Actions can carried out, if necessary using logic commands (eg: IF, ELSE and FOR). For example:

Notice that indentation is required to allow the logic to work. The options for actions are wide and allow Mouse Overs, left and right button clicks and the ability to assign actions to whole slides before they are displayed. The most useful Actions are as follows:

Display
This Action allows any object to be displayed and hidden. This is useful for popup boxes on mouseovers, displaying correct/incorrect answers or help text. For example:

This would need to have a Display=Hide for the same object attached to the onmouseout command.

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Goto
This allows navigation to another frame or slide. It is useful to allow quick navigation around a module. It can be used with the click area Object. For example the following menu has click objects over each area.

Each ‘onclick’ has a Goto command to move to a different part of the module.

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If and Else
The logical Actions allow certain Actions to happen if specific conditions to be met. There are a number of IF statements, including     IF IF COMPLETION STATUS IF SCORE IF SUCCESS STATUS

The last three will be dependent on the outcome of questions. For example if a question is answer correctly then the success started will be set to completed. On this basis actions can be taken. IF on its own can be combined with variables are set as a separate Action. For example, if a section of a module has been completed a variable can be set to 1. If this is set then another section can be completed, allowing control of the order that a module is worked through. The Actions for this scenario could look like this:

Navigation
Navigation is simply the forward and back arrows and the drop down menu. These can be turned on and off to stop users jumping forward when they need to answer questions etc.

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Publishing a module
After completing a Course it needs to be published. This process makes it available for use and ready for review. Having saved the course, select Publish Course from the File menu:

This will then produce a wizard to work through.

You will be asked for course and lesson parameters which should be entered before pressing ‘Next’ CourseLab Quick Start Guide 23

The type of course will then be requested. All courses running via the portal are published as ‘Run from CD’ Courses for the Moodle LMS will need to be formatted as SCORM 2004 LMS.

Finally select the destination for the published course and then click next to confirm. CourseLab Quick Start Guide 24

About the Author
Bob Price has been involved with learning and development for nearly 20 years. He lives and works in South Wales where he uses CourseLab to develop module for use in call centres. For more details and to see some pictures of some of Bobs training in action, go to: http://homepage.ntlworld.com/bob.price1/Home.html If you use this manual, please drop me a line via the website

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