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Is learning ATutor like going to the Dentist?


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rgraham1
Subject: Is learning ATutor like going to the Dentist?Quote this post in your reply
Hey,

I'm a Tech Support guy at a Public Middle School in the state of Maine. Here in Maine, all 7th and 8th grade students and teachers get their own Apple iBook to use for the school year.

I'm trying to help our teachers use these great learning tools to improve the way students learn. And I'm trying to keep the learning part as focused as possible.

One project that I would like to tackle is to help teachers "transfer" some of their existing classes into an electronic form. Having the content, homework, class assignments, and quizes on their own iBook would allow students to work at their own pace. Learning at one's own pace can be very useful. This is particularly true for those kids that are at the front or back of the bell-curve.

I do have prior experience in a variety of technoloy areas. Sadly PHP, Apache, and MySQL are not areas of formal training for me. So with my background, will learning ATutor be like going to the Dentist? smile

1) If you were me, would you use ATutor to undertake this project?

2) If so, how much time would you set aside to get the job done?

I am (very) interested, but unfortunately also engaged in many other technology projects at our school.

3) So what steps should I first take to best use my time to get ATutor ready to use?

thanks,
Ron Graham
Greely Middle School
Posted: 2004-11-05 10:00:40
blackwidow
Subject: Not neccesarily...Quote this post in your reply
Sadly PHP, Apache, and MySQL are not areas of formal training for me. So with my background, will learning ATutor be like going to the Dentist?


You don't actually have to know much of all three to get a version of ATutor up and running. As long as you can do some of the very basis stuff such as CHMOD a sub-dir, you should be fine. The installer does most of the work for you - inclding setting up the database.

If you were me, would you use ATutor to undertake this project?


I'd certainly try it out. At the very least, you need to get form idea of what you need and, equally importantly, what you don't want.

If so, how much time would you set aside to get the job done?


That very much depends on how IT literate/competant your teachers are, in my experience. Setting up ATutor can be done within hours. Getting all of the course material onto the system is another matter. You may also find that tests, tasks or assignments that work effectively on paper will not transpose easily to an online system. I had the job of moving paper based courses onto ATutor and many of the assignments had to be completely re-thought in order to work.

So what steps should I first take to best use my time to get ATutor ready to use?


Install a copy of ATutor and use it to take the ATutor How-To course yourself. Try adding a new course with a couple of pages and the odd test. Let some of your teachers try it out. Note how easily (or not) they can add material, mark tests and generally adminster courses. Even if you decide that ATutor isn't for you, this won't be wasted time. It will help you focus on the type of system you [bold]do[/bold] want.

One factor you should be aware of - if you intend pupils to use iBooks to take tests etc, they will still have to go online. The packaged offline courses do not include tests - only pure content.

HTH

Mel
Posted: 2004-11-05 10:58:55
rgraham1
Subject: Is learning ATutor like going to the Dentist?Quote this post in your reply
"The installer does most of the work for you - inclding setting up the database."

Are you referring to a software module or an individual that is charged with installing ATutor?

"At the very least, you need to get form idea of what you need and, equally importantly, what you don't want."

I believe I have a very focused idea of what the first class will be like. I have scanned in most all the documents that comprise the course. 80% of the course are scanned in documents that are in a JPG format. The other 20% are text documents. Does this easily lend itself to conversion?

Before I install a copy of ATutor, I've got to install the required components: PHP, Apache, and MySQL. I'd like to do this on an OSX machine, but if necesary I can find a Windows machine.

Any advice here?

thank you for your information on this,

Ron
Posted: 2004-11-05 19:03:01
greg

Avatar for greg
Subject: ATutor's InstallerQuote this post in your reply
A software module. ATutor, and EasyPHP (if you're using Windows) both have an installer where you fill in the blanks and it takes care of setting up the software for you.

In reply to:
Are you referring to a software module or an individual that is charged with installing ATutor?

Posted: 2004-11-06 16:12:06
greg

Avatar for greg
Subject: Use OCR to convert scanned documentsQuote this post in your reply
Scanned documents in JPG form will be quite innefficient for presenting content over the Web. JPGs should be used for photograph type images, rather than text or clipart type images.

You should invest in an OCR (Optical Character Recognition) application that will turn your scans into text documents. As text your content will be highly adaptable to things such as refomatting with HTML, machine translating to other languages, conversion to Braille for blind users, magnification for low vision users, etc. which are not possible with a JPG.

I use an OCR application called TextBridge. There are many others if you search the Web.

In reply to:
80% of the course are scanned in documents that are in a JPG format. The other 20% are text documents. Does this easily lend itself to conversion?

Posted: 2004-11-06 16:26:27
blackwidow
Subject: I'd also recommend EasyPHPQuote this post in your reply
I'm running a development version of ATutor on a Windows machine using EasyPHP and I've found the combination to be very stable. Also, having used a number of different Windows ports of Apache/PHP previously, I'd agree that EasyPHP is by far the easiest combo to set up and run.

With regard to the course content you already have, the text documents will be very easy to either import into ATutor pages or copy and paste directly into the editor. You can then add formatting later. However, I wouldn't have thought that scanned documents as JPGs would be a good idea. Far better to OCR the documents concerned first and then import them as text.
Posted: 2004-11-06 16:27:44
lelchuck
Subject: Mac OS X InstallQuote this post in your reply
Ron

I'm running ATutor and other CMS software under Mac OS X client. No problems with the setup or implementation.

I used the pakages from www.serverlogistics.com/ (CompletePHP, CompleteMySQL and CompleteApatche2). (Greg does not recommend Apache2, but I have had no issues with this release.)

As you know, the built-in WebServer (in Mac OS X) is Apache 1, so you do not need to insstall this, only activate it.

I can try to locate my install steps for these packages if you wish.

A new setup that requires just a few clicks to install is called MAmP. I just discovered it this weekend, so never really had a chance to test it out.

MAMP is a compilation of Apache, Mysql, PHP, Turck MMCache and phpMyAdmin for Macintosh OS X. It includes an easy to use cocoa program to start and stop the servers. Everything will be installed in one folder, so it is very easy to uninstall. MAMP's Apache server runs on different ports than the Apache which is shipped with OS X, so you can run the OS X Apache and the MAMP Apache at the same time. MAMP does not require a root account, it can be run under a normal user account.

MAMP is located at www.webedition-cms.com/english/downloads/mamp.php

I'm running a virtual high school in Nova Scotia. You can read about it at www.atutor.ca/view/16/2615/1.html or by viewing cvhs.ednet.ns.ca/CVHSonATV.mov I can let you take a look to see how I've embedded ATutor into PostNuke to take advantage of what both have to offer.

larry
Posted: 2004-11-07 06:33:36
lelchuck
Subject: Corrected link for CVHS Quicktime news storyQuote this post in your reply
Sorry ... It should have read cvhs.ednet.ns.ca/videos/CVHSonATV.mov

I wish one could edit his/her own messages in this forum!

L
Posted: 2004-11-07 06:38:56
rgraham1
Subject: Subject: Mac OS X InstallQuote this post in your reply
Ron

I'm running ATutor and other CMS software under Mac OS X client. No problems with the setup or implementation.

I used the pakages from www.serverlogistics.com/ (CompletePHP, CompleteMySQL and CompleteApatche2). (Greg does not recommend Apache2, but I have had no issues with this release.)

As you know, the built-in WebServer (in Mac OS X) is Apache 1, so you do not need to insstall this, only activate it.

I can try to locate my install steps for these packages if you wish.

Larry, YES. I would appreciate having the install steps. Could you send them over to me at my School email? ron_graham@msad51.org


A new setup that requires just a few clicks to install is called MAmP. I just discovered it this weekend, so never really had a chance to test it out.

MAMP is a compilation of Apache, Mysql, PHP, Turck MMCache and phpMyAdmin for Macintosh OS X. It includes an easy to use cocoa program to start and stop the servers. Everything will be installed in one folder, so it is very easy to uninstall. MAMP's Apache server runs on different ports than the Apache which is shipped with OS X, so you can run the OS X Apache and the MAMP Apache at the same time. MAMP does not require a root account, it can be run under a normal user account.

MAMP is located at www.webedition-cms.com/english/downloads/mamp.php

I'm running a virtual high school in Nova Scotia. You can read about it at www.atutor.ca/view/16/2615/1.html or by viewing cvhs.ednet.ns.ca/CVHSonATV.mov I can let you take a look to see how I've embedded ATutor into PostNuke to take advantage of what both have to offer.

larry
Posted: 2004-11-08 12:01:02
rgraham1
Subject: Subject: Mac OS X InstallQuote this post in your reply
A new setup that requires just a few clicks to install is called MAmP. I just discovered it this weekend, so never really had a chance to test it out.

Larry,

I just installed this MAMP package without any apparent problems.

Having some additional help to get ATutor installed and running would be greatly appreciated.

You could either do it here on the Forum or privately to my email (days: ron_grahamATmsad51.org or after school rgraham1ATmaine.rr.com).

Ron







MAMP is a compilation of Apache, Mysql, PHP, Turck MMCache and phpMyAdmin for Macintosh OS X. It includes an easy to use cocoa program to start and stop the servers. Everything will be installed in one folder, so it is very easy to uninstall. MAMP's Apache server runs on different ports than the Apache which is shipped with OS X, so you can run the OS X Apache and the MAMP Apache at the same time. MAMP does not require a root account, it can be run under a normal user account.

MAMP is located at www.webedition-cms.com/english/downloads/mamp.php

Posted: 2004-11-08 12:07:20
lelchuck
Subject: Installing ATutor using MAMP on Mac OS XQuote this post in your reply
Hi Ron

Drag the MAMP to your applications server

Launch MAMP and change mysql port to 3306 (the default mysql port value) in the MAMP Preferences

Drag ATutor folder into the htdocs folder of MAMP


Enter localhost:8888/ATutor/ in your browser

At "ATutor does not appear to be installed. Continue on to the installation.", click on the link

=======

In step 2 of your Install, enter the following:

Database Hostname:
Hostname of the database server. Default: localhost : 127.0.0.1

Database Port:
The port to the database server. Default: 3306

Database Username:
The username to the database server. root

Database Password:
The password to the database server. root


====

In step 3, set up your
Administrator Username:
Password:
Email:

=====

In step 4, set up an instructor account:

Username:
Password:
Email:
Instructor Account: Yes
Welcome Course: Yes

=========
Before step 5:

Create a folder in the htdocs/Atutor folder for your courses and make it world writable (Read and Write for everyone)

=======
Step 5

Content Directory: /Applications/MAMP/htdocs/ATutor/content

=======

Security Note 1: It is recommended that you now make the config.inc.php file read-only in the include/ directory. On a Windows machine right-click on the file and select Properties and then select the Read-only attribute. On a Unix machine execute the command chmod a-xw config.inc.php.

Security Note 2: It is recommended that after you verify the correctness of the installation that you delete the install directory to ensure additional security.

========

Let me know how you get along

larry
Posted: 2004-11-08 13:11:16
rgraham1
Subject: Is learning ATutor like going to the Dentist?Quote this post in your reply
I am up and running now. - Thank you Larry -

I have some questions for anyone that might have a moment or two.

1) The only two types of files that can be inputted when I try to add content are: plain text and HTML. Is this correct? If there were more choices it might make ATutor more useable by teachers who want to EASILY convert over from "manual" methods to "electronic" methods. How difficult is it to add more types of files? (JPG, MS doc, spreadsheet files, Apple cwk, ect)

2) Approximately how many Users of ATutor are there out there right now?

3) Is anyone using ATutor for the classes in Grade school, Middle School, or High School levels?

4) Some versions of the required PHP, Apache, MySQL are NOT recommend (eg Apache 1 but not Appache 2). Is more information available on these issues? This has come up with the MAMP that Larry helped me with.

thanks for you time and help,

Ron
Posted: 2004-11-10 11:51:08
lelchuck
Subject: Response to some of your questionsQuote this post in your reply
1. This refers to the type of text that is entered into the web pages created by ATutor. By selecting html, you can jazz up your ATutor pages, point to graphic files and use embed commands to point to different audio and video files as well ... that can be played inline. You need to be sure that the paths created in your html code coincide with the relative placement of these graphic, sound and video files in your course folders.

2. ATutor.ca folks can best answer this.

3. We are using it for grades 10-12.

4. As stated before, I have had no issue with Apache2, although I do not use the included forum (opting for pnPHPBB2 as part of my PostNuke install). I had to move to Apache2 because of my other software. I also would be interested in hearing about known issues with Apache2

larry
Posted: 2004-11-10 13:24:20
greg

Avatar for greg
Subject: AnswersQuote this post in your reply
1. You can add just about any type of content type file using the filemanger and linking files into content pages. Keep in mind that content has to be in a web compatible format (e.g. text or html), so files like MSdocs for instance can not be displayed as *web content* in ATutor. They can only be downloaded for viewing offline. JPGs etc should not give you any trouble. Upload them and link them into content pages as you would for any image in a web content page.

2. I can only guess based on search results in google, and the number of languages available, how many ATutor servers are out there. Somewhere in the neighborhood of 5000 functioning would be my estimate. We do not keep such statistics, nor could we without invading privacy. As of today there have been a little more than 67,000 downloads, so potentially there could be a lot more than 5000 systems running. Many ATutor servers will be hidden from public Web access, in which case we can not track such usage.

3. Larry's is a high school. I would imagine that pre highshool would be diffcult to find for any LMS. Online learning has not caught on much yet for younger grades. By far online study has been used most for adult learning. There is no reason though, why ATutor could not be adapted for younger ages. It was created for this purpose, so the interface could be simplified for younger or less skill Web users.

4. You can not use pre php 4.2.0 because functionality used in ATutor was not supported prior to this version. In some cases 4.3+ is required, with a workaround for those using php 4.2*. We are now developing with PHP 5, and the current version of MySQL, for the next ATutor release, so official support should be coming soon.You should be able to use any 3.23+ version of mysql, though our development has occurred on the versions mentioned as supported. Apache is a diffierent story. Apache 2 is a new/different Web server rather than an upgrade of Apache 1. I suspect Larry is not experenciing problems because some of the features in ATutor that do not work well with Apache 2 have been disabled in his installation. I'm sure he can describe the functionality he has removed. We will probably not support Apache 2 installations anytime in the near future.

see:
www.google.com/groups?selm=B11731D518B5D61183C700A0C98BE0D9025873BA%40chef
www.php.net/manual/en/faq.installation.php#faq.installation.apache2
Posted: 2004-11-10 13:26:35
cdwise
Subject: Installing on OS XQuote this post in your reply
OS X should have Apache 1.x preinstalled. The exact version depends on which OS X system you are running. Check and see if MySQL and PHP are installed and configured. If not, you can download the OS X binaries and install them. There are several tutorials on the web about how to install and configure MySQL and PHP on the Mac. I've done it but not recently and my ATudor install is on a linux box.

You will need to set-up the MySQL database admin account and password but one that is installed you the installer should take care of the rest.

In reply to:
"The installer does most of the work for you - inclding setting up the database."

Are you referring to a software module or an individual that is charged with installing ATutor?

"At the very ...

Posted: 2005-01-19 19:21:45
 
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