A custom course is an eLearning course that you create yourself using ArcLearn. Your course will function like all courses in ArcLearn for an enhanced and seamless learning repository.

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A custom course is an eLearning course that you create. You can use ArcLearn resources and/or your own resources to create the course.

Why do it?
  • you might want to append a company specific introduction to a course. A “Message from Human Resources” for example.

  • you might want to remove a scene from a video. You can create the new course by selecting a portion of the video, skip the unwanted portion, and then complete the video to its end.

  • you can combine multiple ArcLearn video segments from multiple courses. You can also add your own resources such as a page from your website or a video from one of your servers, YouTube, Vimeo, etc.

  • you can be as creative and imaginative as you can be for a truly exciting and targeted course just for you.

A custom course is simply a series of panels (HTML pages) displayed in a browser. This is true for all Scorm courses in all other LMS systems. It is true for ArcLearn. It is true whether the panel is displaying video, a PDF, a text/image page, an assessment, a Scorm object, or whatever. Each panel is simply HTML; nothing magic about it.

The student takes the course by viewing the panels in sequence until completion.
The aspects of instructional design and instructional techniques are beyond the scope of this help text. However, the need to design a course and do it well is important for any eLearning course, whether authored in ArcLearn or any other authoring tool.

The following are the steps one might take in creating the eLearning course. Although the steps are displayed sequentially, one might find that you are refining earlier steps even as you proceed to new steps:

  1. prepare at least a good draft of your instructional design. Know your audience, your course objectives, the important points you want to convey, how you will assess the student’s success, and what handouts or documents you might want to provide (e.g. study guide for take away).

  2. prepare the storyboard. At a minimum, this is a paper/pencil document describing the contents of each panel that will be displayed to the student.

  3. create any necessary graphic design. A graphic designer can add pictures, animation, font styles, and interactivity to each panel in the storyboard.

  4. write a draft voice-over script if you will be adding audio to non-video pages.

  5. create the HTML pages to display each panel as you desire.

  6. create the assessments if any. These might include a) a pre-test to assess understanding coming into the course, b) exercises to give the student an idea of his or her own understanding throughout the course, and c) a post-test to perform a final assessment.

  7. assemble all of the above into the ArcLearn Course Builder (can do this part as you are doing the above items). Preview the final product. Adjust as necessary.

  8. make the course active by publishing the course. This step puts the course into production.
For a student to use a course created in Course Builder, the course must be published. There is a Save & Publish button near the bottom of the Course Builder pages.

When a new course is created, it is considered a draft version (not published) and it is not available to students. One can make changes and save (Save button) the course as many times as you need. Use the Preview to check your results. After completing and checking your results, one Publishes the course to make it available to students using the Save & Publish button.

Once a course is published, that particular version of the course cannot be changed. Any subsequent changes are considered a new draft version just like a newly created course. This draft version can be changed many times using the SAVE button. Once it is completed and ready, use the Save & Publish button.

One may have multiple published versions active at one time. When a student is assigned a course, the most recent published version is assigned. The student continues to use that particular version even if new published versions are created. There could be many published versions active at one time.

There is a versions tab in Course Builder. It shows all draft, published and unpublished versions. Remember, only the most current Published version is assigned to students (using Course Assignment by a trainer or using Start this Course from the course page by a student). The date in the versions tab list is the published date (or last change date for draft versions).

In the versions tab in Course Builder, one may "unpublish" a currently published course. This is done if there is an error or other problem with the course. There is no downside to having many published versions. Please note: if a version is unpublished and that version is assigned to a student, the student's course will be closed and a new course (newest published version) will be started.
When creating a course, one will create the storyboard in ArcLearn using a) Sections, b) HTML pages, c) Video pages, d) PDF pages, e) Assessment pages, f) Compliance pages, and g) Certificate pages.

  • Sections: A section provides a way to group pages. It is not used in the course but only in the Table of Contents. It is especially useful for courses with many pages for better organization.

  • HTML pages: Almost anything that you can put into an HTML page can be used here. ArcLearn does not provide a HTML editor, but most editors will work fine with ArcLearn. Create the page using your editor. Use the ArcLearn course builder to upload the HTML file to the server and into your course.

    A URL to a web page can be included here with some limitations. The web page will work normally within the Student Viewer. However, many web pages use security directives to disallow its inclusion into a iFrame which is the techology used. Also, web pages that are not HTTPS protected will not work.

    You can upload/link to a mp3 file for audio if you have a voice over recording for your HTML page. The audio starts when the page is displayed; the student can control the volume, pause the audio, restart the audio, and mute the audio if desired.

  • Video pages: You can select any of your licensed videos for your course. You enter the product number (shown on the course details right side bar). You can use a start time (in seconds) and a duration (in seconds) if you want to only display a clip.

    Alternately, you can use your own video from one of your servers, You Tube, Vimeo, etc. Copy and paste the video’s entire URL into the URL field and your video will be used. Seamlessly.

    And, what should the student do after the video plays? Enter some End Text, such as “Click Next to Continue”.

  • PDF pages: A PDF can be used as a course page. You can upload the document to be included in your course. And, you can optionally upload an mp3 file for an audio voice over. PDF pages will be displayed by the student using the student's default program for PDFs, such as Adobe Reader.

  • Assessment pages: An assessment is used for a pre-test, an exercise, or a post-test. The assessments are a series of questions with true/false, multiple choice, or multiple answers. The student is given the questions and ArcLearn will grade the assessment for the student. A pre-test is usually given to assess the student’s knowledge coming into the course; once taken, the pre-test result is stored and the assessment can’t be taken again. An exercise is a preliminary check of knowledge during the course; the results are not recorded and the exercise can be repeated. The post-test is usually given very near the end of the course. The post-test can determine if the student has passed or failed the course.

    You will enter the test questions and the possible answers. You specify which answers are correct. For correct answers, you can provide an explanation of why the answer is correct. For incorrect answers, you can give a hint to the student to determine the correct answer.

  • Compliance page: A compliance page is meant to accept a digital signature to signify that the student has acknowledged taking the course. This is used for legal record keeping purposes.

  • Certificate page: The certificate page is a completion certificate with the course name, the student’s name and the date. This will be displayed as a PDF for the student to either save or to print. Often, the certificate is the last page in the course.

The course’s storyboard is first created on paper to refine the course design until it is reasonably firm. Then, each panel in the storyboard is one panel in ArcLearn. On the course builder page, one will drag one of the icons from the right side to the left side, placing the icon in the storyboard in just the right place. Building the storyboard in ArcLearn is best described visually.

To display controls, put your mouse on the descriptor and click on the edit icon. descriptor item
Once the controls are completed, click on the same icon again to save.
HTML properties
Displays an HTML page which can be either uploaded to the ArcLearn service or can be displayed from an external web server, using a fully described URL.

The HTML page can be any HTML including text, graphics, JavaScript, etc. Create the HTML page using an external HTML editor or Notepad (depending on your preference).

Rules:
  1. The Title field is displayed as the page title.

  2. The HTML file can be uploaded using the browse button or a URL to an external webserver can be entered.

  3. An audio file can be uploaded for a voice over for the HTML file. Use the browse button or a URL to an external webserver.

  4. Width and height are used to display the page; default is 800x480 pixels.

  5. Preview specifies whether the page is displayed or not in Preview mode.

To display controls, put your mouse on the descriptor and click on the edit icon. descriptor item
Once the controls are completed, click on the same icon again to save.
Video properties 1
Controls for video depend upon the Video Type; use the dropdown to select the appropriate type and ArcLearn will adjust the screen to display only the relevant fields in the control. 

Select ArcLearn Video to cause a vendor supplied video to be used.  Enter the product number from the bottom of the right sidebar on the product details page.

Video properties 2

If the selected Video Type is not "ArcLearn video", you need to provide the source of the video.  Enter the URL of the video file.

Note: some features are not available for certain video types. 

Rules:
  1. The Title field is displayed above the video in the Student Viewer.

  2. Supported video are
    • ArcLearn video: use the course ID which is displayed on the product's detail information page.
    • You Tube video: use the embed URL found when downloading the embed code from YouTube.
    • HTML5 video: these are common mp4, webm, ogg videos. Enter the full URL.
    • Embedded Video: video that is designed to play in an iFrame. Includes Vimeo. Enter the full, embed URL.

  3. Clip start and duration selects a portion of the base video to be displayed. Only available with certain video types.

  4. Width and height are used to display the video; default is 640x480 pixels.

  5. End text is text displayed in the video screen following the completion of the video. Only available with certain video types.

  6. Preview specifies whether the video is displayed or not in Preview mode.

To display controls, put your mouse on the descriptor and click on the edit icon. descriptor item
Once the controls are completed, click on the same icon again to save.
Section properties
A section is used only in the table of contents of the course to group items together for a better understanding of the course contents. A section is used mostly in more complicated courses where there are many panels.

Rules:
  1. The Title field is displayed in the table of contents only. A section does not affect the flow of the course.

To display controls, put your mouse on the descriptor and click on the edit icon. descriptor item
Once the controls are completed, click on the same icon again to save.
Document properties
Displays the PDF in the web page. You can also include an audio voice over.

Rules:
  1. The Title field is displayed as the page title.

  2. The PDF file can be uploaded using the browse button or a URL to an external webserver can be entered.

  3. An audio file can be uploaded for a voice over for the HTML file. Use the browse button or a URL to an external webserver.

  4. Width and height are used to display the page; default is 800x480 pixels.

  5. Preview specifies whether the page is displayed or not in Preview mode.
To display controls, put your mouse on the descriptor and click on the edit icon. descriptor item
Once the controls are completed, click on the same icon again to save.
Compliance properties
Displays the compliance page which is used to request a digital signature from the student. This page is used for legal compliance reasons. The student is requested to key in his or her name. The signature is recorded with a date/time stamp in the course data base. Generally, when used, this page would follow a Post-Test.

Rules:
  1. The Title field is displayed as the page title.

  2. An audio file can be uploaded for a voice over for the HTML file. Use the browse button or a URL to an external webserver.

  3. Width and height are used to display the page; default is 800x480 pixels.

  4. Preview specifies whether the page is displayed or not in Preview mode.
To display controls, put your mouse on the descriptor and click on the edit icon. descriptor item
Once the controls are completed, click on the same icon again to save.
Completion Certificate properties
The completion certificate page displays a PDF document as a completion certificate for the student to view, print or save. The certificate will have the student’s name, the course name, and the date.

Rules:
  1. The Title field is displayed as the page title.

  2. An audio file can be uploaded for a voice over for the HTML file. Use the browse button or a URL to an external webserver.

  3. Width and height are used to display the page; default is 800x480 pixels.

  4. Preview specifies whether the page is displayed or not in Preview mode.
An assessment is used for a pre-test, an exercise, or a post-test. The assessments are a series of questions with true/false, multiple choice, or multiple answers. The student is given the questions and ArcLearn will grade the assessment for the student. A pre-test is usually given to assess the student’s knowledge coming into the course; once taken, the pre-test result is stored and the assessment can’t be taken again. An exercise is a preliminary check of knowledge during the course; the results are not recorded and the exercise can be repeated. The post-test is usually given very near the end of the course. The post-test can determine if the student has passed or failed the course.

To create an assessment, two things need to happen.
  • The Assessment icon is used to create the assessment page in the storyboard. Properties need to be set, but these properties cannot be completed until the actual assessment is created (see next step).

  • The assessment is created by clicking on the Assessment tab on the course builder page. The tab lists any already created assessments AND allows for both previous assessments to be changed and new assessments to be created.


Creating an assessment is similar to creating a storyboard. The selected question types are dragged from the right side to the left side in the same manner. For example, if there are three true/false questions and seven multiple choice questions, drag the 10 items to the left side.

For multiple choice and multiple answer question types, one also needs to drag the answer icon to the question for EACH answer. If there are three multiple choice answers to be presented, drag three answers under the question.

The properties for each question works similar to the storyboard as well. If necessary, click on the + (plus) icon to expand the question to show the answers below.
  • Click on the question’s edit icon to edit the question and the hint. A hint is displayed to the student when they select a wrong answer.

  • Click on the answer’s edit icon to edit the answer and the explanation. An explanation is displayed to the student when they select a correct answer.

  • Hints and explanations are optional; if you do not enter, these are simply not displayed.


Part one of these instructions detail how to build the questions and answers for an Assessment. Part two will identify the rules for the student’s instructions and the assessment’s properties.

On the Assessment Builder page, below the list of questions and answers, you will see an area for the instructional text. Default text is provided for a pre-test and post-test. This information is displayed at the top of the assessment page and sometimes will correspond to a voice over. Change or enter the appropriate text that you require.

The assessment properties depend upon the assessment type. Use the assessment type dropdown to select the correct type. When you do this, the properties will change to the default for that type. If the properties need to change, ckeck the box for Override Defaults and make necessary changes.

One Question per Page The normal display is to show all questions on one page, with a possible scroll bar if questions do not fit. Select this control if only one question should be presented per page; the pages will be displayed sequentially to the student.

Allow Retake Once the assessment is taken once by the student, should it be allowed to be taken again? This is usually NO for a pre-test, but YES for other types.

Record Results Should ArcLearn record the results? Usually, this is YES for a pre-test and post-test. Most LMS systems have no place to record results for an exercise and ArcLearn is no exception.

Show Answers For a graded assessment, check to show the answers to the student; otherwise, the grade is recorded and the answers are not shown to the student.

Show Correct Answers Should the correct answer be displayed on a re-take if the student answers incorrectly.

Show All Explanations Should hints and explanations be displayed?

Number of Questions The number of questions to be displayed. This is used to limit the number of questions to be displayed at one time. For example, one might have 20 questions in the assessment. If one specified 10, only 10 randomly selected questions would be displayed for the assessment.

Number of Attempts How many attempts should the student be given to pass the assessment before it is marked as failed.

Passing Score The passing score percentage.

Course Resources allows one to manage the customer resources uploaded to ArcLearn. Although one can upload objects from the various properties browse buttons, the Course Resources provides more features for the management of these objects. One can view contents, upload objects, delete objects, download objects, and create directories.

Objects are organized for your account at the root level. Objects can be stored and used from this root directory in any course by using this technique to reference the object: “../object.type”.

For each course, there is a course directory which is a number corresponding to the course’s course number. Objects uploaded via the properties browse buttons are uploaded into this directory. Objects are referenced from the course directory directly using “object.type”

Note: the total amount of space allowed for customer's resources is limited. Additional space is available for an extra charge.
  • Objects that are uploaded via the Browse Buttons will be placed in a directory specifically used by the course being created or changed. The URL will show the object name. If the object is used in your HTML, the object can be directly referenced; for example, the HTML for an image might be: <img src="myImage.jpg">

  • Objects that are uploaded via the Course Resources page can also be referenced in your HTML, but it depends upon where you put the object. For example, an image that is placed at your root directory will be referenced one directory up from the course directory; the HTML for an image might be: <img src="../myImage.jpg">.

    You can reference an object in another course’s directory; the HTML for an image might be: <img src="../555/myImage.jpg"> where the 555 is the course number of the directory where the image is located.

  • All uploaded object name’s are case sensitive.

  • ArcLearn supports almost any HTML page that you can upload and/or refer to with a URL. We find that it generally works best to make pages pretty simple without links to other pages. However, a complicated page with links to other website pages will work fine, but might be confusing to your student.

  • Resources, images, and other items used in a webpage can be uploaded to ArcLearn. Your space is somewhat limited so this is a great option for HTML, pictures, images, documents and such. There may not be enough room for your video objects (see point about “Using Your Own Server”)
  • All URL references in the storyboard descriptor items can reference an object uploaded to ArcLearn OR can reference from another server. Referencing from another server is especially useful for large objects, such as video.

  • References to any other server must be a fully qualified name, including the protocol (usually https://). This applies to all URLs in all property dialogs. For example, you might have a PowerPoint accessible on your server so you might use the URL: https://myDomain.com/myDirectory/myPowerPoint.ppt.

  • This technique can be used in all URL references in the properties of each storyboard descriptor items or can be used directly in your HTML pages.

  • You can use JavaScript in your HTML pages to create sophisticated interactions and displays.

  • You can upload Cascading Style Sheets (CSS) to ArcLearn for use within your courses.

  • You can use animations in your ArcLearn courses. If these animation files are reasonably small, they can be uploaded to ArcLearn. If large, you might consider serving from your own server.

The properties tab on the course builder page allows one to enter information about the course.

Name The full name of the course. This can be set or changed at any time.

Description The textual description of the course. This information is displayed in the tooltip on the Custom Courses page and on the My Courses page.

Picture One can upload a picture which is associated with the course. The picture is displayed in the tooltip on the Custom Courses page and on the My Courses page. Pictures can be any size; it will be resized before displayed. As a rule of thumb, a picture aspect ratio of 16 x 9 will work well. A better quality picture will look better on the site. And, the picture can be any of the common image formats.

Author The original author will be set when the course is created; this can be changed at any time. This information is displayed in the tooltip on the Custom Courses page and on the My Courses page.

Department The original author’s department name will be set when the course is created; this can be changed at any time. This information is displayed in the tooltip on the Custom Courses page and on the My Courses page.

Objectives One can add one or more objectives for the course. This information is displayed in the tooltip on the Custom Courses page and on the My Courses page.

Notes For documentation purposes only. Add notes that might be useful later for anyone changing the course.

Training Date For documentation purposes only. Add a training date if applicable.

End Use Date For documentation purposes only. Add an end usage date if applicable.

Shared Access The “Shared Access” check box in the course’s set of properties controls general access to the course in the Course Builder. Leaving unchecked, only the original author has access. Checking this box, all trainers can access and change the course in Course Builder.
The “Shared Access” check box in the course’s set of properties controls general access to the course in the Course Builder. Leaving unchecked, only the original author has access. Checking this box, all trainers can access and change the course in Course Builder.
One deploys the course for general use by publishing the course. Then, the course will be available for general access in the Custom Course page, the Assign Courses page, and the Manage Groups page.
A course will be marked as “completed” or “passed” or “failed”, upon the conclusion of a student taking the course.

  • If the course does not have a Post-Test, the course is marked “completed” when the last page of the course is reached or the Completion Certificate page is reached (whichever is reached first).

  • If the course does have a Post-Test, the course is marked either “passed” or “failed” based upon the results of the Post-Test.