Linking to a PDF

There are two ways to link a PDF (or any other web friendly file) to a LodeStar ActivityMaker page.  The first way involves copying the PDF to the root directory of the project so that PDF always remains with the project.  The second way involves linking to a PDF located anywhere on the public internet.

Linking to a local PDF file

Open or start an ActivityMaker project.  Every project has its own directory under LodeStar > Projects.  Copy the PDF to the root of that directory.  In my example I have a project named Demo_PDF.  In the screenshot, you will see that I have copied the pdf to the Demo_PDF directory. My pdf file is called GuitarTab.pdf.  It is not obvious, but note that the pdf file sits inside my Demo_PDF project directory.

 

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Next, I click on the link icon in the HTML Editor toolbar on the ‘Text’ page.

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In the URL field, type in the name of the PDF file.  In my case, I typed GuitarTab.pdf.  Type in a text to display to your students, as pictured below:

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Click Ok.  To preview your work, click on Preview.  This will copy the address of the project to the clipboard.  Preview will not show the popup with your PDF.  To see this in action, launch Firefox, and paste in the project URL from the clipboard.  (If you previewed, the project URL is on the clipboard.)  Once your project loads, you can click on your link and see it work.

Linking to a PDF on the Public Internet

Follow all of the steps above, but instead of a filename as a URL paste in the complete address of the PDF on the internet.

See below for how either scenario should appear:

 

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Inserting a YouTube Video

  1. Launch LodeStar and choose a project based on the ActivityMaker template.
  2. Add a new page to your project.
  3. Select the page type ‘Video’  (not Video Scenario).
  4. Copy the URL (the address) from YouTube.  Notice the screen shot below.  Copy the address that is highlighted with blue.
  5. Paste the address into the first field (box) on the LodeStar Video Page.  Ignore everything else.
  6. Click Preview.  Your video wont show in the preview.  Now jump out to the Firefox browser.  Because you clicked on the LodeStar Preview button, the address of your project was saved to the clipboard.  Now paste it in the Firefox address field.  You should now see your project and be able to view your video, provided that YouTube hasn’t blocked it.

Please note:  You will need to manually pause your video, but once you publish your project to a learning management system, LodeStar will automatically pause the video when the student turns the page.

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Exporting a Project to D2L BrightSpace 10.5 +

Inside of LodeStar 7.x, do the following:

  1. Open your project, if not already opened. You will find your most recently used project under ‘File’.
  2. Select the Export button. Pay attention to where your zip file will be saved.
  3. Keep the default ‘SCORM 1.3 (Recommended)’ selected .
  4. Fill in the Module, Topic and Author Fields.
  5. Click on ‘Create Export’ button.

 

Inside of D2L BrightSpace 10.5 or later, do the following:

  1. Go to your course.
  2. Select ‘Edit Course’
  3. Select ‘Import/Export/Copy Components’ (on the left hand side of the screen)
  4. In the ‘What would like to do? screen’, select the ‘Import Components’ radio button. Select the ‘from a course package’ radio button.
  5. In the ‘Import Course Package’’ screen, click on the ‘Import All Components’ button and browse to the lodestar zip file in the exports folder.
  6. Click on the ‘Start’ button.
  7. Once the process is completed, click on the ‘View Content’ button to navigate to the Content Tool.   D2L will always append your new module and topic to the end of your list of modules.

Controlling the Look and Feel of a Project

Introduction

The LodeStar eLearning authoring tool strikes a balance between author control over projects and ease of use. Many authoring tools provide pixel perfect control over every element. That’s fine for instructional designers, but faculty authors may need pre-configured templates, themes, project layouts and page layouts that will reduce their time commitment.

This article covers each of these configuration features starting with the most recent addition to LodeStar: layouts.

Layouts

The most popular LodeStar template, ActivityMaker, has a header, viewer and a navigator as well as a table of contents and resources divisions. The navigator, for example, holds the page forward and page back buttons. The viewer displays the content.

The layout of these divisions (div) can be changed. After the project is opened, the instructor can select Tools > Layouts. The dialog displays several layout presets. Some layouts are partially editable; others are not. A LodeStar project can look very different as a result of these layouts.

Default Layout:

ss1

Gamer Layout

ss2

Shadowbox Layout

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Advanced tip: Instructors who have access to programmers or designers can customize a layout to their taste and can save the layout so that it is available to future projects.

The designer should follow these instructions:

Make a copy of the project’s layout folder. Zip up the folder and replace the .zip extension with .starlayout  Place the zipped up folder in /lodestar/app/Layouts. Give it a name that best represents the new layout. Restart LodeStar. The layout will now appear in the Layouts dialog.

Templates

Instructors will notice a number of templates displayed in the template viewer under the ‘Templates’ tab. Templates produce very different types of projects. EbookMaker. For example, assists instructors with creating eBooks that follow a common, open standard. But the most popular template is ActivityMaker, which gives instructors the most variety in activities that they can include in their online courses. ActivityMaker also gives instructors the greatest latitude in controlling themes and layouts.

Advanced tip: Instructors can use a project as the starting point for the next project. For example, an instructor who is producing a series of Webquests can create a project with a table of contents that includes the major parts of a WebQuest (i.e. Task, Process, Resources, Evaluation). Once these parts are set up, the instructor can zip up the project as a template and make this the new starting point. That is, a project with the major parts of a WebQuest already set up.

Instructors should:

Make a copy of the project folder. Optionally, change the description.htm and even the thumbnail.png to better represent the project as a template. Zip up the folder and replace the .zip extension with .star Place the zipped up folder in the /lodestar/app/Templates. Give it a name that represents the project. Restart LodeStar. The template will now appear in the template viewer.

Page Layouts

In ActivityMaker, each page layout supports a different type of activity. The ‘Text’ layout, for example, provides authors with a simple HTML editor. The ‘Text’ layout therefore supports the presentation of text and images. ActivityMaker also includes 19 other page layouts ranging from multiple choice questions, to long answers, crosswords, and other challenges.

Advanced tip: Instructors who have access to programmers – computer science students, perhaps – can have custom pages built with HTML, Javascript and CSS. LodeStar Learning offers a guide to the application programming interface (API) of ActivityMaker. Contact supportteam@LodeStarLearning.com for the JET API documentation.

Themes

Themes enable authors to control HTML background color, content page color, menu (outer) color and the colors of both the header and navigator. An advanced button enables authors to create their own gradations for both the header and navigator.

Advanced tip: Instructors who customize a theme to their taste can save the theme so that it is available to future projects.

Instructors should:

Make a copy of the project’s theme folder. Zip up the folder and replace the .zip extension with .startheme Place the zipped up folder in /lodestar/app/Themes. Give it a name that best represents the new theme. Restart LodeStar. The theme will now appear in the Theme dialog.

Conclusion

Oftentimes, instructors will want to focus on the content and not trouble themselves with customizing templates, themes, layouts and pages. Occasionally, a project will demand some level of customization. The LodeStar Authoring Tool offers presets for those occasions as well as an open architecture that enables someone with programming and/or design skills to construct his or her own themes, layouts and more.

Importing a SCORM package into Desire2Learn (D2L, BrightSpace)

Montana State University has authored a great resource for importing SCORM learning objects (e.g. LodeStar activity) into the Desire2Learn (a.k.a. BrightSpace) learning environment.

http://eu.montana.edu/d2l/help/instructor_help/content/using_scorm.htm

The only piece that does not apply to LodeStar is the information related to Simple Sequencing.