Using MediaSpace Videos

Embedding MediaSpace Videos


A Screenshot of a MediaSpace Video Linked to LodeStar ActivityMaker

Kaltura MediaSpace is a wonderful video portal, but linking to MediaSpace videos from LodeStar can be a little tricky.

The simplest — but not the most effective — way is to take the embed code that MediaSpace offers and paste it into LodeStar using the following tool in the LodeStar’s HTML editor.


This tool, located on the toolbar of the LodeStar HTML editor allows you to paste in an embed code that displays the video on the page.

The downside to this simple approach is that the video will not pause when the student turns the page.

The better approach requires a few steps. You’ll pull out your hair the first time, and find it second nature the second time.

Linking LodeStar’s Video Player with MediaSpace videos

The following steps apply only to mp4 files, which (at the time of this writing) is the only truly cross-browser video format.


  1. Launch MediaSpace, and locate your video file.
  2. In MediaSpace, select ‘Publish’ from the Actions drop down menu. Publish your video or make it Unlisted.
  3. At the bottom of your screen, click on the ‘Share’ button and  display the embed code.

Here is a snippet from an example:

<iframe id=”kaltura_player” src=”[mediaProtocol]=rtmp&….

Notice that two codes are bolded and underlined.  They represent the two pieces of information that you need:  the partner ID, and the entry ID.

2. Launch Kaltura’s kWidget from the link below.

You will see the following widget at the bottom of the page:


3.  Enter the partner ID from the embed code in the partner id field and enter in the entry ID in the entry ID field.  Click on get sources.

4. You will see the following heading, followed by video sources, the true addresses of the videos.


Notice the second source with the video src that ends with a.mp4

You’ll want to copy the  address into your clipboard beginning with http:// and ending with .mp4

5. Open your LodeStar ActivityMaker, ActivityMaker Mobile,  or ARMaker project or any template that is derived from ActivityMaker like PBLMaker or WebQuestMaker.

6. Add a Video Page (not Video Scenario).

7. Paste in the video source (src) in the top field, as pictured below


8. Preview your project to ensure that the video is properly linked.


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.



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


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:


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:




Controlling the Look and Feel of a Project


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.


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:


Gamer Layout


Shadowbox Layout


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.


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 for the JET API documentation.


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.


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.

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

How do you create questions with more than four choices?

The ActivityMaker template in LodeStar 7 features many page layout types. The question relates to the Simple Question page layout, which supports two, three and four choices (also known as distractors).

There is another option.

The most common page layout type is the ‘Text’ layout.  This page type offers the ability for instructors to intersperse textual descriptions with interactive multiple choice, multiple select and true/false questions.

The advantage of creating questions on the ‘Text’ page is that the question stem (i.e. the question) can be of any length accompanied by any number of distractors (i.e. choices) of any length.  The question stem can include an image or math formula and distractors can be images or include images.

Use the following mark-up format:

Mark up question stems with <s>
Mark up distractors with <d>

Mark up the right answers with an asterisk *

Assign a number of points to the page.  Please note that wrong answers get subtracted from right answers.

For example, a page has eight distractors with 5 right answers among them. The page totals 10 points.  LodeStar automatically distributes the points across all questions and all right answers. If a student checked off one answer incorrectly, the student would receive 6.  (Each right answer would be worth 2 points.  4 right answers would equal 8 points.  1 wrong answer would subtract 2 points, for a total of 6 points.)

Here is an example of the mark-up.  Note the asterisk to mark right answers.  This mark-up will get displayed as choices with checkboxes.

<s>Choose all of the names below that belong to Canadian Prime Ministers

<d>* John A. MacDonald

<d>George Washington

<d>*MacKenzie King

<d>Theodore Roosevelt

<d>Woodrow Wilson

<d>*Lester B. Pearson

<d>*Pierre Trudeau

Exporting to Desire2Learn 9.0 or greater

Desire2Learn has improved its SCORM upload procedure in version 9.x. LodeStar users who have grown accustomed to the upload routine in earlier versions of Desire2Learn will now have to adjust to a new procedure for D2L 9.x. Here are the basic steps for importing a LodeStar resource into Desire2Learn.

Prepare your export to match D2L 9.x according to the following instructions:

Inside of LodeStar, do the following:

1. Open and complete your project

2. Click on the  Export button.

3.  Keep the default ‘SCORM 1.3 (Recommended)’ selected.

4. Pay attention to where LodeStar will save your export.  Typically this will be in [user folder]/LodeStar/Export

5. Click on ‘Create Export’ button.

Inside of D2L, do the following:

1.Go to your course.

2. Select ‘Edit Course’ (on the right hand side of the screen)

3. Select ‘Import/Export/Copy Components’ (on the left hand side of the screen)

4. Select the ‘Import Components’ radio button.  Select the ‘From a File’ radio button.

5. In the ‘What would you like to do?’ screen, click on the ‘Browse’ button and browse to the lodestar zip file in the exports folder.

6. Click Next. (Be patient. The upload process has started. You will see a progress bar at the bottom.)

7. D2L will now display the Preprocessing Progress at it completes reading the zip file (technically, the IMS content package). When you see green check marks, click on the ‘Next’ button.

8. You may leave ‘Do not overwrite the existing file’ selected if you wish. If you are re-uploading, you may want to select, ‘Overwrite the existing file.’ In either case, check ‘Import Metadata’.  Check, ‘Select All Components’. Click on the ‘Next’ button.
9. You will now see the ‘Confirm Import Selections’ screen. You should have ‘Import Metadata’ as selected. You should also have selected ‘Import all Items’.

10. D2L will now complete the import of this course material. When you see all green check marks, you can simply return to your content. Do this by clicking on the word ‘Content’ next to ‘Course Home’ rather than clicking on D2L’s link. Doing the latter causes confusion.

11. You should now see your imported LodeStar resource at the end of your course.

12. You can use the content manager to move the topic to another module.