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My SCORM Quest

I first heard of SCORM in June of 2004 at an ETOM retreat. I didn't fully understand it at the time. I thought it was a set of standards to make learning content more accessable to those with disabilities and although I would want to do that as much as possible, I didn't see how it could work for some of my programs. I was concerned that we would deprive those without the disability of some wonderful learning tools in the name of fair access to all.

In April 2006, I started asking about making my PHP software communicate scores to Angel (the learning management system that my school uses). Someone said something about loading it as a SCORM package, but it didn't really go much further than that at the time. I guess it just didn't click with what that had to do with anything and how it would work.

While teaching a trigonometry course in the fall of 2006, I was making extensive use of my learning objects in class. My students would run the programs and I would check off that they had completed the activity on my grade sheet. If the student didn't finish in class it was not a problem because most of my programs had a print feature so they could finish at home, print their results and then bring it to class. I realized that this was fine for a traditional class, but I knew that when I taught an online version again I would need a way for the programs to record the results in a learning management system automatically. I started asking how to make my Flash programs communicate a score into the Angel gradebook. Again I was told that I needed to use SCORM. This time, I started searching for more information. I found two books: e-Learning Standards by Carol Fallon and Sharon Brown and Using Flash MX to Create e-Learning by Sharon Castillo, Steven Hancock, and Garin Hess, but I still didn't have enough information to get things working. I looked into going to SCORM school. The SCORM school website recommend familiarity with XML and javascript, so I took an advanced web development class and learned a little about both of these in the spring semester of 2007. I went to SCORM school in late June and July of 2007. This was a four week online course offered by the Academic CoLab. As the session neared its end I was disappointed to find that I still wasn't learning how to turn a learning object developed in Flash into a useful SCO. I was determined to get something working before the class was over so I started making a sample SCO and I worked night and day to get it to retrieve a name from the Test Suite and to use that name in the program and to set the score in the LMS. Here is the chronology of my progress taken from a discussion board where I was posting the results of my experiments:

Later, I made a SCORM 1.2 version of the sample program and began experimenting with loading it in Angel. Things weren't working right at first, so I had to do a lot more experimenting. It was beginning to look like things would not work out in time for my online course to start in the fall. I had to take some time off of my experimenting to set up my course with my new policies and syllabus. I left the idea of using the SCOs open because I still wanted to do it. I finally got them to partially work. At first I had to check my students results one student at a time. I also had to warn my students about some of the error statements that would pop up. Angel fixed their end of things and now my SCOs will record grades properly without the error statements. I no longer have to check my students results individually. I can just go into the gradebook and check them all at once.

Sample SCOs | Lsquared Math Home | SCORM Info | Contact Me