Tag Archives: UPK

Who can rid me of this troublesome UPK error?

Every now and then UPK seems to forget I closed it down. And when I relaunch it I get this delightfully useful message:

Nothing in tools menu actually helps. Only way I’ve discovered to be able to relaunch UPK is to physically reboot my PC. And since I’m in corporate-land (and Windows is a joy) that’s 20mins of my day gone.

Anyone know how to get past this “feature”?

UPK Wishlist – 9 Requests to Make it Better

Anyone becoming familiar with a new software application will soon come across features that make you ask “what the?”, or will find themselves in a corner wishing a certain feature was available. Our experience with UPK is no different.

Following are an unsorted list of peeves and wishes from our first endeavours with this robust little tool.

(1) Give us some transferrable publication versions

UPK allows you to quickly and easily generate content for users. The problems start when you try to publish that content anywhere online.

Each of the published formats generates enormous numbers of files. Across multiple, nested folders. This makes them veritably impossible to publish on most CMS (including Sharepoint) where you have to upload files individually or by folder.

For example here are the file and folder counts from a simple publication (1 process, 20 steps):

> 60 files across 8 subdirectories (HTML Pages)
> 639 files across a whopping 44 directories (player package)

It wouldn’t be hard to provide a single exe version of the player package (Captivate offers an export as EXE option), or a streamlined HTML site structure, that would then be easier to transfer and use.

Currently the only way to distribute the player package on Sharepoint (without going mad) is to zip the entire package, upload as a zip, and require the user to download and unzip before use. Not the best user experience.

Granted this could be a strategic decision to encourage us to run a UPK server. However that’s not always available.

(2) Add text formatting to template text

Minor peeve with the template text as supported in UPK is that it all runs on as a single paragraph. If wanting to include carriage returns in text the only method is to click the “edit template text button” and then edit as required.

Would be nice if it supported common shortcuts for carriage returns and perhaps tabs.

From:

Enter the appropriate information in the [] field. nnEnter “12345″.

To
Enter the appropriate information in the [] field.

Enter “12345″.

Here’s what happens if you try that today:

(3) Be consistent over concepts

Issue when publishing to LMS is that it ignores any top level content. If you publish all your content within a single module, and add an introduction/welcome concept to that module, it is ignored in the LMS version. However it does appear in the other publication formats.

Top level concept defined in the UPK source.

Powerpoint export – concept appears.

HTML export – concept appears.

Player export – concept lost.

(4) Let me rename Concept topics

This is another issue particular to the LMS package.

UPK lets you define additional concept topics at any level of a module (module, section or topic). However the limitation is you have no control over the name of such topics. Within their main window they always appear with the title “Concept”.

Would be nice to be able to edit these names. For example “Welcome”, “Introduction”, “About”, etc.

Note: I did find that I could edit the topic names in the LMS package by editing content directly. A little painful however, and something you need to repeat every time you publish.

(5) When I publish a selection, only publish the selection

The UPK publishing wizard is great in allowing you to publish just a selection of your library. However the problem is when you do publish a selection, the player package still develops the navigation tree to reflect the complete library and the location of your selection within it.


(6) Currently the only way to “just” publish a selection is to re-organise the library to put the selection at the top level. Then publish, then put it back in its place.

(6) Let me rename the simulation modes

In the spirit of renaming, might be nice to be able to rename the different simulation modes. Not important, but came up in a recent project where different terms had already been agreed for scenarios (what UPK calls “Try It” had been named “Learn It”).

(7) Measure Know It performance based on number of missteps, not as a percentage

As an alternative assessment method let me be able to define the number of times the user is helped (i.e. you get 3 strikes per scenario). This is clearer to users than a percentage. You were unsuccessful because you needed assistance twice is easier to grasp than “you scored 72%”. It also ensures the same meaningful success standard applies across multiple simulations.

Currently, while trying to use the “number of times helped” measure we have to convert that to a different percentage figure in each scenario dependent on the number of steps it contains. ie missing 2 steps in a 10-step process sets a pass rate of 80%. But missing 2 steps in a 20-step process now has a pass rate of 90%.

(8) LMS customisation

Generally the LMS export option does a fantastic job of delivering a SCORM-compliant package to push process simulations to the learners. But it does not do such a great job over the wrapping and presentation of those simulations:

  • no inbuilt table of contents/navigation – need to rely on the LMS to provide this (and some do it better than others)
  • “unwelcoming” navigation/status within each simulation

With menu enabled, rudimentary (but ugly) navigation available.

With the menu disabled, the course is non-navigable.

(9) Richer web pages

When you create a new page as a concept you only get very rudimentary editing options.

No reason why they cannot embed a richer HTML edit component so we get full control over the content and the ability to add much richer material.

Granted you can add rich HTML content by creating as a page within a package, and linking to the topic from there. But this seems an unnecessarily arduous process when the “create web page” button is front and centre when developing content.

Conclusion

There’s nine quick requests to make UPK even more useful than it already is. Go for it Oracle! Before we think of some more.

How to improve UPK: bonus item

I’m in the midst of collating a series of issues/quirks with UPK 3.6.1, hoping that Oracle are listening. While organising here’s a bonus item.

When I’m editing frame properties, don’t present a tooltip that has the unerring habit of appearing directly over the top of where I’m trying to type!! B!@#y annoying.

Customising step instructions in UPK

Whenever you record an action within a UPK capture, it uses a template to determine how to describe each action you complete. You can customise this template text so that steps are presented in a language and format that best fits your requirements. Your customisations are then automatically applied across all your published outputs: simulations and documentation.

Note this topic explains how to change the standard text for all steps, and all captures. If you just want to make a one-off edit to the text in a single step you can make your life easier by just editing it directly. Just click the Insert template text as user text button in the frame properties and edit away.

How template files are organised and applied

UPK provides separate template files for each language. To find the current files for your required language open your library and navigate to System > Templates. The template files are organised in separate folders for each language:
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UPK simulations not working in LMS package? Check SCORM version

There are probably a million reasons why UPK does not work when published on your LMS. This may help resolve one of them.

Just created a LMS package without issue. But when publishing on our LMS (we’re using Oracle iLearn) the module would work fine until I try to run one of the simulations. After clicking “See It”, “Try it” or “Know It”, nothing would happen.

Turns out the reason why not was because I’d built the package with the wrong version of SCORM. When publishing (and SCORM version is set when publishing, not as part of the UPK options), UPK defaults to SCORM version 1.3 (2004).

However our LMS is only at 1.2. So the reason why the simulations were not loaded was simply that the package and LMS could not communicate over progress/status.

Changing the SCORM version to 1.2 in UPK, and republishing the LMS package, resolved the issue. The package now presents, completes and tracks perfectly.

[Annoyingly, this setting is not saved so you have to remember to reset it each time you publish. Would be better as a global option - you listening Oracle?]

Why won’t UPK start recording when I click my start key?

I’ve had a regular issue with UPK where it did not recognise my shortcut key to start and stop recording. I’ve been using automatic recording and set (via Tools > Options) UPK to use the PrintScreen button to start and stop. But then I’d be banging the PrintScreen button like a monkey, and nothing would happen.

Tried changing the start key, re-starting UPK, but nothing changed.

Well today I found out why. And it’s nothing to do with the key you select. The trick is to make sure the target application has focus BEFORE you click your start key.

The issue I had is I’d click Record in UPK, and then my next step would be to move the UPK recorder window out the way, and then click PrintScreen. Which meant that UPK, not my application had focus. And thus nothing would happen.

Now I move the UPK window out of the way, then click back in the target application, then click PrintScreen. And UPK starts up immediately.

Problem solved.

Using roles in UPK

UPK provides simple functionality to tag and manage content by user role. Any of your content can be identified by the role(s) that perform it, and you (or your user) can then target content by those roles:

  • only publish content for a specific role (ie only their procedures, or an LMS package just for them)
  • publish for multiple roles but allow users to pick the elements of interest.

For example the following screenshots show a single player package with two roles (core and advanced) defined. Foreign exchange functionality has been tagged as being for advanced users only. Selecting/unselecting this role changes the visibility of the section.

core and advanced roles core role only advanced role only

While designed for classifying content by user role, there’s no reason why you cannot use in other ways. For example, you could use this functionality to classify functionality by application version.

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Customising the logo in UPK

One of the quickest and easiest enhancements you can make to your UPK outputs is to add your own logo. Once selected (and you only select once) this same local replaces the Oracle item in the header of the player package, and in all the published documents.

To add your own logo you need to first make one. According to the upload screen this should be no larger than 230 x 44. Additionally, while it does not say this anywhere, use a .GIF format file. The Player Package, once published, always publishes your logo in that format, and its conversion tool is not great. My first efforts used a .PNG image, and I ended up with some peculiar dithering, as shown here.

Logo as PNG - Nice dot pattern

Logo as GIF - no dithering

Note you don’t have to upload the image to your library. When requested it can simply be loaded from your computer.

To upload select Tools > Customize Logo from the menu. Ignore the category and simply select your image and click OK. UPK will then automatically apply the logo across all the publishing templates.

For bonus points you can also update the other Oracle-branded image that appears in the player package heading.

However there does not appear to be a simple way to do this in advance. Instead you need to publish the package, and then go looking for banner_image.png in the img folder:

The default image is 525×54 so aim to replace with something the same. It is also right-aligned by default, so give thought to how the left-hand end will blend in with the background.