[LON-CAPA-users] New Content/Problem Editor - Input needed NOW

Raymond Batchelor batchelo at sfu.ca
Tue Oct 21 20:32:37 EDT 2014

Just an observation.  
I use the colorful editor quite a bit, but I almost NEVER click on "Help".

Rather I always try to use the tiny blue "?" contextual help icons which are sprinkled liberally throughout the colorful editor and elsewhere.
These give a popup which is very convenient for viewing the help while continuing to edit your resource.


----- Original Message -----
From: "Carl Lira" <lira at egr.msu.edu>
To: lon-capa-users at mail.lon-capa.org
Sent: Tuesday, 21 October, 2014 17:16:33
Subject: Re: [LON-CAPA-users] New Content/Problem Editor - Input needed NOW

As a relatively new user, I found the colorful editor essential in learning to write proper problems. The colors are gaudy, but that really helps your eye in tracking since some nested boxes can become span several screens. 

My main issue as a beginner with the colorful editor was the lack of contextual help, and understanding which fields are optional and which are required. The tolerance and sig figures boxes are optional for numerical integer answers but that is not clear when the template loads with a 5% tolerance. There is no contextual help for the green Numerical Response box. I’m glad improved contextual help is coming. 

The flow of help is a concern. To get help on the problem without contextual help, you must click ‘help’ in the menu bar which immediately hides your work, then you browse through the manual to find the section, go a couple layers into help, where you realize that if you must click the browser back button to navigate back to the previous help menus, and if you click ‘go back’ in the menu bar, you go back to your problem and lose your place in help. Agh! 

So my main recommendations are to make sure that clicking ‘help’ does not hide your work in progress, and that contextual help is available to guide the users on what parts are required and what parts are optional, and that users can view their work and help at the same time without losing view of one. 

Not really an editor detail, but in terms of the problem template menu, it would be good if there was a link to xml code in addition to the problem browser preview. As users get more experienced, copying an existing problem by xml is faster than creating one in the colorful editor. It is awkward to create a new problem just so that you can copy a snippet of xml from a template. 

I caution that most response from this listserv will be advanced users who are comfortable coding xml, not the beginning users. The experienced users on this listserv will be biased to xml, but the new users need to have a colorful editor. If you want to get a larger set of users, a better interactive editor is necessary. 

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Raymond J. Batchelor, PhD.
Department of Chemistry
Simon Fraser University

Phone: 778-782-5635

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