Suspend Data Isn't Human-Readable

Is this ANOTHER feature removed by Articulate?  

http://www.articulate.com/support/presenter-13/suspend-data-isnt-human-readable-95

For my site, i developed a custom way to put students where they left off .  and now, after all these years, this has been stopped.

Am i missing something?  

If possible, i would like an opinion from a developer not a community manager.

Tom

17 Replies
Deborah Munitz

I want to know if there is a feature request outstanding and what the status is. I just discovered this massive feature loss yesterday and am beside myself. If one uses restrictive navigation and a student has a problem (and trust me it happens!!! too much I must say!) this is the easy way to support the users. If you have a database edit tool where you can clearly see that a user is on screen 64 but they are resuming on screen 1, its a since to unlock screen 64 in Studio 9.  The compression might help some users with size limitations but it affects all users in removing some level of control needed for customer support and testing purposes.  Can someone in the know please reply back with whatever the latest articles there are on this topic and any status?

Even if there was a way to turn on a client side debug interface that would allow a client side edit this would still be a potential solution.  Or a switch to allow the course creators to decide whether to use the compression feature, that would work too. 

 

Ashley Terwilliger

Hi Deborah, 

The suspend data limit still stands for Presenter as described here and it is still not human readable based on the compression elements.  We don't share a product road map in regards to feature requests that will be implemented or their timeline, but you're welcome to share your thoughts in the form of a feature request here. 

Ashley Terwilliger

Hi Deborah,

I'm not sure I understand what you mean by corruption while they're viewing the course? Like their browser crashes and they have to restart? I can't say I've heard of a lot of instances of that - but if you've enabled the "resume prompt" that should bring the user back to where they left off, if they haven't met the resume data limit already - if they did meet the limit, it would bring them back to where they met the limit. In terms of "unlocking" a lesson, based on what you're describing here there isn't a way to do that which I'm aware of. If I'm misunderstanding, maybe it's easier to share a sample of what you're dealing with and let our team take a look and do some additional testing? 

Deborah Munitz

In Studio 9 I have encountered multiple scenarios that have caused me the
need to see the data and intervene.

1) Lesson window ends up hidden by main screen. Student thinks the
lesson disappeared. They go back to the main menu and relaunch. When they
click yes to resume they end up on screen 1. I can eyeball the data and see
that they got to the screen they claim they are on. I unlock the lesson.
Open it and go to the screen where they left off and then exit to save the
location. This happens regularly because Google Chrome has a bug where if
you launch a video in a separate window with more than one parameter it
opens in a new tab instead of a new window and this confuses students when
the main lesson window gets hidden.

2) If you insert a 1 question quiz in the middle of a lesson in
addition to an end of lesson quiz I occasionally see actual "corrupt" data.
I have seen some articles on the forums that sound very similar. The data
looks like three sets of two little diamonds. I can still see the last
presenter screen that they were on. In this case I resort to 1) wiping out
all the date, 2) opening the lesson on screen 1 and then saving to rebuild
the data framework, 3) editing the data to unlock the restricted access to
the last screen they made it to, and then 4) opening to test and skip to the
right place so that they can resume back where they were. Luckily this
happens very infrequently but it happens.

3) Sometimes the student launches the lesson with some kind of blocking
software and I go to see what's in the core vendor field and I see stuff
like a vertical character | or I see words in there like "undefined" in
there. I just manually clear it out and then troubleshoot with the student
their security setting or extra toolbars etc.

This list is not exhaustive. I usually look at the lesson data 2-3 times a
day in the course of testing or doing customer support. Hundreds and
hundreds of students are taking various lessons all day long and not having
problems so this is just the cost of doing business for me. But to be in a
situation where something like the above happens and there is just no
recourse at all to dealing with the complaints or concerns would be
maddening.

I find it unbelievable that your development staff has not testing tools
available to address this. How do they test the software?

Deborah Munitz

Just as an example:

I went searching in the database for "undefined" This is the kind of thing I might see:

||undefined

This is what is looks like when a student relaunches the lesson and it doesn't resume properly:

viewed=1,2,3,4,5,6,7,8,9,10,11,12,13,14,15,16,17,18,19,20,21,22,23,24,25,26,27,28,29,30,31,32,33,34,35,36|lastviewedslide=1|0#1##,11,1,1,1,1,1,1,1,1,1,1,1,1,1,1,1,1,1,1,1,1,1,1,1,1,1,1,1,1,1,1,1,1,1,1,1#0##-1

Justin Grenier

I'm sorry for the trouble, Deborah.

As you know, Studio compresses suspend data to avoid exceeding data limits imposed by some learning management systems.  As we add additional features to our products, that suspend data becomes larger and larger, and we've gotten to the point where neglecting to compress the data would really be a disservice to our customers.

Most of our customers find that only the course itself needs to be able to decompress and read suspend data—they never need to read it themselves.  The LMS just functions as a handy place to store suspend data between attempts.  However, you can always enable LMS Debug Mode to watch your suspend data flow back and forth between your content and your LMS.  By doing so, you can verify that the data returned by your LMS upon resume is the same data that your content sent upon suspend—a common point of failure.

Having said all of that, it sounds like your environment is different than most, in that your learners tend to experience a lot of resume trouble and problems related to corrupt suspend data.  I would encourage you to share this reality with our product team so that we can continue to keep a pulse on customer sentiment in this area.

Thanks for your thoughts, and have a great weekend!

Deborah Munitz

This is only a problem for compliance courses which require restrictive
navigation. There may be more problems than are known that simply don't
affect other environments. Plus AICC is a smaller universe of users. Debug
mode can be helpful but it completely disrupts the lessons functioning. And
it doesn't allow you to edit the data being sent/stored. Ultimately that is
the problem.

What I would like to see is what is an example of the data passed/stored for
a SCORM course. Perhaps someone could post an example here. I heard it was
human readable. It would require a significant investment on my part to
reimplement on SCORM so if that is the only solution it would be helpful to
see some examples of what the data being sent/stored looks like.

Deborah Munitz

Oh no, 

Immediately following this update from Justin I get this trouble ticket:

I finished the final exam and clicked the "finish" button. It then directed me
to the home page; it did not say I completed the course. I kept refreshing the
page or clicked back onto the pop up and clicked the "finish" button. It did
nothing different. The star was filled that I had started it, but did not
complete it. Yesterday, I had maxed out the time when I was in the middle of
taking the exam and it took me back to the home screen. It had said that I
completed it. Today I finished where I left off; it says on the screen that I
had passed and completed the exam, but the home page says otherwise. I do not
know how to fix it.

What's the first thing I did? Looked at the stored data and saw she got to the end. 

The fact that you are compressing the data is actually a great feature of 2013 IF you alse provided a decompression routine for developers. How hard would that be to implement and address all these concerns. I still have access to the data. I could copy and paste it into a little applet or even an articulate.com interface and click a button and ask for it to be decompressed. The interface could be something as simple as google translate or something. But you should be able to edit something and then click an arrow or something to compress it back. 

Want me to pay for platinum support (which I do) how about adding that? I would pay extra just to actually get a solution rather than just an explanation that comes without an explanation. 

If the compression is for space purposes and is not related to privacy/encryption then you should be willing to share a routine or script or something that a developer can work with to come up with a solution.