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Tegrity surrealism

Using Tegrity, our distance learning system, has become a completely surreal experience of catastrophic irritation. Grr!

Last week, we had a wondrous meeting in the department head's office wherein the Division of Continuing Education (DCE) tech in charge of distance learning systems asked me if I could please reproduce the errors I was getting.

  • 1. I explained that I sometimes renamed lectures because they populated from old PowerPoint file names even after I renamed lectures, but that this crashed the system.

  • 2. The DCE tech asked me to show them what I was doing to get the "obsolete" names. I loaded Lecture-03-20050829.ppt from CIS 730, went to File -> Save As, and saved as Test.ppt. I then clicked the Start New Web Recording from the Tegrity menu in PowerPoint. The default name that came up was Lecture-03-20050829. I pointed this out to the tech.

  • 3. "Oh, that's a Tegrity feature." I have learned that the term "Tegrity feature" usually precedes design flaws of OMGWTFPOLARBEAR, coyote leg-chewing proportions. The DCE tech showed me that if one right-clicks on the PowerPoint file and looks at the Properties tab, the "Title" field is what Tegrity actually gets the file name from. Now, I've since opened PowerPoint files and tried Save As, and also just renamed them from Windows Explorer, and neither one seems to update the title field. Does anyone know what, besides editing the field in the Properties tab with the file closed, can update the title? I'm asking because I could have sworn that Tegrity does this automatically when we rename the talk in the "Web Recording" dialog, and later save the marked-up version. If that's the case, it explains my confusion, because few things mess me up as much as inconsistent "automatic" features.

  • 4. The DCE tech then asked me how I renamed files. I said that I edit the folder name FooBarBaz in D:\Temp\Recordings and then the top-level FooBarBaz.htm file with the same name in D:\Temp\Recordings\NewFooBarBaz, and noted that this worked for me in the past. The DCE tech averred that this was correct, whereupon I said "no, that crashes Tegrity now", started up "Tegrity Batch Upload", browsed to a NewFooBarBaz I had previously created, and watched the Batch Upload app quit without warning.

  • 5. "Okay, I see - that's not crashing; that's quitting." While I boggled, the DCE tech continued: "Did you hit `Upload Later'?" I replied that I had. "Then it isn't really a lecture. Here, you have to go to Tegrity Editor, open it, and save it---" I made like Alice in Dilbert for a moment and wrapped my brain around what he was saying. "You mean that it needs to finish postprocessing?" I said softly, so that the implications would not echo as loudly in my clustertrasked head. "Yes," came the reply. "You mean that it doesn't postprocess automatically when we actually go to upload, but that we have to open an intermediate application by hand and make it postprocess." Quoth the techie, "yes, that's right". Still refraining from unleashing Russell Crowe, Strong Bad, and a couple of taped-together-ninjas-that-are-one-big-ninja, I asked: "Would you tell me one thing? Is this documented anywhere?" Yep, you guessed it, "No, it isn't. Tegrity documentation is spotty at best." Aaaaaauuuuurrrrghh!

Now, here's the situation:

  • 1. The default Administrator upload destination on the mobile Tegrity cart in our department is set to the head Division of Continuing Education (DCE) facilitator's home if we log in as ourselves (bhsu in my case) and upload to our own directories (e.g., bhsu/CIS_73x). I have no way to get it to populate correctly.

  • 2. Students are reporting that watching Tegrity lectures on the Windows computers in Nichols 126 causes them to reboot. This is more likely an issue for the CIS Help Desk, but I am not aware of any special configuration on the CIS Windows lab systems.

  • 3. Until today, I was missing three lectures from CIS 732, fall 2005 (02, 03 and 12) and three from CIS 732, fall 2005 (02, 03 and 11). I believe 02 in both courses was lost due to the Tegrity error that kept Tegrity from starting, and persisted for about three days until someone came over from DCE to fix on 29 Aug 2005. I discovered today that the postprocessing problem above accounted for two of these six lectures.

  • 4. The rest went into various wrong directories. How do we fix those? Might there be a "move" or "rename" feature? Only from one directory of one course to another - and no renaming on the server side. No batch operations at all. The way to move or rename a lecture is to upload the entire 65Mb-250Mb directory again and delete the old one. Until this year, we even had to call DCE to delete things!



( 12 comments — Leave a comment )
(Deleted comment)
Sep. 29th, 2005 03:26 am (UTC)
... is a Lost-ism, one I believe was coined by cleolinda from OMGWTFBBQ. But seriously. Polar bear in the middle of a tropical island. Bang bang thud.

Oct. 3rd, 2005 07:53 pm (UTC)
OMGWTFPOLARBEAR indeed. Great Lost reference.

Who am I and why am I popping in on your blog? You and I had 7th grade social studies together with Mr. Jones (and perhaps Orchestra as well?).

Christian Muly is a good friend of mine; last night I idly googled him while we were on the phone and I came across your LJ entry referencing your old friendship with Christian and Todd.

So... some 20 years later, I hope this finds you well and happy!
Oct. 3rd, 2005 08:05 pm (UTC)
Wow, good to hear from you
Hey, there!
I just pulled out my SPMS yearbook from 1985-1986 - is this Amanda Richardson?

Wow, Mr. Jones's social studies class.... I still saw "Bawlmer". :-D

I was actually in concert choir with Mrs. Owen, but IIRC we had a joint performance in 7th grade with Orchestra: were you in that 50s & 60s nostalgia concert?

It's been some 5 or 6 years since I last heard from Todd, who also found me via Google, and about 14 before that. How is Christian? I remember him very well. Do you keep in touch with anyone else from SPMS?

I've been well - recently got tenure and am in a rebuilding phase in my research group. I hope you're well, too.

You're added, BTW.

Oct. 3rd, 2005 08:31 pm (UTC)
Re: Wow, good to hear from you
Yep, that's me!

The nostalgia concert rings a bell, albeit a rather vague one. I'm amazed that you've still got a yearbook from SPMS; I held onto the high school ones and I'm pretty stunned that they've not been discarded in a move.

Christian is well. He's living in Seattle now and finishing up school at UW; I don't recall what he's studying. I ran into him shortly after I moved to Portland at a party held by Jenn Maurer. She's since moved back to MD and recently married; she's a nurse in Bawlmer. Christian, Todd and Jenn are really the only folks from Severna Park with whom I've stayed in touch. Todd and I actually got to know one another through Christian, just within the last few years. He's married and living in Northern Virginia.

I'm in Portland, OR, running the support organization for a small technology company called Qsent. I bought an 85-year-old house a couple of years ago and the renovations are pretty much taking over my life these days.

Congratulations on achieving tenure, and it's nice to see you! You're added as well.

-- Amanda.

Sep. 29th, 2005 04:41 am (UTC)
Wow, it's incredibly how few university-commissioned applications end up being well-designed and usable, isn't it? Yikes . . .
Sep. 29th, 2005 04:57 am (UTC)
Must... contain... fist... of TRASK
You're telling me!

I'm just sorry they made me the poster child for Tegrity once upon a time.

<WEEBL>It embarrasing!</WEEBL>

Sep. 29th, 2005 03:10 pm (UTC)
Ever been the victim of WebCT?
Oct. 4th, 2005 07:28 am (UTC)
No. I worked on some university software at one of my previous jobs though, and it was awful. Not sure what they ended up calling it, it was released after my time.
Sep. 29th, 2005 02:07 pm (UTC)
Control that Fist of Death!
Sep. 29th, 2005 03:34 pm (UTC)
Control that Fist of Death!

Sep. 29th, 2005 04:24 pm (UTC)
LOL! Spoken like a true Tegrity end user!
If Content is King, Tegrity belongs next to Brutus, Cassius, and Judas in the Ninth Circle of the Inferno.

Sep. 29th, 2005 04:14 pm (UTC)
ummm i understood about 1/5th of this..but, i did get some of the humor..but, i most certainly got the frustration...

hope you have a better day today
( 12 comments — Leave a comment )

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