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How to Add a Learning Book

Introduction: The LearningWorks Smalltalk Environment used for the OU M206 course allows the user to add their own Learning Books. These may be of use for Tutors to create exercises for revision or to clarify particular points. There are no help files available for this facility so the following has been discovered by trial and error. There can therefore be no guarantees that the following is the whole story or even safe to carry out.

Folders Used by User Learning Books: The User Learning Books are saved in folder C:\M206\lw\Lbs\Own with names allocated by the system such as user01.lw. Experiments show that the files can be renamed and that they are still detected by the "Launcher" and the name displayed in the launcher does not change. Deleting a file, renaming it or replacing it in Windows Explorer does not seem to be a problem so it would seem that there are no 'index files' holding details of the Learning Books one creates and it would appear that they can be distributed and the recipient can add them to their system by copying into the C:\M206\lw\Lbs\Own folder.

Hints on creating your own Learning Books: Learning Books are created using the Resources menu in the Launcher. One is given a default name which should be changed to the name you wish to use. There is no way to change the name displayed in the Launcher after the Learning Book has been created. Once the Learning Book has been created it is worth adding a new section using the Section menu. This can be renamed whilst the Section you are initially provided with can not be renamed from Notes. Once you have your new section you can add the Pages you require using the Page menu. You can change the names of the new Pages and any Sections you add. We have not found a way to add a page accessing HTML files as used in the course exercises - an alternative is to open such files in ones favorite Browser in a separate Window. This is little different to detaching a Page and is the approach used in Dolphin Smalltalk for exercises and tutorials.

A Typical Learning Book Section would contain a Workspace, Notes to describe the exercises etc and a Class Browser with some new Classes to illustrate points. A Notes Page for Discussing the exercise can be added if appropriate. The Class Browser is a Full Class Browser with all the Classes including many added by the OU visible. The Full Class Browser is therefore much more useful and instructive than those in the OU provided LBs but has an excess of detail for Students early in the Course when a drip feed of information is taking place. We also find it useful to add a Glossary page when developing exercises.

An Example Learning Book: We are developing a revision and/or tutorial explanation and exercise on the Inheritance, Super and Self. The possible shortfalls in the Glossary definition of Super have caused much active discussion in the Tutor Conferences. This is currently unpolished but you are welcome to download it to experiment with. It is called pemclb01.lw and This Link should be Right Clicked and the 'Save Target As' option used to download the file ready to put in the folder described above.

Comments and other Feedback are welcome as usual to pcurtis@corinna1.freeserve.co.uk.

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Most recent revision: 28th June, 1998