Tuesday, August 4, 2009

Using Multiple Style Sheets to control the look and feel of your SCORM content without sacrificing Portability

The problem i've been looking to solve is how can I develop course content that makes use of CSS so that I can maintain the look and feel of an institutions content, but also develop portable SCORM packages.

To start off with, let's assume that you have already figured a way to hack around with your LMS and the way it stores content so that you can implement a site wide style sheet. (This is easier if you have direct access to the server)

Now anytime you're creating a new course you just make sure your html pages are linked to that stylesheet so that you can have some long term control over the look and feel of those pages, however:

What happens if you want to share or move this content? Sure you may be developing nice little SCORM packages that upload into your system just fine, and link to that CSS file you've plopped on your server, but that's not going to work for another system is it!

So you now have 2 options, A) Find away to get your stylesheet onto this new LMS in a way that the initial path from the SCORM html content doesn't break, or B) Develop your SCORM packages with two CSS links. One for the CSS file on your server, and a duplicate that will be packaged with the SCORM object:

<link type="text/css" rel="alternate" href="portable_style.css"/>
<link type="text/css" rel="stylesheet" href="../../whateverpath/default_style.css"/>

The duplicate should only be used if the browser fails to find the default. What's great about this, is it also doubles as having a 'safety' stylesheet in case your default ever gets moved/deleted from the server by accident.

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