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CTAT 2.9 Release Notes

14 June 2010

Downloading and Installing

System Requirements

CTAT system requirements are commensurate with those of the Java Runtime Environment. Additional requirements may exist, depending on your authoring environment (Flash, NetBeans, and/or Eclipse).

New users

  1. Download and install CTAT 2.9
  2. Download and install additional software for authoring tutors. (Not sure whether to go with Java or Flash? Read our Java-Flash comparison.)
  3. If you'd like to build interfaces in Java, configure NetBeans.
    If you'd like to build interfaces in Flash, configure the Flash IDE.

Existing Users

  1. Uninstall CTAT.
  2. Delete the file brPrefs.xml from the folder in which you previously installed CTAT.
  3. Download and install CTAT 2.9.
  4. If you use NetBeans to build interfaces with CTAT, remove all CTAT widgets from NetBeans and add the new ones. If you had a very old version of CTAT (pre-1.5), remove the tutor template from NetBeans and add the new one.
    If you use Flash to build interfaces with CTAT, re-add the CTAT Flash components to the Flash IDE.
  5. Upgrade any existing interfaces as described below.

What's New in CTAT 2.9


  • Changed the state-triggered TPA algorithm so that hintless optional steps don’t prevent a TPA from being triggered
  • CTAT can replace a student's correct input on a step with an expression you define. You can use this feature to simplify a mathematical expression for the student or revise text with spelling errors.
  • Smaller “Edit Student Input Matching” dialog
  • Many improvements to the CommNumberBar Flash component, including a new partition type that allows the student to subdivide each whole-number portion of the line into fractional parts.

Bug Fixes / Changes

  • CTAT2373 – Link inspector UI displays “edge” instead of “link”
  • CTAT1799 – Transparent borders in dialog windows
  • CTAT2389 – Link Inspector – should not evaluate formula in Hint text box
  • CTAT2390 – State-triggered TPA does not fire if its link has no hints defined
  • CTAT2392 – Formulas aren’t evaluated in success messages
  • CTAT2400 – Shallow copying of EdgeData in copy-subgraph

Flash Changes

  • CTAT2264 – CommNumberBar: start state is not displayed
  • CTAT2272 – CommNumberBar: small steps sometimes have large tickmarks
  • CTAT2278 – CommNumberBar: display problems when connected to the tutoring service
  • CTAT2289 – Flash: Missing log entries if SWF exits too soon
  • CTAT2296 – Flash: In IE8, tab moves focus to next field but you have to click in field in order to type – Workaround found (link): add the following Flash parameter to the HTML:
    <param name="SeamlessTabbing" value="false">
  • CTAT2325 – Flash: CommTable input doesn’t grade on Tab or Enter
  • CTAT2334 – Flash: CommShell ‘Show Hint Button’ parameter does not hide the hint button
  • CTAT2338 – Flash: No grading of CommTextInput field following a sequence of incorrect attempt (ENTER) followed by clicking into field and pressing ENTER
  • CTAT2341 – Flash: Setting “Show Debug Traces” to “false” has no effect
  • CTAT2343 – Flash: Incorrect-then-correct input sequence makes tab/enter not work correctly
  • CTAT2350 – Flash: CommCheckBox doesn’t highlight on hint if ‘showHighlight’ parameter = true
  • CTAT2354 – Flash: CommHintWindow ‘Text Border’ parameter has no effect
  • CTAT2360 – Flash: CommRadioButton doesn’t highlight for step out of order
  • CTAT2363 – Flash: CommStyledButton ‘Font Size’ parameter has no effect
  • CTAT2364 – Flash: CommTextArea ‘Return Key Action’ parameter had no effect
  • CTAT2375 – Flash: CommHintWindow previous and next hint buttons should be disabled according to whether a prev or next hint is available
  • CTAT2376 – Flash: CommSkillBar font should be configurable
  • CTAT2377 – Flash: CommHintWindow no longer displays a hint if user clicks up arrow a bunch of times
  • CTAT2378 – Flash: CommHintWindow doesn’t display equals sign (=) properly when in a certain format
  • CTAT2379 – Flash: “Show HTML” parameter for CommTextArea component negates Verdana setting and uses Arial
  • CTAT2380 – Flash: Asking for a hint at the end of a problem highlights the Done button but then unhighlights if you move your mouse
  • CTAT2381 – Flash: CommHintWindow doesn’t reset after entering a correct answer or after advancing to the next problem
  • CTAT2382 – Flash: CommImageButton, other buttons disappear after scrim comes down (Chrome, possible other browsers)
  • CTAT2384 – Flash: skill bars do not update dynamically
  • CTAT2385 – Flash: CommComboBox items disappear when graph loads
  • CTAT2386 – Flash: single quotes are escaped in CommHintWindow
  • CTAT2387 – Flash: scroll arrows in CommHintWindow disappear
  • CTAT2388 – Flash: can’t display image in CommHintWindow
  • CTAT2393 – Flash: CommNumberBar: ‘Display’ parameter setting disappears from the number bar when start state created
  • CTAT2394 – Flash: CommNumberBar parameter values cause swf to not run
  • CTAT2397 – Flash: skills are missing from Problem Summary
  • CTAT2398 – Flash: CommHintWindow previous/next buttons don’t respond if mouse doesn’t move between clicks (Fix affects all components.)
  • CTAT2399 – Flash: CommHintWindow should display hints every time the hint button is clicked
  • CTAT2401 – Flash: CommImage disappears
  • CTAT2402 – Flash: focus problem with CommTextField
  • CTAT2403 – Flash: CommNumberBar with Vector type doesn’t match input correctly
  • CTAT2404 – Flash: CommImage and CommImageButton don’t highlight
  • CTAT2405 – Flash: CommCheckBox gets subtle highlight on hint if ‘showHighlight’ parameter = false
  • CTAT2406 – Flash: start state doesn’t display in CommTextField in demonstrate mode
  • CTAT2407 – Flash: hint highlight doesn’t always clear
  • CTAT2408 – Flash: CommHintWindow buttons aren’t disabled initially when connected to the tutoring service

Known Issues


  • NetBeans 6.7.1: class files are deleted if all jar files required for examples are not specified. Workaround is to add all JAR files required by the examples as described here.
  • Jess tutor-performed actions are not logged (CTAT2222).
  • The less-than sign does not display properly in CTAT's separate hint window (but it's fine in the integrated hint window).
  • In Cognitive Tutors, skills (rule names) are not logged.
  • DorminPicture does not provide any feedback message to the student when a step is out of order.
  • If a graph contains a link that is not represented in the cognitive model, a No Model warning dialog no longer appears at author time when input matches that link.


  • CTAT2372 – Flash: for movieclip within a tutor, grading doesn’t occur on Tab or Enter
  • CTAT2396 – Flash: changing the font size of CommStyledButton changes font size in other components
  • CTAT2409 – Flash: components that use images don’t display if Flash Player 7 or earlier
  • The component-specific methods The Correct Method, The InCorrect Method, and The Reset Method do not work when Suppress Student Feedback is turned on. The solution is to use a new CommShell parameter, MonitorLog, which will receive tool_messages and tutor_messages as they are logged.
  • In a Flash cognitive tutor, creating a start state no longer automatically generates working memory facts and templates for some components.
  • Flash components Jumble, Multiple Selection, and Media Multiple Selection have some known issues. Contact us if you're interested in using these components.
  • Flash widgets can’t be modified in Set Start State mode.
  • CommCombobox does not work with some languages such as Japanese. The current workaround is to use HTML entities for these characters in these languages.

Both Flash and Java

  • Inconsistent behavior when clicking on a state (CTAT2249).
  • Tutor doesn’t reconnect to the tutoring service if the same session ID is used (CTAT2199)
  • Docked windows sometimes aren’t loaded on Mac (CTAT2198)
  • Demonstrating a step in an unordered graph that matches an existing step does no create a new link in the graph (CTAT2210). The workaround is to temporarily change the graph to “ordered” to demonstrate the step.
  • In graphs with Suppress Student Feedback enabled, success and error-feedback messages are not displayed, but they are logged. The feedback should not be logged, since it never appeared to the student.
  • Current state (a node with bold text) in an unordered graph is incorrect for Jess tutors (CTAT1927).
  • The JavasrcInstaller, used to set up source documentation for Java functions in the Formula Wizard, does not extract sources on the Mac. To do this manually, see Installing the Formula Wizard.
  • The enforceDone attribute of a behavior graph cannot be set from the CTAT user interface; it can only be set in the behavior graph XML using a text editor.

Upgrading an Interface to CTAT version 2.9

If you would like to use new CTAT widgets or components in an existing interface, you will need to upgrade that interface as described below. If you do not feel comfortable upgrading your interface, contact us and we will upgrade your interface.


  1. Backup your existing projects directory to a separate folder on your hard disk.
  2. Ensure that you've completed steps 1–4 listed above.
  3. Launch NetBeans, and view your project file hierarchy (Window > Files).
  4. Right-click on the folder containing the interface you'd like to upgrade, and click New In the "File Name" field, specify a name for this file that is anything but the name of the interface you're upgrading. All other fields can be left unchanged. It is not necessary to create a new subdirectory of Projects by modifying the Folder field, although you can if you prefer to do so.
  5. Press Finish.
  6. Expand the folder that contains the interface you're upgrading. You should see the .java and .class files for the interface you're upgrading, as well as the new .java file with the name you specified in the previous step.
  7. Open both the new file and original interface file by double-clicking each of their names in the Files panel.
  8. You should see both interfaces in "Design" mode. If you do not, click the button at the top titled "Design" for each interface. The new interface should contain only a blank panel.
  9. For your original interface, view the widget objects in the interface using the Component Inspector (Window > GUI Editing > Inspector). Within the Inspector panel (located on the bottom left of the NetBeans window by default), expand the TutorPanel object. This object has a blank icon. You should see a number of widgets appear within it.
  10. Select all of the interface widgets. On Windows, this can be accomplished by clicking the first widget inside TutorPanel, then while pressing and holding shift, clicking the last widget.
  11. Copy your widgets (CTRL+C on Windows, COMMAND+C on Mac).
  12. View the new interface that you created in step 4. Select the JPanel in the Inspector, and paste the widgets (CTRL+V on Windows, COMMAND+V on Mac). You now have a working CTAT 1.5-compatible interface.
  13. Run your new interface (SHIFT+F6) to verify that the upgrade procedure worked. If you encounter an error and the file will not run, contact us for assistance.


  1. Install the CTAT 2.9 Flash components as described on the Flash configuration page.
  2. Open an existing Flash interface (a file with extension .FLA) in the Flash IDE.
  3. For each component in the interface that you would like to upgrade, drag that component from the CommComponents section of the Components tab onto the Flash stage.
  4. At the Resolve Component Conflict prompt, choose Replace existing component and press OK. All instances of that component will be upgraded to the new version.
  5. Delete the extra component that appeared on the stage.