CTAT provides the capability for 'mass production' of problems for both Flash and Java Example-Tracing tutors. Using mass production, you can save time by authoring a large set of problems in a spreadsheet. The behavior recorder then generates a behavior graph for each problem defined in the spreadsheet.
Mass production generally follows the process outlined below:
NOTE: If you are using a prefabricated spreadsheet (problems table) for authoring, skip to step 3 - Input problems into the problems table.
In this phase of mass production, you will demonstrate behavior for your Example-Tracing tutor using a completed interface. Instead of authoring the content of hint and error messages, skills, and correct and incorrect student input, you will enter variables for these values. For the following steps, focus on making a behavior graph that can apply to multiple similar problems.
You are now ready to create a problems table.
In the last step you created a problems table—a tab-delimited text file editable with Excel—to store problem information. In this phase you will author your problems by inputting data into the file. While the file is tab-delimited, and can therefore be edited with a text editor, we recommend that you use a spreadsheet program to enter problem data.
In a spreadsheet editor, your table should look similar to the one depicted in this figure. In the spreadsheet, the first column lists the variables from your BRD Template, while each column after the first represents a problem. It is important to name your problems in the first row of the problem table, as each BRD that is generated will use the first cell of the column for its name.
When you are done inputing problem data, save your problems table.
In this phase, you will generate BRD files from the BRD template and problems table. In Microsoft Office, a similar step is called "mail merge". Like mail merge, this step takes the problem data you inputted and substitutes it for variables throughout the BRD template.
To merge the problems table and BRD template:
With the student interface and behavior recorder in Test Tutor mode, test the mass-produced BRDs by opening them and attempting to solve the particular problem. Revise the problems table if necessary. If you need to change the variables or structure of the behavior graph, edit the BRD template in the behavior recorder as described in "Create a BRD Template". If you make changes to the graph, both steps two and three above will need to be repeated. Remember to add any new variables to the problems table—do not overwrite this file from the behavior recorder—and fill out the blank cells in the table accordingly. For unnecessary cells, use the text NA.