Frequently Asked Questions
Has mAuthor been tried and tested?
YES – there are over 300,000 learning units created by tens of educational publishers all over the world..
Can enhancements for extra functionality be added?
YES – this can be done as a customer-specific bespoke development or a customer can request us to add a certain functionality at no charge and we will make that available to all users.
Which browsers support content created in mAuthor?
Modern browsers all support HTML5 content. Below there is a list of most prevalent Internet browsers including their versions compatible with HTML5:
- IE since version 9
- Firefox since 3.6
- Chrome since 32 (theoretically, Chrome is comatible with mAuthor content since version 17. In general, there are no problems with Chrome as everyone usually uses its latest version)
- Safari since 5.0
- iOS Safari since 5.0
- Android Browser since 2.2
How does mAuthor differ from other available digital content publishing tools?
mAuthor was built as we could find no tools that enabled us to create interactive educational content that did not require versioning for the multiple platforms available and which was architected as a cloud-based or SAS solution. Many of the existing solutions require versioning of content for different devices, browsers and operating systems we are now seeing in K-12 and higher education markets – particularly with the introduction of mobile devices. mAuthor content plays on all devices and is highly suited to the new mobile environments. Many course development tools require the developer to select where he/she wants to publish the course (PC or mobile). These two types of outputs offer different layouts and a different scope of available functionalities. This is a crucial difference, in our opinion, as we want to support the basic requirement of „create once” and „publish many” instead of preparing different publications for different devices. Examining samples on competing tools’ websites illustrates that difference clearly.
mAuthor is online whereas competing offline tools require that you download the tool and work individually on your computer. This prevents the project and workflow management necessary for editorial teams of publishing houses and does not allow to any asset or data sharing.
mAuthor currently offers over 100 modules which is the largest number of all competing tools and we are still developing new ones. Although this is a significant number we are aware that educational needs may be very specific. That is why, regardless of our ready- made modules, each user of mAuthor can create their own modules (called Add-ons) and provide unique and custom functionality in the content. These modules will be represented and supported in the exactly the same way as basic modules in the tool. mAuthor provides a special tool to create Add-ons (Add-on Editor). This open architecture makes mAuthor unique.
Can mAuthor handle mathematical equations and scientific formulae?
YES – we have developed multiple upper level high school math and science lessons so have developed a robust methodology to do this. Math and science equation can be entered using LaTeX scripting.
Is mAuthor robust enough for large scale content development on multiple projects?
YES – this is how it has been used at Learnetic. We have created and manage over 300,000 interactive learning units with mAuthor and have tools to manage multiple users and projects, including tiered access layers set by the administrator and workflow/versioning control tools. A publisher can define access levels by project both to their own staff and those working remotely. We also have the Bug-Track functionality.
An important feature of the mAuthor concept is the project administration system linked with the access rights management. mAuthor allows users to create separate project spaces that can be opened to strictly defined groups of developers. This approach allows flexibility in managing projects that will be developed in-house and those that will be outsourced to external vendors or those that are a mix of in-house and outsourced. mAuthor users can place different projects with different vendors but all of them can be controlled and managed by the publisher.
Is the platform only for professional content developers (e.g. publishers and development houses) or can teachers and school districts use it as well?
We are working on a complimentary authoring platform dedicated to teachers, schools and districts called mInstructor. We strongly believe that the content creation process should not be limited to publishers. Enabling teachers to create interactive content will enable them to prepare very customized materials well suited to the particular needs of their students. As both tools (mAuthor and mInstructor) share the same technology it will also be possible for teachers will modify and customize the publisher’s content (assuming publishers allow this) creating a more personalized learning experience for their students. We will show case the mInstructor at the SIIA.
What is the business model and pricing?
The business model is an annual subscription, tiered to the number of users a customer wishes to have access to the platform – developers, editors, QA personnel etc.
How easy is it for a new user to start using mAuthor?
We have found that after our initial three hour training session users can start using the system successfully and start creating templates and content. There are so many existing modules to use that fairly complex interactivity can be created by non-technical developers/editors. This is in stark contrast with many content creation systems which require specialist knowledge of CSS style sheets for example. Also, we have a really easy to use help system and have already documented all the functionality and templates in the system.
How do I know that my content will still be useable in the future?
One of the key features of mAuthor is the security that the investment in content creation is safe and maintainable in the future regardless of the tool evolution and existence. That is why the Player that plays back the content (which is a crucial element of the whole system) is made as an Open Source project. It allows every user of mAuthor to control it, integrate it with their own Learning Platform, take part in its development or create their own branch of the Player if necessary.