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Lesson 4. Interactive DHTML Quizzes > Introducing the Coursebuilder Extension

Introducing the Coursebuilder Extension

Instructors will be pleased to know that Macromedia offers a free extension at its Dreamweaver Exchange (http://www.macromedia.com/exchange/dreamweaver/). The extension offers a whole library of education interactions and requires no programming.

What is the Exchange? It's Macromedia's free service for users of Dreamweaver, Flash, Fireworks, and several Macromedia servers, where users (including Macromedia insiders) can post commands and other customized programs that extend the functionality of a given product. Some of these extensions enhance productivity, for example, by making it easier to create data tables; others provide artistic possibilities.

One of Macromedia's extensions is CourseBuilder, a mini-application that runs inside Dreamweaver. It has a gallery of over 30 interaction types (including drag and drop, multiple choice quizzes, hotspot/exploration interactions, and much more). You build these interactions by working through a wizard. CourseBuilder then writes all of the DHTML code needed to meet your specifications. The interaction appears in Dreamweaver, ready to run and fully editable.

CourseBuilder offers a gallery of interaction types and a wizard from which to build them.

CourseBuilder is also somewhat more secure than DHTML. If you include the answers in your DHTML, CourseBuilder encodes them so nosy readers won't happen upon them. However, this code is not hard-core encryption, and if you know what to look for, it is easy to crack. But something is better than nothing.

Now you might be wondering why you developed all of these interactions from scratch, if there is a tool that can do it for you. The answer is that many nontechnical people initially find CourseBuilder intimidating. It helps to understand a little bit about layers and DHTML before tackling it. Now that you have built these three quizzes, CourseBuilder will be a breeze.

Also, using wizards robs you of the learning experience; surely you don't regret that you now understand events, functions, and dynamically changing object properties. The learning isn't wasted; you'll re-encounter all of these topics much more intimately in the Flash chapters that follow.

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