SOLR:Other Tools and Best Practices

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Standalone (Third Party) Tool Selection Guidelines


Content should be developed (and edited) outside of the CMS delivery environment. Standalone tools produce content that is free of CMS-specific "clutter" and does not require a CMS to be viewed. A wide range of tools are available. Follow the guidelines below to ensure your content can be used in as many online learning environments as possible.

General Guidelines

  • Use tools that are widely available and commonly adopted by post-secondary educators.
  • Choose tools that work across a wide range of system platforms (e.g., PCs, Macintoshes and Unix-based computers).
  • Create standalone learning resources using tools that have viewer/player versions that are readily available (e.g., the Adobe Reader is available for free download to anyone who wants to view PDF files created in Adobe Acrobat).

Documents and Presentations

  • For word processing, use a tool that can produce documents in rich text format (RTF). This format allows for cross-platform document interchange. Most word processors can read and write RTF documents.
  • To take advantage of SOL*R’s ability to convert files to web-ready format, use Microsoft Word for documents and Microsoft PowerPoint for presentations. SOL*R can optionally convert .doc and .ppt files to HTML during the upload process.


  • Use tools that create images in GIF, JPG or PNG format. These are the three most widely supported image file formats on the Internet.


  • The most widely supported web formats for video are MPEG, QuickTime and AVI. Use a tool that can produce video in one or more of these formats.
  • When using a tool that produces streamed video, weigh the benefit of reduced bandwidth requirements against the requirement for ongoing hosting and maintenance. A learning resource in streamed video format must be hosted on a streaming media server. When the learning resource is contributed to SOL*R, it is contributed as a URL that points to the streaming media server. The consequence is that you are committing to life-long hosting and maintenance of the learning resource that resides on the streamed video server.

NOTE: There are no time frame limitations placed on shared learning resources contributed to SOL*R.


  • Use tools that create sound in MP3, Quicktime or WAV formats. These are the three most commonly supported sound formats on the Internet.
  • ???Do you have any Recommendations on file formats or tools that should NOT be used?

Third Party Tools Recommended for Editing IMS Content Packages

?Scott to provide list? (E.g., Dreamweaver plugin to edit IMS content package).

Accessibility and Mobility

Design Considerations for Accessibility and Mobility


Accessibility refers to enabling any person using any type of browsing technology (e.g., a screen reader or a hand-held device) to access all the information on a website. Mobility is a subset of accessibility that deals specifically with mobile devices. This section contains online learning resource design considerations for accessibility (that encompass mobility), plus design considerations that are unique to mobility.

SOL*R Learning Resources on Designing for Accessibility

Additional Information on Designing for Accessibility

?are there any other than the ones found in SOL*R?

Design Considerations Specific to Mobility

Originally content for mobile devices had to be authored specifically for the device. With advances in technology, mobile devices (e.g., phones) can now access the content via the Internet. When designing online learning resources for mobility, ?provide some standards and approaches that should be followed???

Legal Requirements for Accessibility in Post-secondary Environments

?provide some resources/references?