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Macromedia Launches CourseBuilder

Macromedia is planning to include a new learning module in the latest version of its flagship product Dreamweaver ships later this month.

CourseBuilder is based on Dreamweaver 3 technology and will replace Attain Objects as Dreamweaver's Web-based learning content module.

Chris Redfield, a spokesperson for Macromedia (MACR), described CourseBuilder as a compatibility release designed to bring the module up to the level of the technology and ease of use characteristics available in Dreamweaver 3. Integration between the two products has also been improved. Customers familiar with Attain Objects should be able to transition to Course Builder fairly easily, he added.

CourseBuilder contains more than 40 prebuilt learning interactions ranging from simple true/false, multiple choice, or fill-in-the-blank selections, to reactions to user responses. For example, if a user answers a question incorrectly, he or she can be directed to a Web page where the information is available.

In addition to the prebuilt interactions, CourseBuilder also contains Action Manager and Knowledge Track. Action Manager provides a visual interface for adding interactivity and sophisticated logic to learning content. Knowledge Track enables a variety of information, such as student progress and test scores, to be sent directly to an instructional management system.

Based on research undertaken, according to Redfield, a large number of people are providing online training. The market is indicating explosive growth in the number of people searching for products to simplify the process. Macromedia is seeking to fill this need with the two markets it is targeting with CourseBuilder:

  • Web developers asked to put training materials, such as surveys, into sites they are building are currently manually coding them. CourseBuilder will enable developers to put this information in visually while it writes the script in the background.
  • Subject matter experts, particularly in academic environments, who are not programmers will be able to put their information on the Web fairly easily.

CourseBuilder benefits from Dreamweaver 3's visual programming interface, open architecture, and support for Web standards. CourseBuilder's interactions were built using HTML and JavaScript, and create Web-native content. Thus, content can be delivered in most browsers on both Windows and Macintosh platforms.

Macromedia will continue to support Attain Objects, but the product will be compatible only with Dreamweaver 2.

Attain Objects was initially released in September 1998, based on the technology in Dreamweaver 1.2. An updated version was released in June based on Dreamweaver 2 technology.

Dreamweaver 3 is priced at $299 and CourseBuilder at $199. Bundled pricing is available, as is site licensing and pricing for educational and government customers. CourseBuilder will be available as a free upgrade for Attain Objects users and Dreamweaver Attain users that upgrade to Dreamweaver 3.