LMS

Powerful Reporting in Firmwater LMS

Posted July 9, 2018 by Kinda Nehlawi

As an e-learning provider, one of the best ways to improve your business operations and efforts is by leveraging data from your LMS. With Firmwater, you can capture, organize, analyze, and save data that informs your decision-making process.

Benefits of reporting

Firmwater reports allow you to:

  • View your overall site activity such as the login and course history.
  • Gain insight to your customer’s data to monitor their usage and provide them with regular updates.
  • Analyze learner completion data to find out which courses are more popular.
  • Download learner data to report it to external stakeholders.

View and download available reports by clicking on the Reports tab and selecting one of four available categories. You can customize the default reports to your own needs. You can filter their data and select different time ranges. When you have the data you need, export your report as a simple Excel sheet, PDF file or in CSV format for further analysis in spreadsheet programs.

Report categories

Category Use this to
Activity Reports Access informative data on all course activities in the LMS
Assessments View responses and scoring for different assessments
Logins View details of your LMS’s current as well as historical login sessions
Other Reports View lists such as your clients, users and activities in the LMS site

Popular reports

The following reports are some of our customer’s favourites:

  • Starts and Completions
  • Find out how many learners have started and completed your course during any specific time range. This can help you know which of your courses are most popular.

  • Users List
  • Export a list of all users and their data (email addresses, locations etc.) that exist in your site.

  • Interaction Data
  • Find out how learners are responding to SCORM-published quizzes and assessments as this report gives you detailed questions and responses.

    Sample Report

    Sample Starts and Completions Report

    Reports are available for all LMS packages. If you have unique report requirements, we can provide you with a quote for the cost of creating one or more custom reports to meet your needs.

    Get in touch with us now if you have any questions regarding the reporting feature.

     

3 Tips for Organizing your Content Library in Firmwater LMS

Posted December 14, 2017 by Kinda Nehlawi

If you’re an eLearning provider, chances are your online content list can get quite messy making it difficult for you to search through. With Firmwater LMS, you can always take actions to ensure your content is well-organized. Here are our top three tips to help you save time when navigating your online content:

Books.png

1. Establish a naming convention.

This makes it a lot easier for you to navigate your content library when you need to perform an action such as grant a course down to a client or make changes to the content settings. The naming can include information such as:

  • Course/Learning Activity Name or Acronym
  • Date
  • Version of the course, if applicable
  • Language, if applicable e.g. FR, EN, ES

Keeping it in the same sequence consistently will help organize it as the LMS will list activities in alphabetical order.

2. Ensure that you are specifying the type of learning content.

When loading new content or when editing existing content, it’s best to ensure that the type field is populated. Content type can be anything like a Course, Module, Lesson, Test, Video etc. Specifying the type helps makes it easy for you to filter your search in the activities list and it helps edit settings in bulk e.g. enable/disable idle timer.

To do this in Firmwater LMS, go to Content > Activities and select the learning item you’d like to edit. Once in the item summary page, click on ‘Edit’. This will open up a page that allows you to edit various settings. You’ll find the ‘type’ field listed there with a drop-down menu for options.

3. Archive unused and unneeded content.

Archiving content does not mean the content will be deleted. It’s actually good practice to archive course items or course components that are part of larger items. Archiving courses or course versions no longer in use helps you find courses that are actively being used and makes the activity list look cleaner. In the activities list, archived items can be accessed by switching either to ‘All’ or ‘Archived’ view near the search bar.

We hope that these tips help you organize your learning activities. If you need assistance with any steps, please reach out to us.

 

New: A Video Player that Creates a Consistent User Experience

Posted August 8, 2017 by Josephine Huschmann

You can now add videos in MP4 format to your course content and users will have a consistent experience across all browsers.

How it works

Load your video in the LMS with the content loader. The LMS will automatically detect the file format and assign the activity type ‘Video’. Position your video within your course content and edit it like any other asset. Change its name, give it a description, add an image for your course library, set prerequisites, and update the file anytime with a newer version. You can decide if the video launches in a new window or the existing window, add tags, or add a completion certificate.

When a user launches the video from their Training Plan, the experience will be consistent across all platforms. The player control bar shows a play button, volume control, seek bar, full screen, and exit button. It doesn’t matter which browser you use; the player will look and feel the same. Of course, the video player is responsive so that your users can watch your content on the go with their mobile or tablet device.

At this time we have enabled seeking - allowing the user to skip forward and backward to any point in the video. We understand that some clients may want to make it mandatory to watch the video in full without skipping ahead. The Firmwater team is working hard to add this option in the future.

Play:Pause round.png

Features

  • Supported file types: mp4 and m4v
  • Consistent look between browsers & browser versions
  • Supports mobile devices
  • Volume control and full-screen mode
  • Videos will auto play upon loading
  • Video progress is saved and video resumes at current progress
  • Video goes from ‘in progress’ to ‘completed’ status once fully watched
  • Video seeking is enabled - users can skip to any part of the video as it plays

What about SCORM?

The video will be placed into a SCORM wrapper, that allows the LMS to track the current progress time, as well as when a user has completed watching a video. This is important for tracking data, attempts and completion statuses in reports.

We hope you find these improvements useful. If you have any questions, pleaseĀ contact us.

 

New: Specify Completion & Scoring Rules for Course Items

Posted June 23, 2017 by Kinda Nehlawi

Along with being able to add prerequisites to a course item, you can now specify whether or not:

a. It is required for the completion of parent item

b. It should be included as part of parent item’s score

In the past, we had to work together to figure out the scoring and completion rules you wanted to have in place for your course. Now, you can do it all when administering the LMS. In the ‘Attempts and Scoring’ page of an item, we added a section titled ‘Parent Item’ where both of these options can be edited. Simply check the box near each statement and click on ‘save changes’.

Screen Shot 2017-06-23 at 12.37.32 PM.png

This feature is particularly relevant if you’d like the course score to be reflecting a final assessment score. Another example would be if you want to exclude certain files from affecting the completion status of the course (e.g. additional resources).

We hope you find this update useful!

Please reach out to us with any questions or suggestions.

New: Idle Timeout

Posted June 15, 2017 by Kinda Nehlawi

We added a new feature to our LMS that ensures that your learners are actively interacting with their assigned content. There is a new presentation setting where you can specify an idle timeout value.

For content that has an idle timeout set, we’ll detect user activity in the content window after the learner launches a learning item (lesson, topic, module, etc.). If no activity is detected for a specified period of time, a warning message is displayed asking them whether they want to continue with the current session or log out. If the user does not respond to this prompt within two minutes, their session is terminated and they get logged out of the system.

idle timeout warning

If a learner’s session is terminated this way, we’ll subtract the timeout value from their session duration so that they don’t get credit for time in content when they weren’t active.

By default, all SCORM content is configured with an idle timeout of 10 minutes. The warning message will be displayed after eight minutes of inactivity and the learner will have two minutes to respond before before logged out.

If the user clicks the ‘Stay Logged In’ button, the timer resets and they won’t see the warning message until we detect another eight minutes of inactivity.

User activity

The below actions are considered user activity in the launched content browser window:

  • moving the mouse
  • clicking the mouse
  • scrolling the mouse wheel
  • using the keyboard
  • touch events

How to enable/disable idle timeout

As an administrator, you can set a timeout value from two different areas:

  1. Through the presentation settings of an individual learning item.

    Navigate to some SCORM content in the ‘Content’ tab and click ‘Edit’. In the top right drop-down edit menu, choose ‘Presentation’. Under ‘Idle Timeout’ you will find two options, either select ‘No Idle Timeout’ or specify inactivity duration (minimum 2 minutes) before a user is logged out.

    Presentations page

  2. Through the activity list page using the presentation bulk operation.

    From the ‘Activities’ page in the ‘Content’ tab, check the courses you would like to select items from. Choose ‘Presentation’ from the bottom-left drop down menu then click on ‘Go’.

    Bulk operations

    In the ‘Presentation’ window, the first step is to select the type of learning item you would like to set the timer for. This may be any launch-able SCO item. The second step is to apply the feature. Again, you will find two options under ‘Idle Timeout’. You may either select ‘No Idle Timeout’ to disable it or specify inactivity duration (minimum 2 minutes) before a user is logged out.

Supported browsers

The following browsers support the idle timeout feature:

  • Google Chrome (latest)
  • Mozilla Firefox (latest)
  • Microsoft Edge (latest)
  • Safari (latest)
  • Internet Explorer 9+

We hope you can benefit from this feature. If you have any questions or comments, please contact us.

New: Adding Prerequisites to Modules Within a Course

Posted June 13, 2017 by Stefan Leyhane

You can now add sequencing to the modules within your courses through the user interface. Previously, you had to load a SCORM package to do this or get us to help you to do so.

Prerequisites page

We’ve added a new ‘Prerequisites’ page for items in courses.

Prerequisites page

From the page, you can indicate which other items in the course need to be completed before the current item can be accessed. One or more items can be selected.

You can also indicate the amount of time that the learner must spend in the course (across all modules) before the current item can be accessed. This is useful for courses that mandate that the learner spends a certain number of hours in training before starting the final exam.

Auto-sequence a course

The most common scenario for sequencing in courses is to require the learner to complete the modules in the order that they appear. We’ve made it really easy to do this.

From the course summary page, use the ‘Auto-sequence’ action. This will make each item in the course a prerequisite for the next item.

Auto-sequence a course

Of course, you can edit an item and remove its prerequisite, if needed.

Learner experience

As a learner, items that have prerequisites will be disabled until the requirements are met. A tool tip with information about what needs to be completed before the item is available is shown. We also suggest making any such requirements clear in an item’s description, along with other pertinent information to set the learner’s expectations.

Learner experience for prerequisite

We hope you find these changes useful!

Streamline Your SCORM Content using Storyline 2

Posted April 19, 2017 by Kinda Nehlawi

Welcome to our first post in this series! This post will guide you through the step-by-step process to streamline publish your content using Articulate Storyline 2 and get the most insight on your learner’s experience.

Who will benefit from this article?

Scenario A: you’re in the process of assessing authoring tools and started a free trial to see if Storyline meets your needs.

Scenario B: you’ve already purchased a license for Articulate Storyline, you need to figure out how you can publish content successfully.

Scenario C: you’re now in charge of authoring/updating/maintaining training courses for your company using Storyline, but have no solid experience with the tool.

Scenario D: you’ve used authoring tools before, maybe even this one, but need a refresher or simply more Firmwater-specific instructions.

If you relate with any of the above-mentioned scenarios, then this guide is for you.

Here are the steps you can take to ensure it runs smoothly and communicates all the right things to the Firmwater LMS…

Configuring the settings to publish for an LMS

  1. Once you’ve finished authoring your course, go to the Home tab and click Publish. A Publish window should pop up on your screen. Here’s where you can make all the necessary configurations.

  2. On your left-hand side, you’ll see a tab that says LMS, click on it as that is what you are going to publish for.

  3. Give your course a relevant Title and Description that you would like your users to see when logged into their LMS portal. A description can be very helpful in providing your learners with a brief overview of what the course is about and what its structure will be.

  4. In the Folder field, ensure that you are using the correct location you would like to store your package file in.

  5. Next, you will find the option to publish for HTML5 and Mobile devices. If you expect your learners to launch your course from devices beside their PC or laptop, you should check “Include HTML5 output”.

    Note: Browsers are starting to drop default support for Flash, so it’s always best to enable HTML5 output.

  6. We normally recommend that you leave the settings Properties as default, however, if you want to change the quality of the video or images in your course, you can do so here.

  7. Now, let’s move on to Output Options.This part is essential when publishing as this is where you’ll be able to track as well as view reports on your learner’s progress. Here, you’ll need to select SCORM 2004 from the drop-down menu.

    Next, click on Reporting and Tracking to further edit how the Firmwater LMS and your content will communicate.

    Reporting:

    Again, ensure that SCORM 2004 is selected from the drop-down menu to the right of LMS. Your title and description can correspond to that of your main menu title and description. Giving your learners more information or tips about the course is always helpful.

    The Identifier is a unique combination of characters to help the LMS recognize your content. Whenever you re-publish or want to update a course in the LMS, ensure that this Identifier code remains the same. This will allow the LMS to determine that you’re updating the content and not loading in new content.

    Now, we move on to LMS Reporting. The LMS tracks both a completion status and a success status. You will find that you may choose from four different options. We recommend that you select either Passed/Incomplete or Passed/Failed for optimal results.

    Tracking:

    For proper tracking to take place, you need to ensure this section is properly configured. You have two options: either track your learners progress based on how many slides they view, or track them based on their quiz results.

    For Track using quiz result to be an available option, you will need have at least one quiz slide, or if you have multiple, a quiz result slide that determines the total score of quiz questions throughout the course should be created.

  8. You’re now ready to publish your content for the LMS. To do that, Click the Publish button and wait for the Publish Successful dialog box to appear. Under View Project, you’ll see the option to create a ZIP file for your course. Click on it. Now you have your course package available in ZIP format.

Tip: Our team highly recommends that you test your new content using your demo account before making it live for your learners to launch. This will help you determine areas that need improvement in your content and recognize if you missed a step during the configuration.

If you need more details about how you can access your demo account, please don’t hesitate to reach out to us.

Continued...

New: Customize Email Templates

Posted June 9, 2016 by Branagh O' Shaughnessy

One of the highlights of using Firmwater LMS is the freedom and flexibility to customize yours and your clients’ sites. Our customizations include tailored email notifications triggered by the LMS. We have developed this new feature to put you in control of email content for yours and your client sites. In one place, you can easily edit, and update the email templates for all sites.

If you need to edit the text in the welcome message, or add information to the due date reminder, this is now possible through the Email Configuration interface. If you make any changes to the existing email template you can send a test email to the email address of your choice, and see the changes made.

If changes are made at the master level, the update will automatically carry through for any client sites that are inheriting the master email templates. Your client administrators can also edit the email notifications for their organization. This allows you to more efficiently oversee multiple clients with Firmwater LMS.

The next time you need to update the master email template, or make a change for a client, follow these steps:

  1. In the relevant organization, go to the ‘Configuration’ tab and select ‘Emails’ from the grey sub-menu. The next page is the list of all email templates available for editing.
  2. Scroll to the email template you wish to edit and click on ‘Edit template’. Next you will see the email template broken down into the subject and body sections.
  3. Edit email template

  4. Two tabs are available to you for editing. These offer the email template in plain text and HTML formats.
  5. Make any edits required and click ‘Save Changes’.
  6. To see your changes in effect, select ‘Send test email’ to the email address of your choice.
  7. For more detailed instructions please see this guide on how to customize email templates.

    We hope you enjoy the new release. If you have any questions or comments about this new feature, please don’t hesitate to get in touch.

New: Change a User’s Access to Assigned Content

Posted April 22, 2016 by Branagh O' Shaughnessy

We just added a new feature that allows you to more easily change a participant’s access to a course. Regardless of the way the content was assigned to a user — because of a purchase or because they qualified for a rule-based assignment — you can now easily change the due date and last day of access.

Many of our clients sell access to their e-learning courses for a set amount of time. This may be 30 days, or a year, or somewhere in-between. While Firmwater LMS can be configured to send reminders to participants that have not completed courses, there will always be people that don’t get them done on time.

Our clients sometimes get requests for extensions. This new feature allows for better management of these.

How to change access

The next time a learner requests an extension of their access to a course, here’s how you can accommodate them:

  1. Go to the ‘Content’ tab and select the relevant course. Drill down to see the list of participants.
  2. Check off the users you wish to change access for and use the Change access bulk operation in the drop-down at the bottom of the list.
  3. You are now prompted to change the due date and end date for the selected users. Add an optional note to help you track changes, and save.

It’s as simple as that!

Change access

As an administrator, you can also change access for a user from the user’s ‘Training Plan’ details. For more detailed instructions please see this guide on changing access to learning content.

We hope you enjoy the new release. If you have any questions or comments about this new feature, please don’t hesitate to contact us.

Scheduled Maintenance for March 18 - 19

Posted March 16, 2016 by Richard G. Williams

On Friday March 18, 2016 starting at 23:00 EDT, our data center team will begin work on replacing several pieces of key network equipment. The replacement will result in 2 disruptions in connectivity to the Firmwater LMS servers, each lasting up to 30 minutes. We anticipate that this maintenance will be completed by Saturday March 19 at 6:00 EDT.

The team will also be applying the latest Microsoft security updates to the Firmwater LMS servers during this maintenance window.

Should you have questions regarding this notification, please contact us.

Assemble Course Content in Firmwater LMS

Posted March 3, 2016 by Branagh O' Shaughnessy

You can now assemble course content in Firmwater LMS! Load individual modules, quizzes, and PDFs to the system and build them up into larger courses based on how you wish users to progress through your content.

Build up your course content

Most third-party authoring tools, like Articulate Storyline and Adobe Captivate, only allow you to publish individual modules. You may want your course to consist of a course overview PDF, followed by a number of small modules organized into folders, and then an exam. You can now easily build up this structure in Firmwater LMS.

You can now create new empty activities, create folders inside existing activities, and load content (SCORM packages, PDFs, and other files) inside existing activities. Re-order the contents of an activity to achieve the desired structure.

How it works

When you access the Create activity action in the Content tab, you will be asked to name your new activity and to indicate its type (i.e. course, module, section etc.).

New Course Builder

Your new activity will be created and you will be prompted to add content to it. Click ‘Add content’ and you will be presented with several options for adding this content:

Function Description
Load new content from file This will allow you to load a SCORM package or PDF from your system into the current activity.
Select an existing item from system You will be directed to choose from a list of activities previously loaded to your site. This allows you to add single or multiple learning items to the current activity. First choose the desired activity from the drop down list. Next choose the desired item enclosed within this activity.
Create a new folder This allows you to create a sub-folder within the activity, and add learning items to it. You will be asked to name the folder, and it will then be visible in the activity tree.

Once you have added desired content, items can be re-ordered by clicking and dragging the icon beside the item’s title. Changes you make to the activity tree are automatically saved. Once your new activity is structured as needed, it is ready for delivery to participants.

For more detailed instructions, please see our Quickstart guide.

Enjoy!

Scheduled Maintenance for Saturday February 20

Posted February 17, 2016 by Richard G. Williams

On Saturday February 20, 2016, our data center team will be applying the latest Microsoft security updates to the Firmwater LMS servers between 3:45 A.M. and 6:00 A.M. EDT. During this maintenance window, users may experience brief periods of downtime when servers are rebooted to apply changes.

Should you have questions regarding this notification, please contact us.

Scheduled Maintenance for Saturday January 23

Posted January 20, 2016 by Richard G. Williams

On Saturday January 23, 2016, our data center team will be applying the latest Microsoft security updates to the Firmwater LMS servers between 3:45 A.M. and 6:00 A.M. EDT. During this maintenance window, users may experience brief periods of downtime when servers are rebooted to apply changes.

Should you have questions regarding this notification, please contact us.

Introducing: The New and Improved Content Loader

Posted January 15, 2016 by Branagh O' Shaughnessy

We recently transformed our content loader. The new loader incorporates all the functionality of the previous version, but with added improvements. We have enhanced it to automatically detect the type of upload you are carrying out.

The new loader

Firmwater LMS will automatically detect if the file you load already exists for your organization. If the loader finds a match with existing content, it will tell you the activities and number of clients using it. Once you confirm the update, Firmwater will update the newly loaded activity in all of these places. You can still upload content as new or update the resources of existing content, as in the old loader. The only difference is you don’t have to indicate your desired operation - instead the loader detects the operation based on the file you upload.

We’ve also made a few other tweaks to help you out when things go wrong:

  • We now load SCORM packages that were zipped up with an extra top folder (a common issue).
  • We detect when you accidentally load your authoring tool project file and alert you.
  • We provide better error feedback if something is wrong with your file.

How it works

When you access the Load Content feature through the Content tab, you will launch the Load Content dialog box. Just drag and drop your SCORM package or PDF file directly into the dialog box. You can also click on the box to navigate to a file location on your computer. Pro tip: drag your file directly onto the activities list page and the dialog will open automatically! Watch it upload and add your activity title and type.

New Content Loader

Conclusion

We have made the following improvements to our loader:

  • Descriptive feedback is given in the event a bad file is loaded.
  • The loader can detect if the file you load already exists for your site, so you don’t have to input whether you are updating or loading content as new.
  • If the loader detects a matching file on the site, it will report this you. You will be shown the activities and the number of clients currently using this file.
  • This provides you with better scope of the update you are carrying out. You can now rest easy knowing how many activities and clients are impacted by your update.

Scheduled Maintenance for Saturday Nov 21

Posted November 19, 2015 by Richard G. Williams

On Saturday November 21, 2015, our data center team will be applying the latest Microsoft security updates to the Firmwater LMS servers between 3:45 A.M. and 6:00 A.M. EDT. During this maintenance window, users may experience brief periods of downtime when servers are rebooted to apply changes.

Should you have questions regarding this notification, please contact us.

Emergency Network Maintenance for October 28, 2015

Posted October 28, 2015 by Richard G. Williams

During last weekend’s maintenance window, upgrades were applied to one of the main firewalls at our data center by our hosting provider. Since this upgrade, the operations team has discovered an issue affecting network communications, and has determined that further changes are required to fully resolve the issue.

The required network maintenance will take place this evening, Wednesday October 28th starting at 23:00 EDT (GMT-4). The maintenance should be completed within 4 hours. While our data center employs a redundant architecture, the changes are of a nature that will result in occasional interruptions to network communications as the work is performed.

The maintenance does not affect the operation of the Firmwater LMS servers, only your ability to communicate with the servers. During this maintenance period, your users may experience inability to connect to the Firmwater LMS servers, or delays in responses from the servers.

We apologize for the short notice and the inconvenience to you and all users. Should you have questions about this, please do not hesitate to contact our support team.

We will update this notice once the maintenance has been completed.

Update: Network Maintenance completed October 29 at 3:40.

Archive Content

Posted October 26, 2015 by Branagh O' Shaughnessy

You can now archive learning activities and events in Firmwater LMS. Archived items cannot be edited and no new participants may be added. Existing participants continue to have access.

Archiving gives you a way to get old content out of view, but still keep all the history associated with that content. Some scenarios where this may come in handy:

  1. You don’t want to see old events.
  2. You are refreshing your content library with mobile-friendly courses. Since you may want to roll out the new courses slowly to your clients, it’s sometimes best to load them as new content. As you replace each course, you can archive the old version so it is not used going forward.
  3. You want to hide the individual modules that are used by assembled courses. Archiving the original modules allows you to still update them, but gets them out of view.

How to archive content

Administrators (with appropriate privileges) can archive content by selecting one or more courses from the ‘Activities’ or ‘Events’ page in the ‘Content’ tab and using the ‘Archive’ operation.

The list of courses can be filtered to show only the active courses, only the archived courses, or all courses.

Archive feature navigation

How is this different from deleting content?

Deleting content wipes it from the system while archiving just gets it out of view. If you want existing participants to continue to have access and you want to keep the history associated with a course or event, archive it.

Archive Content vs. Delete Content Archive Delete
Can still be accessed by existing participants x
Still appears in reports x
Additional participants can be added x x
Content can be updated x
Content can be edited x x
Shows in active activities list x x
Shows in archived activities list x
Content can be reactivated x

Scheduled Maintenance for Saturday Oct 24

Posted October 16, 2015 by Richard G. Williams

On Saturday October 24, 2015, our data center team will be applying the latest Microsoft security updates to the Firmwater LMS servers between 3:45 A.M. and 6:00 A.M. EDT. During this maintenance window, users may experience brief periods of downtime when servers are rebooted to apply changes.

Should you have questions regarding this notification, please contact us.

Scheduled Maintenance for Saturday Sep 19

Posted September 15, 2015 by Richard G. Williams

On Saturday September 19, 2015, our data center team will be applying the latest Microsoft security updates to the Firmwater LMS servers between 3:45 A.M. and 6:00 A.M. EDT. During this maintenance window, users may experience brief periods of downtime when servers are rebooted to apply changes.

Should you have questions regarding this notification, please contact us.

Emergency Maintenance to Reporting Servers

Posted August 5, 2015 by Richard G. Williams

Early this morning, a SAN controller failed at our data center which took our reporting servers offline from 4:00 until 12:40 EDT (GMT-4) today. While our servers are hosted in a highly redundant and fault tolerant environment, the mode of failure was such that it prevented operation of our reporting servers. Our data center team is working with their suppliers to understand the root cause so that we might prevent future occurrences of this issue.

An emergency maintenance window is scheduled to begin at 23:00 EDT (GMT-4) today August 5, 2015 to replace the failed SAN controller. The maintenance is expected to be completed within 2 hours. During this window, you may experience brief periods during which the LMS reporting service is unavailable as servers are rebooted.

Please accept our apologies for the inconvenience caused by the unexpected outage this morning, and by the emergency maintenance scheduled for this evening.

Should you have questions or concerns regarding this notice, please do not hesitate to contact us.

Scheduled Maintenance for Saturday July 25

Posted July 15, 2015 by Richard G. Williams

On Saturday July 25, 2015, our data center team will be applying the latest Microsoft security updates to the Firmwater LMS servers between 3:45 A.M. and 6:00 A.M. EDT. During this maintenance window, users may experience brief periods of downtime when servers are rebooted to apply changes.

Should you have questions regarding this notification, please contact us.

Scheduled Maintenance for Saturday May 30

Posted May 19, 2015 by Richard G. Williams

On Saturday May 30, 2015, our data center team will be applying the latest Microsoft security updates to the Firmwater LMS servers between 3:45 A.M. and 6:00 A.M. EDT. During this maintenance window, users may experience brief periods of downtime when servers are rebooted to apply changes.

Should you have questions regarding this notification, please contact us.

Order Management Enhancements

Posted May 1, 2015 by Stefan Leyhane

We added some new order management capabilities to Firmwater LMS this week.

Firmwater LMS integrates with Shopify to give you a fantastic platform to sell your courses online. You can build a beautiful store, list your courses, and have the LMS automatically deliver courses purchased. Individuals can buy courses for themselves or multiple seat purchases can be made for a company.

We’re working on making the management of these orders from within the LMS better. This week’s enhancements include:

1. Orders list now shows each order’s status

The orders list page now shows the status of each order. This will help you quickly find orders that haven’t been acted on by the purchaser.

2. New order summary page

You can now drill into an order from the list to see its details.

New order summary page

The new page shows the courses that were purchased, the number of seats, and the status of each.

We’ll expand the actions available from this page over time but, initially, you can:

  • Resend the invitation to the purchaser if it hasn’t been accepted yet. The invitation can be sent to either the same address or to a new one.
  • Delete the order. This is useful for when you’re testing or if someone makes an incorrect purchase.
  • Add participants to a course on your client’s behalf.

3. Extended the life of purchaser invitation tokens

Initially, we thought that 30 days was long enough to give purchasers to click on the link in the email to accept the courses they purchased. Boy, were we wrong! We’ve learned that some people buy online courses and then sit on them for a very long time before going to use them.

We’ve now extended the life of purchaser invitation tokens to match the life of the courses purchased. If you don’t put a limit on when courses must be started by, we give purchasers a year.

This should help cut down on the number of requests you get to resend invitations.


We hope you find these improvements useful. If you have any questions, please get in touch with us.

Scheduled Maintenance for April 18, 2015

Posted April 15, 2015 by Richard G. Williams

On Saturday April 18, 2015, our data center team will be applying the latest Microsoft security updates to the Firmwater LMS servers between 3:45 A.M. and 6:00 A.M. EDT. During this maintenance window, users may experience brief periods of downtime when servers are rebooted to apply changes.

Should you have questions regarding this notification, please contact us.

Easier navigation between clients

Posted March 30, 2015 by Stefan Leyhane

Some of our customers have hundreds of clients and create a branded LMS site for each. For those especially, today’s release will be welcome news. We’ve made it easier to navigate between different organizations in Firmwater LMS.

The old ‘Administer’ organization drop-down in the top navigation is still there, but now it’s super-charged. You can still scroll through the list, but now you can search too — it will be filtered as you type.

Improved organization drop-down

The drop-down now also shows the organization tree for the current context, which you can use to change organizations too. For most of you, this means you have an easy way to jump back to your master organization. For those with re-sellers of your content (and so more levels of organizations), this is even more useful.

This is a small improvement but we hope you find it helpful. We certainly do!

Scheduled Network Maintenance for Saturday March 28

Posted March 27, 2015 by Richard G. Williams

On Saturday March 28, 2015, our data center team will be doing network maintenance between 4:00 A.M. and 6:00 A.M. EDT. Due to the nature of the work, users may experience brief interruptions in network connectivity to the Firmwater LMS servers during this maintenance window.

Should you have questions regarding this notification, please contact us.

Using email address instead of username

Posted July 26, 2012 by Stefan Leyhane

We added a new option today to allow your users to use email addresses to log in to the system instead of usernames.

With all the Web sites that you need to access these days, it’s often difficult to remember your username — especially when someone has gotten your preferred username before you. Since email addresses are unique, the task is more straightforward. You often want to collect the email address of your users anyway, so using it to log in means one less field they have to fill in.

Here’s how to switch to use email addresses

  1. From the ‘Configuration’ tab, navigate to the ‘Settings’ page.
  2. Switch to edit ‘Accounts and Access’ from the drop-down menu (top-right).

    Account and Access settings

  3. Select ‘Login with an email address’ under the ‘Usernames’ heading. Click the ‘Save Changes’ button at the bottom of the page.

    If you have existing users in the organization, you can only make this change if all users have valid email addresses. You’ll be prompted to confirm the change.

    Once the setting is changed, you’ll see your login page requires an email address instead of a username.

We’re now using this setting as our default for all new clients. We hope you find it useful too!

New: Continuing Education credits management

Posted April 29, 2011 by Stefan Leyhane

We released some enhancements this morning that help you manage the Continuing Education credits earned when your courses are taken. If you provide completion certificates when users successfully complete your courses, the credits earned are listed on the certificates.

This morning’s enhancements allow you to define the credit types that are available and to assign credits against your courses. Here’s a quick overview of how to use the new functionality:

Define Continuing Education credit types

  1. Enable ‘Continuing Education Credits’ functionality for your organization from the Settings page.

  2. With the functionality turned on, you’ll see a new ‘Credit Types’ menu for the Configuration tab. This page shows you all the Continuing Education credit types that are available for an organization.

    You can add new types and, if you have more than one defined, you can drag to set the order that they are displayed in.

    Credit types page

Assign credits to your courses

  1. To assign credits to one of your courses, go to the course summary page and click the ‘Edit’ link.

  2. Switch to the ‘Credits and Certificate’ page.

  3. Assign values to one or more of the listed credit types and click the ‘Save Changes’ button.

    Credits and Certificate page

It’s as simple as that. You’ll now see the credits listed on the course summary page. If completion certificate access is enabled, the certificates will include information about the credits earned.

We’ve got some more enhancements planned to expose more information about the Continuing Education credit earned by users in reports, so stay tuned. Enjoy!

New: Send welcome messages to your users

Posted March 10, 2011 by Stefan Leyhane

We just released the first phase of some work we’re doing on adding more email capability to the system. We have plans for adding a number of different email notifications but the first allows you to send welcome messages to your users. This is good way to introduce new users to your program or course and provide them with a link that allows them to set their password and access the system.

How to send messages

Welcome messages can be sent or resent one at a time or in bulk.

  1. Use the new ‘Send welcome message’ action from the user summary page. The user must have a well-formed email address for the action to be enabled.

    User summary page

  2. Select one or more users from the users list page and use the ‘Send welcome message’ operation.

    If you’ve setup a new client, have assigned content to the users and are ready to go live, this is a good way to send messages to all the users.

    Users list page

  3. You can also send welcome messages to new users when importing a list of users. Enable the ‘Send users a welcome message’ checkbox on the confirmation page.

    Import confirmation page

  4. If you allow users to signup and create their own accounts, you can have a welcome message sent to new users when this happens.

Configuring your emails

You can configure which emails are turned on for any of your clients from the Support and Email Settings page. You can also specify the email’s sender name and reply to address. In the future, this is also where you’ll edit the content of the emails if you want to customize them. We haven’t added that capability yet. Until then, if you want a custom message, just let us know and we’ll be happy to configure it for you.

Support and Email Settings page

High deliverability

Our email infrastructure is designed for high deliverability so emails should avoid junk filters and make it through to your users’ inboxes. It is also designed to scale, as we expect to send tens of thousands of emails each month.

We’re excited to build on this first phase of email capability. We hope you like it.

Support for password complexity requirements

Posted November 18, 2010 by Stefan Leyhane

Just a quick note to say that we added support for meeting password complexity requirements early this morning in a new release of our LMS.

You’ve always had the option of enforcing a minimum password length and requiring users to change their password after a certain number of days. Now you can require that their password meet other criteria.

To start, we have two options:

  1. No complexity requirements (default)
  2. Start with letter, and contain at least one number and one special character

You can set the password settings on the Accounts and Access page.

Accounts and Access page

We’re able to add other complexity requirements so if one of your clients or prospects has a specific requirement, let us know!

Spanish language support added

Posted December 9, 2009 by Stefan Leyhane

Just a quick note to mention that we’ve added support for Spanish to our LMS. This adds to the existing language support that we have — both for students and administrators — for English and French.

You can choose which languages you’d like to make available for your organization’s users. And, if you’re interested in adding support for another language, please contact us.

Esperamos que te guste!

Version 2.12: Custom domains and improved reporting

Posted October 10, 2009 by Stefan Leyhane

It is a long weekend for us here in Canada (Happy Thanksgiving!) and also for those lucky enough in the U.S. to get Columbus Day off on Monday. Perfect time for a new release of our LMS — so we deployed Version 2.12 last night.

This one took a little longer than usual to get out the door, but hopefully it will prove to be worth the wait. We upgraded some of our infrastructure in the process, so we needed to be extra careful to make sure that everything works smoothly. Along with several bug fixes, there are over 20 new features. Here are the highlights:

Custom domains

Interaction Data ReportInteraction Data Report

New file upload interfaceNew file upload interface

We offer our service as a white-label solution. When you offer our LMS to your clients, we want it to appear as if you made it. You control the branding and the terminology used. Your clients see your contact support information and the system can be customized so that emails are sent from your organization.

The final step to completely hide Firmwater from view was to allow you to use your own custom domain. We had done this for a few of our larger clients but it wasn’t easy for us to manage this across a large number of clients. Now we can offer it to everybody.

You can now choose to use your own domain. So, instead of sending out addresses to your clients with ‘lms.firmwater.com’, you can use a URL such as:

lms.yourcompany.com’ or ‘portal.yourcompany.com’ (or whatever you’d like).

Note that there is an additional monthly charge to make use of a custom domain. This requires some setup on our part and we incur additional costs to purchase a SSL certificate for your domain and for dedicated IP addresses.

If you’re interested, or for more details, please contact us.

Simpler login URLs

Upgrading our infrastructure has given us some additional capabilities that we didn’t have before. We’ve now been able to simplify the addresses of your login page and those of your clients (the old addresses still work too). You can now just tack on your client ID to the domain used.

If your client’s ID is ‘yourclient’, their login page can now be accessed at ‘lms.firmwater.com/yourclient’. (Previously, you would have to use ‘https://lms.firmwater.com/lms/?cid=yourclient’.)

This works if you’re using a custom domain as well. Your client’s login page would be accessed at ‘lms.yourcompany.com/yourclient’.

Improved reporting

Reporting now uses an updated platform, allowing for better support from all browsers and, in many cases, improved report execution times. Users will no longer experience application time outs while interacting with reports for long periods of time. We’ve also organized the list of reports into menus to make it easier to find similar reports.

Along with making improvements to several of the existing reports, we also added two new reports:

  • Interaction Data Report: Export of the SCORM interaction data saved per user attempt. Some content saves question response data to the LMS through this mechanism.
  • Location List: Lists all locations and the number of users for each.

Other new features and enhancements

A few more of the new features and enhancements include:

  • Support for taxes when making purchases through the LMS.
  • Importing of locations, departments, job titles.
  • An improved file upload interface.

We hope you enjoy all the new features. To see everything that’s new, see the release notes for Version 2.12.

7 Key Things Guide

Posted December 2, 2008 by Benjamin Schmidt

Many training vendors struggle with what is needed to deploy their online courses. Firmwater has developed a Learning Management System (LMS) strictly for training vendors.

In order to help you understand the best practices for finding the right LMS for your situation, we have authored a guide especially for you. The guide outlines seven factors you need to consider when searching for a LMS.

The guide is called 7 Key Things for Training Vendors to Consider When Selecting a Learning Management System. As always, your comments are sincerely welcomed.