Xerte is an online platform that allows you to create interactive learning objects (known as projects), most commonly in the form of step-by-step online courses. These objects can easily be embedded into Moodle and other web pages if desired.

To access Xerte, go to xerte.lancaster.ac.uk and log in using WebLogin.


Looking for help using Xerte? Access the Creating interactive learning materials with Xerte online course or register for an Xerte training session.



Frequently asked questions

 How can I use the Lancaster University Xerte template?

Download and import the template

You can download a full template for an online course, styled according to the University's brand guidelines, and which you can customise with your own content.


Download template here (this is a zip file, but there's no need to extract it, Xerte will do all the work for you)


Once you have downloaded the template file, you can import it into Xerte using the following instructions:

  1. Go to https://xerte.lancaster.ac.uk and log in using WebLogin.

  2. Select Workspace in the left-hand window and click properties  – the Workspace properties window will open.

  3. Click Import > Choose file.

  4. Locate and select the template file, then click Open.

  5. If you wish, enter a name for your new project, and click Upload – the course template will appear in the left hand window. If you don't enter a name, the new object will be called Imported template.

See below for a video demonstration of this process:



How to use the template

The template contains:

Title/menu page – laid out in the style of the Digital Skills Certificate courses

  • replace the title image your own
  • Enter your own section and page titles and create necessary internal links
  • to create a new section/subsection set, just copy and paste one of the existing ones to preserve the styling

Introduction and objectives page

  • Choose an image or video to accompany your intro and learning objectives if desired. The training team tend to use an introductory cartoon for the Digital Skills courses. Click the Introduction and objectives page for any of those courses to see an example of an intro video.
  • For guidance in producing this kind of video, see the Guidance: Video creation tools section

Summary page – with option to link to a Moodle quiz if you desire

  • Briefly summarise the course content and provide follow-up contact details (preferably a shared mailbox or web page, rather than an individual's email address – we want this to still work when the relevant people move on).

a few example pages – which you can copy and edit as required

  • We've included a few examples, with a bit of sample content, to give you an idea of how to add and edit content. If you've done the Xerte online course and understand how the editor works, adding any page type should be straightforward.

If you don't want to use the pre-existing content, you can delete it all once you've imported the template. Any new content you create within the same Xerte project (see the online course) will still have the University branding (e.g. fonts, colours).




 How do I embed a Xerte project in Moodle?

If you have access to a Moodle site already, follow the instructions below. If you need to create a new Moodle site, send a request to ISS via the help centre.

  1. Click Turn editing on in the top right.

  2. In the section where you want the Xerte project to appear, click Add an activity or resource.

  3. Select the page resource type.

  4. Enter a title and description for the page as necessary.

  5. Under the Content section, click the show/hide button in the far left of the toolbar – the full toolbar will display.

  6. Then, click the HTML button to view the source code for the page – it will be empty to start with (line numbers should appear on the left).

  7. Paste in your embed code. You can use the standard embed code from the project details panel in the Xerte workspace, or you may want to write your own. You are also welcome to use the code that the training team use for the Digital Skills online courses (you'll need to enter Xerte project id in place of the "000" in the code below):

    <p style="text-align: center;">
      <iframe frameborder="0" height="650" scrolling="no" src="https://xerte.lancaster.ac.uk/play.php?template_id=000" style="max-width: 1200px;border-radius:25px" allowfullscreen="true" width="100%">
      </iframe>
      </p>
  8. Click Save and display – this should take you to the new page with your Xerte project embedded.




 How can I embed an eStream video in a Xerte project?

You should so this by editing the code for the page, rather than using the embed media button. Follow the instructions below.

Step 1: Get the embed code from eStream

  1. Login in to eStream and locate the video you wish to embed.

  2. Hover over Share and click Share by Embedding.



  3. Choose your sizing options, we'd also recommend that you select Overlay Controls and Show Subtitles.



  4. Right-click on the code and select Copy follow the instruction below to get this code into your Xerte project.

Step 2: Paste the embed code into your Xerte project page

  1. Open the editing window for your Xerte project, and navigate to the page within which you want to embed the video.

  2. In the Text/Page Text area, click the arrow on the far right , to show the toolbar (you can also check the Show Toolbar button at the bottom of the page).

  3. Click the Source button in the far left.

  4. Find the right part of the page within the code (this doesn't matter too much – you can always move it once it's embedded) and press Ctrl+V to paste in the embed code.

  5. Click Source again, and an iframe placeholder should have appeared on the page – this is where the video will display when you view the course.



 How do I add a summative quiz to a Xerte course?

You can do this by creating an accompanying Moodle quiz, which you can then link to at the end of the course. For more guidance on how to do this, see the Quizzes in Moodle online course.




 How do I create accessible Xerte content?

Xerte has been developed to provide very high levels of native accessibility. Accessibility features include:

  • A high level of keyboard accessibility for non-mouse users
  • User selectable fonts, text resizing and zoom using inbuilt browser options (for example using CTRL + to zoom).
  • Inbuilt colour contrast changer in the main template 
  • An accessibility guidance for users course
  • An accessibility guide for authors.
  • Compatibility with text to speech tools including browser plugins and applications such as TextHelp Read and Write.
  • Most page types are compatible with screenreader tools and ARIA Landmarks aid screenreader navigation.

Although most Xerte page types are technically accessible, some page types will be difficult to use or be unsuitable for people with certain disabilities due to their content. For example, someone with a significant visual impairment and using screen reader software may struggle to use a page with a high graphical content (such as a Hotspot Image or Annotated Diagram) or a page that has a relatively complex layout (such as a Synched Video media or Modify Exercise). Neither the Hangman game or Memory Game would be suitable for a screen reader user owing to their visual nature. 

Course designers should use their own judgement when choosing page types and only use pages that they are confident will be accessible to all users. 

Some page types will need additional content or modified content to ensure that they are accessible. For example:

  • All images and visual content used in courses will require alternative text (alt-text) to be added. This alt-text will be read aloud by screen reading software, so should be descriptive and meaningful in relation to the page content to provide equivalent information to someone with a visual impairment. 
  • Any videos used must include captions, audio descriptions or transcripts to ensure the content is available to people with auditory or visual impairments.
  • All page content should be usable by keyboard only navigation (e.g. using the arrow keys or the Tab key to move between page elements and using Space or Enter to select items).

To test pages with a screen reader, NVDA is available for Windows users on AppsAnywhere and VoiceOver is available in System Preferences on Macs.

Recommended page types that are known to work well for accessibility include:

Content TypePage Name

Text

Bullets

Text

Orientation

Text

Plain Text

Text

Summary

Text

Title Page

Media

Audio Slideshow

Media

Graphics and Sound

Media

Multiple Perspectives

Navigators

Accordion Navigator

Navigators

Button Navigator

Navigators

Column Page

Navigators

Tabbed Navigator

Navigators

Tabbed Navigator +

Connectors

Menu Connector

Interactivity

Button Sequence

Interactivity

Dialogue

Interactivity

Model Answer

Interactivity

Multiple Choice Question

Interactivity

Quiz

Training

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Creating interactive learning materials with Xerte


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