Preloading Courses for BrainHoney ToGo™

Some BrainHoney ToGo end-users have extremely slow or unreliable Internet connections. Course authors may wish to pre-install courses on end-user computers because the content amounts exceed what end-users can reasonably download over the Internet.

This document describes how to pre-configure BrainHoney ToGo with course content while still allowing end-users to receive updates over the Internet via synchronization with the BrainHoney Server. The pre-installation essentially speeds up BrainHoney ToGo's standard online synchronization process.

Configuring the Installation

End-user computers that run BrainHoney ToGo and use pre-installed courses must be configured to find the pre-installed courses. Similarly, IT staff who pre-load courses must also pre-configure a BrainHoney ToGo installation to correctly preload courses.

You can choose any Windows drive for the course data. For example, you can pre-install courses on the computer's hard drive, or you can pre-install them on a thumb drive. We recommend pre-installing them on the computer's hard drive because of challenges ensuring that all end-users thumb-drive letters are the same.) Follow these steps to pre-configure the computer and load courses onto the drive:

  1. On the drive, create a folder for the courses. For example, create c:\courses. (You can choose another drive letter and/or folder name and substitute it for c:\courses in the rest of this document.) Ensure that this folder is writeable by the Windows user account that runs BrainHoney ToGo.
  2. Configure BrainHoney ToGo to recognize and use c:\courses by choosing either a or b below. If both exist for some reason, a takes precedence over b:
    1. In the HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SOFTWARE\Agilix\BrainHoney ToGo registry key, create these registry values:
      1. Type: REG_SZ; Name: SyncSharedCourses; Value: 1
      2. Type: REG_EXPAND_SZ; Name: SharedCoursePath; Value: c:\courses
    2. Create a config folder beneath BrainHoney ToGo's installation folder and place these files in it:
      1. SyncSharedCourses.option – an empty file
      2. SharedCoursePath.option – This is a 1-line, UTF-8 text file containing the course path; for example, c:\courses. As with the registry entry, this path can contain environment variables, such as %APPDATA%.
The computer is now ready to store and access pre-loaded course data in the c:\courses folder.

Downloading the Courses

You use BrainHoney ToGo to download all distributable courses to c:\courses:

  1. For each course you wish to pre-load on the drive, enroll a test user as a student in a section of the course. (Enroll the test user as you typically would on the BrainHoney web site.)
  2. Start BrainHoney ToGo on the pre-configured computer (as described above in Configuring the Installation). When BrainHoney ToGo prompts for a username and password in the initial setup screens, enter the test user's credentials.
  3. After successfully entering credentials, BrainHoney ToGo downloads all courses for the test user, along with any section data for the test user. (At any time later, you can force a re-update of all course data by choosing Tools..Update Courses.)
  4. Shutdown BrainHoney ToGo.
  5. Verify that BrainHoney ToGo created a course folder in c:\courses for each course the test user was enrolled in. The folders are numbered 0, 1, 2, etc., and beneath each numbered folder is a meta\guid.txt file. Inside the file is the course's name.

The c:\courses folder is now ready for replication to any other computer you wish to use the pre-downloaded courses. You must, however, configure those other computers to use the c:\courses folder as described below in Configuring End-User Installations.

Cleaning Up the Test User Data

If you plan on distributing the computer to which you pre-downloaded the courses, then the test user account that downloaded the course should be purged. Purging the account also deletes any test-user-specific data. This test user's data is not stored in c:\courses, so if you are replicating c:\courses to other computers or thumb drives, this step is unnecessary.

  1. Start BrainHoney ToGo.
  2. Choose Tools..Manage Accounts.
  3. Pick the test-user account from the Account drop-down list.
  4. Click [Delete].
  5. When prompted to confirm the deletion, choose [Yes] to purge the course, and then choose [OK] on the Manage Accounts screen. (This purges the test account data, but it does NOT purge the courses in c:\courses.) After the account deletion completes, BrainHoney ToGo reverts to its initial state and shows no enrolled courses. BrainHoney ToGo gives no indication that the bulk of the course files still exist in c:\courses.

Verifing the Installation

You can verify that the pre-installed courses are correctly configured by shutting down BrainHoney ToGo, restarting, and then completing the setup wizard again for the test user. This time, however, the download process will be faster, because none of the course files will download; they have already been downloaded! (Section-specific files, if any, will be downloaded.)

Configuring End-User Installations

To configure end-user computers to use the pre-loaded courses, follow these steps:

  1. Install BrainHoney ToGo normally on the computer.
  2. Set the the SharedCoursePath and SyncSharedCourse registry settings, or create the SharedCoursePath.option and SyncSharedCourse.option configuration files as described above.
  3. Copy the c:\courses folder to the end-user computer. (If you're using a thumb drive, and you have configured SharedCoursePath to refer to the thumb drive letter, ensure the drive is plugged into the end-user's computer and has the same drive letter as what you configure in SharedCoursePath. Note: If your end-user does not plug in the thumb drive, or if the thumb drive is some other letter than what you configured in SharedCoursePath, BrainHoney ToGo cannot show any course data, and the BrainHoney ToGo home page appears as if no courses exist.)
When configured with the SharedCoursePath and SyncSharedCourse settings, BrainHoney ToGo searches the SharedCoursePath for a course when it first needs it. If it exists, it uses it; otherwise, it downloads a new copy to that path. In subsequent updates, BrainHoney ToGo searches for changed files in the course, and automatically downloads them to the same path, keeping your end-users up to date with your course's most recent files.

Preparing Installation Media

Agilix provides some additional utilities for packaging installation disks that contain both the BrainHoney ToGo installer and pre-loaded courses. For more details on these utilities, see Preparing BrainHoney ToGo Installation Disks.

See Also
Preparing BrainHoney ToGo Installation Disks