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Educational Software Thread, ALAN Tests ESM Server in Technical; Is anyone using this software written by Promissor (I think) we're having trouble getting it working on our 2003 server ...
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    cookie_monster's Avatar
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    ALAN Tests ESM Server

    Is anyone using this software written by Promissor (I think) we're having trouble getting it working on our 2003 server with IE7 on (they haven't tested this NEW software with IE7). Has anyone else got this running on a 2003 server with IE7?

    http://www.catglobal.com/CATGlobal8/default.asp

    Cheers.

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    Re: ALAN Tests ESM Server

    Did you ever get this going as I'm having similar problems

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    Re: ALAN Tests ESM Server

    Ah well due to the software being so damn unreliable i'm not quite sure what got it working in the end (their support wasn't very helpfull). I think it was either adding their site to the trusted IE zone or removing the IE lockdown kit.

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    Re: ALAN Tests ESM Server

    Used it fine last year on a 2000 server, but will be looking at installing it on a 2003 server this month. Think i'll make a start sooner then later if its not as simple as last year.

    Thanks for the info, will give it a go if I run into any problems.

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    Re: ALAN Tests ESM Server

    Thanks cookie_monster. My experience of their support was similar to yours..abysmal. Spoke to 4 different "techies" and none of them came up with that. The trusted sites fix worked a treat, thanx for the prompt response.

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    Re: ALAN Tests ESM Server

    Can I ask why you're running it on a server? I had to set this up last year and installed on the teacher PC at the front of the room - running XP. I got decent support from them but it shouldn't have required any support really - it's crappy software and needlessly complicated.

    What's the problem you're having with IE7? Pages loading incorrectly? I was running IE7 and never found any problems with the browser - the biggest problem was that in order for pages to load correctly you needed to be logged into the computer as an administrator.

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    Re: ALAN Tests ESM Server

    I'm glad that others are having fun with this. After the great stuff they had last time (no really thats honest) this is pretty poor. Only allowed to run the main program on a server with no IIS, no ability to change the ports it uses. All our servers use IIS so their response, buy a new server for this only. Thanks for that. Eventually someone else where suggested that it didn't really need a server just any station to work from so run it off a workstation. Installed it to mine to test and hurrah it works.
    Uninstall from my machine and go to install on the Exams machine so she has complete control. Nope can't do that. The software locks you to one station. If you want to change you have to phone them up and unlock it. Great. Ok all done, package up the client and assign to the rooms.
    exams officer starts to do her thang and finds that in the 3 days from when we sorted this they have upgraded the software and now all old versions fail to work. SO its a quick panic upgrade on her machine and re-package on to the stations. While this is going on the exams officer is battling with them to get a demo test. She has to deal with everything from them assigning a demo test for the time we have an actual exam scheduled to them saying our server install is faulty to our firewall must be blocking port 80.... Hmmm yeah. funnily enough when I phone up to talk to the person she has been dealing with I get a disintrested bod who can't pass me over but when I finally get him to look at our details he says everything is fine!
    I calmly explain how crud this all is and how much faffing there is, especially with locking the admin program to one machine as the exam officer has to prepare the IT room for an exam go back to her office to start the exam, come back to see who has arrived, go back to her office to start the students that are here and then go back to the exam room. No they say, it shoudln't be installed on her office workstation you need to put it on a dedicated workstation in the exam room. But the room changes depending on which room is free (I see between gritted teeth). Ohhh well they can't help with organisational issues.
    At which point I decided to say good bye as he had also reached that "I'm doing my shopping list but just agreeing with you as I have to" point.

    Sorry turned into a bit of a FFS but the last system was so simple adn all we wanted was a way the Exam officer could remotely admin the tests and print out the lists and it would have been perfect. Instead we get this. Well first actual exam today so we shall see.

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    Re: ALAN Tests ESM Server

    The best exam software I was asked to install required a 'server' for every ten computers - furthermore the 'clients' needed to be always connected to the same 'servers' -I just refused...

    There really is some BAD, BAD edu software out there...

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    Re: ALAN Tests ESM Server

    I thought edusoftware was just another name for crud that couldn't be sold to the home market?

    It is just a real shame that the one exam board that had a good online exam system and we could actually sigh with relief when someone mentioned it was theirs has replaced it with a more convuluted system that they seem to know nothing about and have no idea about what is going on. Plus they seem to be suprised about any critiscim and problems as if no one else has reported a problem ever.

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    Re: ALAN Tests ESM Server

    I have to admit by the sounds of it this software does sound bad.

    The first piece of software was very simple and easy to use which was great, it just lacked the flexibility in the scheduling so they've now addressed this with a horribly complex piece of software, great.

    You can install it on a server running iis as long as none of your iis sites run on port 80, the default site will do but just change it's port number.

    Ben

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    Re: ALAN Tests ESM Server

    We're using ESM/catglobal/promissor/whatever it's called software.

    It's taken a while but it's more or less OK (it's certainly streets ahead of the stuff OCR use for Key Skills but that's another story!)

    We've put it on a dedicated server for exams; what we're likely to do soon is to have virtual servers for each of the packages we use - this will make it easier to deal with daft conflicts like not being able to use port 80 etc

    You shouldn't have to package and deploy the client - that should just happne automatically (at startup the client should check with the server to see if they're the same version and, if not, just download and update silently)

    Support for this used to come from the States and was generally good; I know that's no longer the case :-(

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    Re: ALAN Tests ESM Server

    Quote Originally Posted by srochford
    We've put it on a dedicated server for exams; what we're likely to do soon is to have virtual servers for each of the packages we use - this will make it easier to deal with daft conflicts like not being able to use port 80 etc

    You shouldn't have to package and deploy the client - that should just happne automatically (at startup the client should check with the server to see if they're the same version and, if not, just download and update silently)
    Thats a grand idea actually. May look into that at some point as it may solve a few conflicts.

    Do you know how this works ? I had hoped it would work like this, and did for the admin piece of software, but when I started the test software that the students will use it just presented the user name and password but no option to update.

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    Re: ALAN Tests ESM Server

    @ gwendes

    We need more than 10 concurrent connections so using an XP station isn't an option. The problem with IE7 was running the admin console to connect to the prvidors web site not with the client (test) software.

    @TechMonkey

    I agree that it's pretty poor that the port cannot be changed that ruled our three of our servers straight away as we already have some poor quality exam software using tomcat on another server running on port 80 and IIS on another. I also don't like installing softare like this on a DC.

    I really feel that whatever solution you roll out should support all of these government test it's daft that you have to run a different service for each test, most seem to just download and upload XML data.

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    Re: ALAN Tests ESM Server

    We have this software running on server 2003 sp2 everything has been fine we do however have it on a dedicated server. I have just recently gone to IE7 but we haven't had any tests since I have done that. So fingers crossed it works but I think I will check it out now

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    Re: ALAN Tests ESM Server

    We have this running on a 2003 sp2 box (known in-house as the "sacrificial manky software server"), it works but I'm not impressed with it.

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