If you have signed up at Saylor Academy recently (November), you will likely have encountered a problem when signing in to our testing center, which runs on software called Moodle at http://school.saylor.org. This is where you take many quizzes, unit assessments, and all final exams for our courses.
Below, we address: the problem; what to do; why it arose; images for reference.
Specifically, you most likely have been asked to fill out and confirm a lot of profile information, including your name and email address, even though you have already filled this out when you signed up for your eportfolio account. When you save this information in our testing center, an email is sent, which you then must confirm by clicking on a link in the email.
Besides being quite confusing and redundant, this whole process did not even work for everyone — brand new students were left wondering what they were doing wrong, or worse, leaving…perhaps never to return.
The good news is that we are of relatively modest size as free and open course providers go, so not too many people have been affected.
The bad news is that we are of relatively modest size as free and open course providers go, and virtually all of the new members of our community have been affected. That is not a very nice welcome, and we are sorry for the trouble.
What to Do
If you signed up on or about November 8th and before the 12th, you probably did not receive a confirmation email, making an annoying problem into an impossible one. Mail is now configured properly.
For all new users, please do the following:
- When you encounter the profile information request at our Moodle site, please fill out the required information (Name, email address, country) exactly as you have done when signing up in the first place. Click Update profile. [Image 3 below.]
- You should get a message that your email address has changed and will need to be confirmed. Check your inbox and spam folders and click on the confirmation link in the email. Click Continue.[Image 4 below.]
- You should get a success message after clicking on the confirmation link in your email. Click Continue. [Image 5 below.]
- You should be returned to the profile page. Confusing, we know! If all went well, you can see in the top right that you are now logged in. Just click on the logo, on the Home link, or even on the Update profile link to leave this page and use the Testing Center normally.
- If, after updating and confirming your profile, you are not able to log in now, try the following:
- Fully log out of any open Saylor Academy accounts (e.g. at your eportfolio page
- Close your browser
- Open https://school.saylor.org/ and select “login” from the top right corner
- Log in using your credentials
- If you receive a message that “this page does not exist”, click back in your browse and click login again.
- If you are still unable to login, try another browser; if you do not have another browser installed, ensure that your current browser is fully up to date
Note: you do not need to fill out non-required information. Your primary user profile is housed in your eportfolio and students are not meant to see this Moodle profile page. If you have filled out additional information, there is no harm done — although please be mindful of your privacy.
Why Did This Happen???
The short version: we moved our Testing Center (i.e. our Moodle instance) from one server to another and enabled SSL (what makes a URL start with
https rather than
http. In the process, some things broke. Undoing the work is not a viable option, and fixing the problem is trickier than we had hoped…but we are actively working on a solution.
The long version:
- We moved our Moodle instance from a slower, less dependable, shared server environment to a completely new, extremely robust server environment with another provider.
- We also enabled SSL for the Testing Center domain because, as our systems administrator says, “it is 2014.” SSL is very close to being absolutely necessary for a site like ours.
- Our authentication server (CAS), which is what allows you to sign in at eportfolio and stay signed in at the discussion forums or testing center (three completely different systems from top to bottom) is not playing nicely with the change to SSL, even though it should…and must.
- That authentication problem is causing student profile information not to be shared from eportfolio to Moodle, which is why users are being asked to fill out information again.
- Please note: writing and storing of data is safe — we have not lost any data, and when you complete an exam we have all the appropriate records. The major problem is in getting the systems to effectively talk to one another.