Technology Questions


This topic is for collecting answers to technical questions our community members have.


What browser versions are supported by this Discourse system?

  • MS Internet Explorer versions 9+ should work on the current version of Discourse we are using, although support for 9 will be dropped in 2016 - older versions (8 or earlier) will get a message like “Sorry, but your browser is too old for this site and should be upgraded”. We would encourage you to petition your IT services to provide an up-to-date browser. Chrome or Firefox would be preferable.

  • Apple Safari - haven’t had any reports on this

  • Google Chrome (and Chromium, it’s open source variant) and Mozilla Firefox are all “auto update”, they should work at their current versions. They are the most standards compliant and capable browsers available.

  • The “native” browser on iOS and Android should work without issue. Chrome on Android is also supported:


How can I get help about the nitty gritty of table column width in wikieducator? Do i ask here or are we using email lists or contacting Jim direct?


Our site is the right place to ask these questions. In this way the answers are publicly available for everyone in the community.

Use tables sparingly

My first bit of advice is to use tables sparingly - remember that tables with many columns and rows do not display well on mobile phones because in portrait view, the columns are frequently too narrow to display the text in the cells effectively.

Online wiki text generator for Mediawiki tables

With that said, the table syntax in html and wiki text can be confusing for new users. The easiest way to generate wiki text for a basic table before you learned how tables work, is to visit an online table generator for Mediawiki tables. Highlight a cell and use the context button of your mouse (right click for PC users) to add rows or columns. Click on the “Generate” button and the site will generate the default wiki text for your table.

In WikiEducator, click on the “Edit source” link, copy and paste the wiki text from the table generator and save on your target page. You now have a default table :smile: .

The table syntax basics

A few tips for reading the basic wiki text:

  1. Tables always start with “{|” and must end with “|}”
  2. “!” indicates a heading row
  3. Each new row begins with “|-” and ends with “|-”
  4. Each row begins with “|”

That’s enough to get you started.

For more detailed information, visit the Mediawiki help page.


Great advice, very interesting. For new tables, will do.
However for an existing table and only for the planning pages (ie not for student consumption) I think the table is ok but see the one i’m working with here
The forth column is too wide, and the 7th and 8th columns need more width. How can I change the width of these columns. I am nerdy enough to cope with wiki syntax. Gulp. I think!


How can I get website usage/analytics data for the wikieducator pages that make our our MUN course ie every page that sits below this one ?
We have completed the running of our first course for OERu and are doing the evaluation. We have some interesting qualitative data from students and are now wanting to look at website stats. Thanks in advance.


Hi Sarah,

I think you may have missed the column width specifications in my previous response :wink:

Go to column width and you will see that, for example, a 30% column width can be specified as follows after the specific cell:

  • "| style=“width: 30%; background-color: white;”|

Let us know if you have further problems.


Since 17 March we have been running the Piwik web analytics tool for the OERu course snapshots. You can get some simple stats from (If you know ahead of time what you are want to measure, you can get quite detailed.)

I’ll email you some login credentials for your course.


This is awesome! I am super impressed. Guys, you need to promote this to new and potential partners as a big, big plus. You know how much senior exec love ‘analytics!’


We’ve just updated this Discourse instance to version 1.4.0.beta9 - we’re assuming it’ll be better in many subtle ways than the previous version. If you encounter any problems (sometimes there are “regressions” in software despite all sorts of precautionary meausre to prevent them) since the last version, please let us know by responding to this post!


Wanted to report on further updates (I forgot to note a couple other minor beta version upgrades we’ve done over the past month). I have just now upgraded this Discourse instance to version 1.5.0beta2.


And now upgraded to 1.5.0beta3.


You may notice some tweaks to the site - a new brand image and new colour (purple)… This is to help differentiate this site from our other Discourse instance:


Out of curiosity, why will there be two forums?



Thanks for your question. We have established the new which is intended to support oeru learners taking courses. This site will continue as the main forum for anyone interested in the planning and implementation of the OERU.


Just wondering what else the tech group might have in the pipeline. We are in need of an online quiz tool - any action in that area?


Our Technology Working Group plans are available for all to see! By all means have a look, and let us know if you think we’re headed in the right direction…


Good question! Yes, there has been some action in this area.

WikiEducator already has a widget for multi-choice quiz items and fill-in-the-blank type interactions. Here is an example from the OCL4Ed materials.


Thanks i was aware of the formative quiz option, but your reply prompted me to share the example with Irit and Deb ie our current development team core members. They were very interested and I think they may incorporate into their courses.

I did also go to the Tech Working group page and leave a comment on the plans there. I do think a summative online quiz tool would be a very positive addition to the OERu platforms.

I am loving the rest of the open source platforms especially this community tool, the Piwik engine and the Groups tool. You are really showcasing open tools/software as mature alternatives to current proprietary tools. It would be good if there was an option for summative quiz as the alternatives on the open web are free but with advertising or at a cost and having embed code that needs tweaking by OERu tech staff for wiki embedding anyway, as i understand it.


Thanks @slambert

Jim is working on a quiz solution based on the GIFT format which could potentially assist with import and export of quiz items. It would then be possible for any partner to assemble their own hosted environment for administering quizes for summative purposes.

Our challenge is that learners must always have the ability to access all course materials without the need for password access and summative assessments would require mandatory registration. However, the substantive challenge relates to identity validation and security issues for summative assessments which must be managed in accordance with local university policies. The OERF cannot take responsibility for ensuring that the individual taking the online assessment is the person applying for academic credit. This must be managed locally.

That said, there are many opportunities to progress the implementation of automated assessment, for example at proctored testing centres. A few of our partners provide automated testing.

I am also thinking about how we can engage learners in developing objective items as part of their learning experience. You know the adage “if you want to learn something, teach it.” I’d be very keen to have an “authoring” space for students to contribute quiz items as e-learning activities under open licenses which we could incorporate into databases for reuse. (See for example Wiley’s ideas around killing the disposable assignment.

More about these ideas in the new year.