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Computer-Based Training: it's baaaaack! [well, almost]

By Dr. Elizabeth Hinkle-Turner, Student Computing Services Manager

It seems like ages since I've given any updates on computer-based training at UNT (remember SmartForce? SkillSoft? KnowledgeNet? Microsoft?) but I am back with good news. All of those lovely courses in Adobe and Macromedia products and Web design, Oracle 9i, and Linux and UNIX are going to be launched within the next couple of weeks. The new SkillPort system is in place and the final step of loading all UNT enterprise accounts is the only one left. KnowledgeNet with its full suite of Microsoft Office training courses is also almost set - once again simply waiting on account loading. The active (or if I want to use PeopleSoft terminology: 'go live!') date will be announced via GroupWise and various campus listservs and other announcement venues. So keep your eyes open for these announcements.

First of all, those of you who use computer-based-training often may have wondered "What took you so long, Elizabeth? Were you just goofing off during the past few months?", I was actually learning three new CBT systems and setting up a new server and secure authentication environment. Actually the Microsoft training for faculty and staff available from Microsoft itself has been up and running since January and hopefully many of you are using it. To review my instructional article about that training, Click here. The old SmartForce and SkillSoft training was disabled simply because it would not run effectively on newer desktop systems. Additionally, I wanted to switch - for security and reliability reasons (can you say 'sasser worm'?) - from a Microsoft server-based product to a Linux server-based product. Finally, I wanted all computer-based-training to be accessible via EUID and enterprise services password so that my system would be similar to the way our new PeopleSoft system and the site is set up.

All computer-based training is now accessed via a server running Debian GNU/Linux, Apache Web server 1.3 and Tomcat 4 java server. You connect to this training with your EUID and enterprise services password. In order to prepare everyone for that 'go live' date, I am going to go ahead here and provide the instructional tutorials for accessing the SkillPort training (the KnowledgeNet tutorial is in a separate article in June).

Getting Online with SkillPort

There is an ADA-compliant version of this article at this address. If you have problems finding that tutorial please email

All computer-based training at UNT is now Web-based. There are no longer CDs available for this training because the newer technology is apparently not 'packageable' on CD-ROM. To access SkillPort go to [available June 1]:

picture of initial logon page

You will then see this page once you are authenticated as a current UNT community member - press the Continue to SkillPort button to connect to the UNT SkillPort Website:

picture of authentication logon page

You will eventually be presented with your personal SkillPort homepage. The picture below shows the different sections of the site:

a picture of the Skillport homepage

To view and select your course choices click on the Catalog button. You will see the course categories:

a list of the curriculum categories

The following course topics and courses are found under these categories:

  • Enterprise Database Solutions - all Oracle 9i courses
  • Operating Systems and Server Technologies Solution Area - Linux Basic System Administration, Sun Solaris 9, UNIX Essentials
  • Software Development Solution Area - Java 2 (Platform 1.2), Java 2 Programming (Platform 1.2), Java Enterprise Connectivity, Java Web Services
  • Web Design Solution Area -
    • Adobe: GoLive5, Illustrator 9, Imageready 3, Photoshop 6, Photoshop 7
    • Macromedia: Coldfusion MX, DreamWeaver MX, Fireworks MX, Flash MX
    • Website Design Principles
    • Website Design Tools: Frontpage 2002, Paintshop Pro 7

Keep clicking on the linked courses to get to the chapter you want to study. You will be given a complete course description and the option to add it to your favorites, course plan, or to download the course (requires additional software installation on your computer - SkillPort will prompt you for this installation):

your various course options

If you don't know what course to take, search the topic in which you are interested using the search engine found on the homepage:

how to search a topic in Skillport

Please note that the only account information that has been loaded into SkillPort is your Name. If you wish to add your email address or further customize your account, choose "Customize" at the top of the Webpage:

customization options

adding your email address

Finally, if you want to generate a report of your progress, click on My Report to get a complete listing of your work:

how to generate a report

After you are finished taking the courses you wish, simply logout. SkillPort will 'remember' everything you have done. The logout exit screen looks like this:

Skillport exit screen

This is simply a description of the basics of how to navigate the new system. Once I announce that the accounts are all loaded, refer back to this article to review these instructions on how to move around the SkillPort Website. Once you are in the Website, just find the courses you need, click on them so they can load and enjoy!

I will be posting more articles on advanced features and their use in the June issue of Benchmarks. In the meantime, all updates, tutorials, and other relevant links to computer-based-training at UNT can be found at - the official computer-based-training Website. Any questions about the new CBT setup should be directed to me at