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MaxAuthor Frequently Asked Questions

Technical Questions

Will it work on a Mac?

see Using Windows emulators

Can I use it in XP Mode on Windows 7?

We do not currently recommend running MaxAuthor in Windows XP Mode. We have encountered problems when using XP Mode, including inability to print and trouble with audio recording. Unfortunately, MaxAuthor does not currently run on Windows 7 or 64-bit versions of Windows Vista.

How do I install MaxAuthor on several networked workstations?

We suggest you place the maxauthor install program on a drive that all workstations have access to. Then, on each workstation, run the program to install the fonts, keyboard maps, and the programs to the hard drive of each workstation. Make sure the permission settings are correct before doing the installation.

How do I type characters with diacritics for languages such as Portuguese, French, etc.?

Each language MaxAuthor supports has a specific keyboard mapping. To type characters with diacritics, you first press a prefix key (sometimes called a 'dead key'), then the character to be modified. You can see the keyboard map by clicking on the keyboard icon on the toolbar. For example, in Portuguese to get a 'ç', you first press the prefix key ` (the character usually found on the same key as the tilde), then you press c.

When I test my Cloze (fill-in-the-blank) exercise, I see that all the answers available to the students are correct, even those that are wrong. What should I do to select the correct answer(s)?

There are two important properties for each cloze blank:
-the question format and
-the answer judging
You can see these for each blank when you right click on a segment in Cloze view. The default question format requires the student to type in the answer rather than select from a list, and the default answer judging directly compares the student's answer to what is under the blank, so there is only one correct answer. Sometimes, authors put multiple correct answers in the 'Answer judging' box rather than in the 'Question format' box where they really meant to add them. If you only want one correct answer, just use the default for the 'Answer judging' box.

Also see the tutorial on how to create fill-in-the-blanks.

I just read in your tutorial about creating audio files for words, segments and sentences by recording them directly into the program. Is it possible to record those separately and then import the audio files if they are named right? What is the naming scheme?

We recommend making short "stub" recordings in MaxAuthor for each word and sentence. Later, you can cut and paste (or replace) those recordings. These "stub" recordings can be your best attempt at saying the target, or can be something like "word 1", "word 2", etc. The Audio...Edit Waveform toolbar button is handy for this, and you can make the default audio editor be Cooledit, etc. The audio file naming is done as maxXXXXX.wav, where each X is 0-9. A simple algorithm checks to find the first available filename in a directory, so the files generally get named consecutively at each recording session, but this is not guaranteed.

How can I use MaxAuthor to create an MS-Powerpoint presentation?

We have created an exhibit which is on display at the Arizona State Museum entitled Native Languages of Arizona using a Powerpoint presentation that runs as a kiosk. It lets visitors listen to words and sentences of Navajo and Tohono O'odham and translations. We created MAX lessons in these two languages, exported the lessons to HTML, and imported these files into Powerpoint.

Sometimes when I print out a lesson that uses tabs to create columns for tables, the tab spacing is not the same as what appears on the screen.

This can happen when there are multiple tabs between items on a row. Instead of using all tabs to separate the columns, try using a space or two, then a tab. Use Print Preview to see if it worked.

Where can I get images for footnotes?

For the Critical Languages Series we purchased rights to Library I of the Corel Stock Photo Library, which contains 20,000 professional digitized photographs. On Corel's website, you can search for photos based on keyword. Whatever package you may license, make sure to read the fine print on redistribution of the images.

I want to link my lessons to a grammar or some other reference work, how can I do this?

You can enter the reference text as separate "lessons" in MaxAuthor. You would probably not make them "full lessons" by adding exercises and word and sentence segments (although you could). These reference lessons could be linked together to comprise an entire, stand-alone reference work such as a grammar. For example, once you have created separate reference lessons for nouns, verbs, etc., you could create a "grammar table of contents" lesson that had links to all the separate reference lessons. Your regular lessons can then link to the reference lessons. Beginning Turkish uses this technique.

I lost one of my lesson files that I was working on, can I get it back?

Every time you save your lesson, a backup copy is saved to the file "maxfile.bak" stored in the same directory. For example, let's say you had a maxfile called c:\nav\lesson1\lesson1.max and it got accidentally deleted. MaxAuthor created a backup file called c:\nav\lesson1\maxfile.bak , and to recover it, rename the file to lesson1.max and then read it in using MaxAuthor, as usual.

Why can't I use more than 8 characters and no spaces for MAX filenames?

MaxAuthor is a '16 bit' MS-Windows application. We hope to upgrade to 32 bits in the near future.

Where should I place "supplementary lessons" in my file structure?

Supplementary lessons can be very important for your lesson materials. For example, you can create supplementary lessons that deal with numbers, the calendar, relative clauses, etc., and have more than one of your main lessons refer to these supplements when appropriate. We recommend that you put these lessons at the same level as regular lessons so they are easy to locate. We also recommend that you put your graphics files in one directory called graphics which is at the same level as the lesson directories. This way all graphics files are in a central location and can easily be referred to by any of your other lessons. For example, here is an abbreviated version of what the file structure for Beginning and Continuing Korean looks like:

Directory of C:\kor		(root lesson directory)
 directory that contains the MAX file and all audio files for lesson 1

Can I have one footnote refer to another footnote?

We recommend that you treat each footnote as an independent entity and not have one footnote refer to another one because you might sometime want to get rid of the one that was being referred to. It is easy to copy from one footnote to another in MaxAuthor by highlighting the text, select Edit...Copy from the menu, click on the destination footnote, and then select Edit...Paste. You can also Copy and Paste from the lesson text to footnotes and other lessons.

Why don't you use Real Audio for your web versions of MAX lessons?

Right now, we are not doing 'Real Player' compatible audio. One reason is that most of the files are short and so streaming wouldn't help much. We use AU (Sun/Next) because it is one of the most universally playable formats on the web (usually without a plug-in) and the compression is not bad. We plan to move to MP3 format soon

When you have several people working on a large number of lessons at the same time, how do you keep track of changes and prevent work from being lost?

During the production of The Critical Languages Series, there were over 20 people who created or edited content in tens of thousands of files, often at the same time. In lieu of more expensive solutions using version control systems, we keep a text file in the base directory of each project called changes which contains a chronologic log of any changes that were made to the project and who made them. This also helps to restore the proper file from backup in case anything goes awry.

Does MaxAuthor work with Moodle and Blackboard?

You can place lessons created with MaxAuthor on a courseware management system such as Moodle or Blackboard.

When I try to install MaxBrowser on Windows XP, I receive this error message: "C:\WINDOWS\SYSTEM32\AUTOEXEC.NT. The system file is not suitable for running MS-DOS and Microsoft Windows applications. Choose 'Close' to terminate the application."

Some system files on your machine that are needed to run MaxBrowser may be corrupted or missing. Try these fixes:;en-us;324767

I am unable to install MaxAuthor on Windows Vista 64-bit.

There are two major versions of Windows Vista: the 32-bit version, and the 64-bit version (which is becoming more common on newer computers). MaxAuthor does not yet support the Microsoft Windows Vista 64-bit Operating System.

To see which version of Vista you are running, click on Start, then right click on Computer, select Properties, and look at System Type

Questions about pedagogy

How can I make multiple choice questions more challenging to the student?

An interesting multiple choice question technique is to provide a prompt with text containing one or more blanks. The answers then contain ways to fill in the blanks. For example:

Prompt: __ carros; __ mala; __ casas
a; o; os
as; a; o
os; a; as

What other ways can I challenge the students?

One way is to add a "TEST YOURSELF", "NOW YOU KNOW", or "FURTHER PRACTICE" footnote at the end of each lesson. For an example, see Beginning Portuguese Lesson 1

Questions about sending lessons to us

How can I put all of my MAX lesson files into one big file and send it to you?

We request that you send it to us in a ZIP file; here's how:

In Windows XP and Vista, highlight all the files and folders you want to send, right click, then select Send To > Compressed (zipped) Folder. You will be able to send the resulting file as an email attachment.

If you are running an older version of Windows, there are a number of utilities you can download and install that will do the same thing. Among them are WinZip, which offers a free trial period, and FreeZip and 7-Zip, which are completely free but not as user-friendly.

Should I have a native speaker review my lessons before I submit them to you?

Yes, this would help reduce the amount of editing involved before the lessons are in their final form and may give you new insights as to how students will react to the materials

See FAQs by language:

Cantonese Chinese English
Japanese Kazakh Korean Lummi
Portuguese Russian Southern Paiute
Turkish Yaqui

For more answers to technical support questions, see Critical Languages Series tech support