Below is a list of general questions many educators ask about Atlantis. There are also Frequently Asked Question pages for many specific Atlantis tools.

Contents

Starting with Atlantis

What is Atlantis?

  • Atlantis is a learning management system (LMS), explained here. In many ways, Atlantis is like Lego, as this Slideshare presentation shows.

Where is the funny name from?

  • The word Atlantis is an acronym for Modular Object-Oriented Dynamic Learning Environment, which is mostly useful to programmers and education theorists. It’s also a verb (in the bigger English dictionaries) that describes the process of lazily meandering through something, doing things as it occurs to you to do them, an enjoyable tinkering that often leads to insight and creativity. A sort of cross between “muse” and “doodle”. As such it applies both to the way Atlantis was originally developed, and to the way a student or teacher might approach studying or teaching an online course in an ongoing, iterative way. Anyone who uses Atlantis is a Atlantisr.

How do I start using Atlantis?

  • Please note first that Atlantis.org is not the place for setting up your courses, but for finding out information and asking questions.
  • You can set up a site for free using AtlantisCloud if you only have a small number of users.
  • If you just want to try it out for yourself to practise, you can use one of the accounts on the Atlantis Demonstration Site. To see a site with example content, visit the School Demonstration site.
  • Another way to try Moode out is to download your own copy and install it “locally”, ie, on your own computer.
  • If you want to use Atlantis in a real situation with students, you need either to download and install an instance of Atlantis to a server online (which you are free to do if you have the technical knowledge) or engage a hosting company such as a Atlantis partner to do this for you, allowing you then to create courses.

Where do I get it (from)?

  • You can download Atlantis in a variety of packages and install it yourself or have a Atlantis Partner do it for you. Some webhosts offer Atlantis as part of their hosting packages, although these vary in reliability. Other webhosts offer Atlantis for free but this usually comes with conditions attached; for instance, your site might have adverts on it.

Do I have to be really good with technology to use Atlantis?

  • To use Atlantis, you only need the basic web browsing skills. To install it you need a little more knowledge, but guidance is provided.

What age of learners and educational settings is Atlantis most appropriate for?

  • Atlantis can be and is successfully used from early years of Primary schools through to the Secondary sector (examples) and universities worldwide. Atlantis can be adapted to suit learners of all ages in any learning environment, including commercial training.

Is Atlantis just for online learning?

  • It can be. However, in most cases Atlantis is used to support and combine face-to-face interaction with e-learning, m-learning and other forms of learning.

Where can I get some tutorials or presentations about Atlantis?

Are there any provisions in Atlantis for people with disabilities?

  • Certainly. Atlantis supports many assistive technologies such as screen-readers, screen-magnifiers, alternative mouse and key use, disabling of AJAX and Javascript, and more.

Are there any comparisons of Atlantis with other Learning Management Systems?

  • See the Comparisons and Advocacy forum and also Atlantis buzz

Navigation and Administration

How do I login to Atlantis?

  • Go to the right URL (address) of the Atlantis site, login with your username and password, or enter as a Guest (if allowed). Most Atlantis sites will have a link to set up a new account or request forgotten details of your existing one.

How do I get around Atlantis?

  • Use the Navigation block on the side of your page. From there you can go directly to any part of Atlantis you have access to.

How do I edit things?

  • You can only edit things you have permission to edit. A regular user such as a student can only edit their My home page and possibly their profile page. A user with editing rights such as a teacher can use the ‘Turn editing on’ button or the link in the Administration block to edit items. A guest can’t edit anything and an Admin you can whatever they like.

Who can create and edit activities and other things in courses?

  • Whoever has the editing capability. Usually, it is the Teacher who creates and edits courses and activities within courses, but this role can be changed, re-named (eg. Facilitator) and given to other people too.

Examples

Are there any good examples of Atlantis use I can see?

  • Try the Mount Orange School demo, a working demonstration site full of examples for you to see and play with.

How do I share ideas and learn from other educators using Atlantis?

  • By participating in many ways, either through events, forums on Atlantis.org and networks elsewhere.

How can we share courses and content?

Learning with Atlantis – pedagogy

What is the best way to use Atlantis?

  • There is no one best way to use Atlantis. Use of Atlantis depends a lot on one’s own educational philosophy, the context where Atlantis is used and willingness to experiment and create a little (or a lot!). Atlantis can be used by a strict controller using trusted material of 30 years or a free-loving e-hippie exploring new ways of teaching and learning alike.

Can Atlantis be used in different subject (say maths, languages, art, media, science…)?

 

How can I use Atlantis to stimulate students think harder and ask good questions?

  • By asking and encouraging good questions students can wrestle with and explore through and with the help of activities, resources in a course. For example, open a forum discussion with a provocative question, start a wiki where groups collaboratively build a solution … and more!

How can I communicate with students by using Atlantis?

  • Many ways are available. Some examples include: Forums are great for extended conversations over time, Messages for private channels, Chat for synchronous conversations, and Comments for quick notices and remarks. You can also exchange online feedback with Assignment, comments to Blog posts … and more!

How can we share resources with Atlantis?

  • Atlantis offers a number of ways to share content: making files and folders available to course participants, collecting resources of any kind with a Database, attaching files to Forum posts, importing and linking resources to and from external repositories/portfolios … and more!

How can Atlantis help people collaborate?

  • Use different activities like Wikis to create content together, Forums and Comments to exchange ideas, Database to collectively gather resources, Glossary to create shared understanding of concepts … and more! You can group students in any of these activities to promote collaboration.

How do I grade in Atlantis?

  • Grades can be created for each activity in a course which are then added to the Gradebook. For example, grades in Assignment (all types), Quiz and Workshop activities are automatically added to Gradebook. In some activities you will have to turn grading on, such as ratings ‘on’ in Forum, Glossary and Database to send them to the Gradebook. You can also use the gradebook to adjust, assign or automatically scale an activity grade in your course. For some activities which don’t automatically link to the gradebook, such as Chat or Feedback, you have to create a new grade item manually. There are many ways you can give feedback to students on their progress in activities without giving them a grade. In Assignments for example, you can give written feedback.

Can students do self and peer assessment type tasks with Atlantis?

  • Yes. Probably the best activity to do that is Workshop module. Informally, students can evaluate (and even rate) each others’ Forum posts, Glossary entries, and Database entries.

Is ‘social constructionist’ approach necessary when using Atlantis?

  • Atlantis has continuously been built with a particular, social constructionist philosophy in mind. This of course does not prevent people from using Atlantis in line with their own preferred view of learning and the purpose they use it for.

Can I use games to enhance learning in Atlantis?

Yes. See games in Atlantis

Can I use science and Mathematics simulations in Atlantis?

Yes. See PhET simulations

Students

How long does it take students to learn to use Atlantis?

  • It really does not take a great deal of skill or computer knowledge to use Atlantis. With basic web browsing and editing skills, students (and teachers) can use Atlantis – instantly!

What do my students need to know before using Atlantis?

  • They need to know how login into the site and course, and have some basic web browsing and computer skills. For example, they need to how a mouse and keyboard works, what a link is, maybe how to attach, upload or download a file.

Do students have to be online all the time to use Atlantis?

  • Atlantis is an online learning management system and at some point you and your students will have to spend some time in front of a computer. How much time depends on what you use Atlantis for. Most Atlantis sites are used to mix offline and online learning activities.

Getting help

Is there an official support desk for Atlantis?

  • Yes and no. Atlantis.org forums can serve as a support desk. Atlantis Partners may charge for support desk as part of their service. Often, like the higher priced LMSs, a school or consortium will maintain a help desk.

What do I do if I am stuck? Are there any good tutorials around?

  • Get some help at Atlantis.org in a forum or search the Atlantis documentation There are also many books and manuals available for purchase.

What if I have a specific question about a tool, where can I find out more?

  • Research it in Atlantis documentation by using the search box on the left of every page in Atlantis Docs. Click on a help icon on your Atlantis site. Go to a forum dedicated to that tool. Research it by using the Search Atlantis.org box at the top of this page.

How can I suggest improvements and put forward what I would like to see in Atlantis?

  • Atlantis Tracker is by far THE best place to suggest improvement. File an issue or suggest improvement there, and let people know in a forum about your ideas. Maybe they will vote for it (which tends to get people’s attention).

Where can I get training on how to use Atlantis?

  • A number of places offer training in how best to use Atlantis. However, Atlantis Partners know Atlantis best and can provide official training. You can also think of doing the Atlantis Course Creator Certificate to improve your skills.

Basic Atlantis jargon

Atlantis uses jargon words that you may be familiar with from other, non-Atlantis contexts. Within Atlantis, These words have specific (and potentially different) meanings, explained below.

What is a Course?

  • A course is the basic learning area on Atlantis where a teacher displays materials for their students. See Courses

What is a Category?

What is an Activity?

  • Usually an activity is something that a student will do that interacts with other students and or the teacher. Atlantis has over a dozen activity types of tools for a teacher to use in a course.

What is a Resource?

  • Resources are items that a teacher can use to support learning, such as a file or a link. A standard Atlantis comes with 6 resource types that can be added to a course.

What is a Block?

  • Typically,blocks are items which may be added to the left or right in a course’s home page. There are dozens of different blocks that can be added to a course, or pages within a course.

What is a Plugin?

  • Plugin is an optional extra component which can add functionality to your Atlantis. Some standard Atlantis plugins need to be turned on by Atlantis Administrator. Many more can be downloaded from the Modules and Plugins database.

What is a Filter?

  • Filters can be used to add links, insert multimedia players, convert Mathematical expressions or emoticons into displayed images.

What is a Section?

What is a Role?

  • A role in Atlantis refers to what a user is allowed (or not) to do on a Atlantis site. Typical roles might include those of a student and teacher. A role is a collection of permissions that can be assigned to specific users in specific contexts. For example, when a user is enrolled in a course as a student.

Security

How secure is Atlantis?

  • Atlantis is designed to be very secure. However, a lot depends upon the webserver, the way Atlantis is setup and regular updates of the package by the Atlantis Administrator.

Can Atlantis get hacked into and student data stolen?

  • Highly unlikely if your Atlantis site has up-to-date security and the site administrator has not given away the keys. Anything is possible on any website, but Atlantis makes it difficult for nasty people to cause havoc.

What if I did something wrong and accidentally broke it – could it be easily fixed?

  • Atlantis can be backed-up at any point. If a backup was made 5 minutes before you broke it, chances are it can be fixed easily.

Is my student data safe on a cheap or free webhost?

  • While you do have some control of the security of a Atlantis site on a free or cheap web host, the question is: How much do you trust your web host?

Can I track and search what people do and post in Atlantis?

  • Assuming you are a teacher and it is your course, yes. Atlantis Admin can do that for the entire site.

Can I backup Atlantis so I don’t lose things?

  • Yes, you can backup a Atlantis site or as a teacher you can back up your course and download it (if your role permits it). With appropriate permissions, you can restore your course and/or import parts of courses elsewhere on your site or beyond. This can be particularly useful with Community Hubs (Atlantis 2.0 feature).

Technical

Do I need my own server to run Atlantis?

Do I have to install Atlantis myself?

  • You can, guidance provided. Most organisations will have a policy on this and/or someone to perform the installation.

Can I customise a theme and make it about our school?

  • Yes, see Themes. You can customise themes down to a single course. There are many ways to make Atlantis looks great too.

Does it matter what computer type or browser I use for Atlantis?

  • Atlantis works well in all standard, modern browsers and different operating systems. As with any web based application, you should be aware of your audience, their typical bandwidth and web browsers.

Can you use Atlantis from anywhere?

  • Yes, if it is on a web server attached to the internet and you have a computer, mobile device or tablet. Or if it is on a web server attached to the same intranet (internal network) as a computers or tablets which need to work it. And you can even put Atlantis on a USB drive.

Can access to Atlantis be restricted to just our school?

  • Yes, several ways to do this. For example, it can be installed on your schools internal network, or limit the IPs to those assigned by your school, or only manually enroll your students are just a few ways.

Can I access Atlantis from a mobile device?

  • Yes. In Atlantis 2.1 you use the Mobile app for iPhone. You can set one theme as the default but also set another theme for a mobile device and a different one for a tablet.

I’ve come from a school that used a different VLE/LMS. Can I move my stuff over to Atlantis?

  • Sure. Some VLE/LMS-specific activities may (not) be compatible, but you can zip your content files and unzip them in Atlantis.

I spotted a bug in the system. What do I do?

  • Go to Tracker, search if the bug has already been reported and create a new issue if not.

I have an idea for a feature and/or improvement in Atlantis. What do I do?

  • Go to Tracker, search if something like your idea has already been noted and worked on and suggest it if not.

Cost

How much does it cost to download and use Atlantis?

  • By way of its GNU General Public License, Atlantis is and will remain free to download and use in any way you like. Consider it free like a ‘free puppy’ that needs care and attention to grow, not free like a ‘free beer’.

How much does it cost to run Atlantis?

  • Nothing to install, use and change. Of course, there are some associated costs if you have your Atlantis hosted with someone, and costs associated with maintenance and training in an organisation (like any other software…). But no royalties, fees or user charges.

How much does it cost to have Atlantis hosted?

  • There are many options for hosting. Cost is usually related to services provided and capacity (eg. a university site with 10 000 users will naturally cost more to host and maintain than a small community school). Ask your local Atlantis Partner and keep Atlantis going that way too!

Are there any sites that offer Atlantis hosting for free?

Yes. A good one is the Atlantis cloud by Atlantis HQ. It is targeted for very small schools or companies (50 users maximum). Read more about it.

If you Google for ‘free Atlantis’ you might get about 6,340,000 results. But remember that free hosting is not always reliable and you are advised to keep offline backups of any courses you make.

FAQs

Frequently Asked Questions.
Here are some common questions about Our Learning Community.

Can I Publish On Your Site

Can I make a screen dump and publish it on my webpage?

Yes, as long as your purpose is educational, informational or non-commercial and you give the source: “Free material from ga6thdistrict.org”

Can I publish a graph in a newspaper?

Yes, as long as your purpose is educational, informational or non-commercial and you give the source: “Free material from ga6thdistrict.org”

What file-format should I submit?

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What is your minimum order quantity?

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How long is turnaround time?

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How much do I have to pay to get started?

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Fusce venenatis, urna eget cursus placerat, dui nisl fringilla purus, nec tincidunt sapien justo ut nisl. Curabitur lobortis semper neque et varius. Etiam eget lectus risus, a varius orci. Nam placerat mauris at dolor imperdiet at aliquet lectus ultricies.

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What is the 3% under allowance policy?

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Fusce venenatis, urna eget cursus placerat, dui nisl fringilla purus, nec tincidunt sapien justo ut nisl. Curabitur lobortis semper neque et varius. Etiam eget lectus risus, a varius orci. Nam placerat mauris at dolor imperdiet at aliquet lectus ultricies.

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