OLab3 demo server move – update

We think the dust has settled. You can continue to use this URL to access our OLab3 demo server:


We apologize because the transition was not nearly as smooth as we had hoped. We have copied all of the case information, media files, user identities etc from the old server to the new one.

We have repointed the https://demo.openlabyrinth.ca/ URL from the old server to the new one so that outside references to your cases should now work as before.

We have left in place the URL https://mvp.olab.ca/ to point to this same server so if any of you have altered your links and references, these should still work.

Phew. A lot of fuss for something that should have happened invisibly. Sorry that it did not but this resulted from a lack of resources at UCIT, who have many other things on their plates just now.


OLab3 Demo server moved

The move was successful!

You can now find your cases and scenarios at https://mvp.olab.ca

We also moved all the user credentials, groups, logins etc over at the same time so you should be able to login using the same username and password as before.

The forgot-my-password link now works again, in case you need that.

All of the case/scenario/map names remain the same. Also the map ID numbers are the same as they were on https://demo.openlabyrinth.ca/ — this means that if you have a URL that points to a particular map or node, it will almost work. Map IDs and Node IDs are unchanged.

Remapping a URL

If you have a URL in an external file, such as a Moodle Course or a WordPress page, you may need to edit it to point to the new site e.g. for the well known ‘Welcome’ case, instead of…


…it will now be at https://mvp.olab.ca/renderLabyrinth/index/5

We are working with UCIT to reassign demo.openlabyrinth.ca to this new server so that the original URLs will work. We are not sure how long this will take for them to implement. Please contact us if this is creating problems for you.

OLab3 service changes pending

Sorry everyone for the inconvenience. We have been having issues with the server at https://demo.openlabyrinth.ca for a few weeks now.

We will need to switch to a more stable server – this will probably happen on Monday 5 DEC 2022. We will post the new server URL at that time.

In the meantime, what to do?

  1. You can continue to use https://demo.openlabyrinth.ca until Monday.
  2. The forgot-my-password link on that server will not function properly. (It will say that it will send you a link but that will not be sent.)
  3. We will copy the data files from https://demo.openlabyrinth.ca to the new server on Monday. This means that…
    1. Case materials and edits on https://demo.openlabyrinth.ca should still be carried over
    2. User account details will remain the same
    3. Session data (who played what when) will be carried over.
  4. The server at https://demo.openlabyrinth.ca/ will be running more slowly because of these internal problems.

UST Chile creating Spanish cases

Our project with Universite San Tomas, Concepcion, Chile that was first mentioned in Chile adopts OLab for virtual scenarios, continues apace.

After some initial challenges with language, which was greatly mitigated by excellent translation services and multi-lingual Zoom meetings, our team (led by Michelle Cullen) has been assisting teachers in Chile in the creation of virtual scenarios.

OLab is largely language agnostic, as noted here (Multilingual OLab), even supporting Right-> Left languages and scripts. We are exploring to what extent the authoring framework should also be made multilingual but are happy  to report that, so far, this has not been a barrier for our authors.

Virtu-WIL Phase 1 completed

Colleges and Institutes Canada (CICan) recently completed the first phase of their Virtu-WIL Project, https://www.collegesinstitutes.ca/what-we-do/canadian-partnerships/virtu-wil/.

Together with Simulation Canada, they assembled 137 virtual simulations for healthcare professionals in various disciplines: nursing, paramedicine and medical lab technicians. The entire collection is available at https://simulationcanada.ca/virtu-wil/

OLab was pleased to collaborate with a group of authors from many institutions in the creation of some of these cases.

This initiative was funded by Employment and Social Development Canada (ESDC) via The Innovative Work-Integrated Learning Initiative – Canada.ca.

CICan has been invited to create more cases for Phase 2 of this initiative. We intend to support this second round of cases.

Service interruption on openlabyrinth.ca

We are so sorry that servers on our openlabyrinth.ca domain were down since Monday. Good news is that all are working normally again.

The services affected were:
https://openlabyrinth.ca/ — this WordPress site
https://demo.openlabyrinth.ca/ — our main OLab3 site
https://curios.openlabyrinth.ca/ — our CURIOS video mashup service

The actual servers themselves were happily running all through this time. No downtime and no data lost. But they were invisible to the outside world, which makes them just a tad useless. The miscreants on the network team will be flogged with a wet noodle.

There was no data breach, no hackers, etc.

We do now have a backup installation running on a separate service which we can rapidly switch to if needed. We will post this on this site if we have to turn things over to the new server.

Maintenance and reboots on demo server

For my heaviest users of OLab3 on this server at https://demo.openlabyrinth.ca/, I wanted to give you guys a heads-up about a few upcoming things.

This server is getting quite slow and bogged down at times. Yes, we all want to migrate to OLab4 asap… still getting a few hiccups on that… coming soon.

Sadly on this OLab3 server, some of the slow-downs seem to be because of memory leaks in the Kohana framework on which OLab3 is based. We also have some heavy class loads coming up so we are making a few wee changes so that this server does not slow down too much.

We hope also to give you access to some alternatives. Anyway, these are the important points: 

  1. The demo.openlabyrinth.ca will be rebooted periodically to clear the memory leaks. The usual time for this will be 06:00 UTC
  2. This will not be everyday. We should be able to set up a cron job so that it only happens one day per week, probably Sunday mornings.
  3. Over the next couple of weeks, it may happen more often as we prep for some big groups of students.
  4. Please contact me if there is a class or exam or whatever coming up that you want us to avoid.
  5. We have been working on some alternate servers that you can also use. These will have largely the same code and functions. Initially the database of cases will be mostly the same between them but they do not share a database so cases developed on one will not automatically show up on another. Thank heavens for import/export and MVP.zip files.  


Avatars in OLab4

Avatars have been a popular item with OLab3 authors for years. But while useful, they have had their limitations.

In our redesign of OLab4, we are now looking at the issue of avatar editors. There are many 3rd party options out there. Rather than reinvent the wheel, we think it would make more sense to have authors use these and then use the generated images.

What do you think of this approach? Have you found any particularly useful avatar editors or generators that you would recommend?

Dynamic Scoped Objects

Previously, we gave you a teaser about a whole new level of functionality in OLab4: Scoped Objects. These have turned out to be powerful and will allow much improved reusability of modules and objects, which will speed up case authoring.

Being able to control the scope means that, like in common programming languages, where variables can be local, public, global etc, our objects can also be shared across a variety of levels eg map-level, server-level but also node-level and global-level ( a common set to be shared by all OLab4 servers).

Until recently, the state of some of the objects, like Counters, was only updated when the user changed Nodes. This is somewhat similar to the situation in OLab3. While this concept is nice and simple, it does have lots of limitations.

The new Single Page Architecture (SPA) in OLab4 means that some Counters can be manipulated within the page. It will be easier to illustrate what this means with some example cases when OLab4 is ready.

Now, our development team has come up with the concept of Dynamic Scoped Objects. These can be changed, without having to change Nodes, and server load can be controlled so that complex cases do not bog things down.

For server-level Counters, that will be used in team-based learning, this also opens up some interesting possibilities where Counters can be shared across multiple maps on the same server. This provides a way of having maps interact with each other (and therefore the team members playing their respective roles on such maps). We wrote about this before.

The difference now with Dynamic Scoped Objects is that we can control how often these objects are updated. So, if one team has not changed the Node, they will still see how such a Counter is altered if a competing team does something to change the same Counter.

Again, this will be easier to illustrate with some example cases and scenarios when we have this running in the near future. Feel free to ask questions about this or to make suggestions on cool ways in which to use such shared Counters.