ATutor: Online Course for a Distance Education Institute

We have built online learning management systems using ATutor, the leading open-source LMS solutions available today. We have implemented a variety of customisations to the student life-cycle management, fees management and other areas. We are aware of design weaknesses and feature weaknesses of these systems which we can address wherever they impact a customer’s needs.


Education/ Vocational Training


Newly founded distance education institute in India


New business venture, offering training programmes in electronic design and CAD subjects through an Internet-based e-learning system. The solution needed to manage the complete student lifecycle and deliver course contents and online examinations.

Our Solution.

We mapped the customer’s requirements to the ATutor feature set and implemented various features. We also provided various additional services to enable the customer to get started.

Our work included:

  • Registration management: ATutor supported only student self-registration. The customer needed manual control and enabling of student registration through their institute’s administrative team. We added those features. The institute needed to examine scanned copies of the student’s credentials, previous marksheets and certificates, as part of the registration process. We extended the registration process to enable the applicant to upload scanned images of these documents, and provided an interface to the institute’s academic administration team to examine them and authorise the application.
  • Multi-semester courses: The institute needed support for multi-semester courses with computerised enforcement of policies of allowing a student to register for courses in a later semester only after clearing pre-requisites in the previous semester. ATutor supported pre-requisites relating one course to another, but not one semester to previous semesters. We added support for semesters and policies for pre-requisites related to them.
  • Fees management: The institute needed tracking of all fees collected from students and tracking of pending dues. This sequence started with paying for the paper based blank application form, followed by registration fees at the time of submitting the form, followed by other course-related fees. New modules were added to ATutor to support all these operations. Payment could be through online credit card gateways (Paypal), Demand Draft, cheques or cash. Details of payment instruments needed to be captured against each payment received.
  • SCORM enablement: The institute did not have internal team members with SCORM experience. We liaised with course content creators on behalf of the institute to test the SCORM content created by these vendors. We uploaded the SCORM content on the elearning system, reported errors, and assisted in sorting out errors.
  • Question papers and assignments: We assisted the institute in uploading question banks and managing attributes of questions, so that they could create question papers out of them correctly. We adjusted and extended the attributes of questions and banks, and configured question paper related settings to assist the institute to get the question paper generation to work as per their specifications. We assisted the institute in configuring assignment submission settings as per their requirements. We extended the testing module to map tests to courses and semesters, so that a student’s performance in a semester could be maintained and displayed in a coherent manner. We configured system performance parameters to support large numbers of simultaneous online tests with acceptable performance. In many of these tasks, ATutor algorithms needed to be modified or extended.
  • Infrastructure components: We managed the OS and layered products on the production server during initial deployment and testing. We tuned PHP parameters, Apache configuration, to deliver stable behaviour of ATutor in the presence of heavy access or when handling large content files. In one setup, the institute needed a warm standby backup server and we set up MySQL replication from primary to backup server.


Linux OS, Apache Web server, PHP, ATutor (which is a PHP-based application), and MySQL database system.


We deployed the solution on a cloud-based test server initially, with sufficient resources to allow the institute to do complete acceptance testing and then transition to production use without re-installation. After production use stabilised over 4+ months, we migrated the installation to the customer’s infrastructure and handed over the system to their team.