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The Item Locking mechanism allows item writers, reviewers and project managers to check-out items and lock them so no other users can make modifications to the item while it is locked. 

There are two different methods of locking items:

  • Automatically check-out items when they are opened for editing
  • Manually check-out items for a fixed period of time: Reviewers on Review Question page (1 day, 1 week, 1 month), or Project Managers on Examine Questions page (99 years)

 

Both methods of checking out an item have the following characteristics in common:

  • Only one user can check out an item at any point in time; while checked-out, no other user can edit the item (but they can still add comments).
  • On the Write Questions, Write Case QuestionsModify Question, Add/Edit Cases pages, users see a message notifying them that they hold the check-out for that item. (This is true for both manually and automatically checked out items.)
  • When another user tries to edit a checked-out item, they receive an error telling them who holds the check-out.
  • Users on the Review Questions, Validate Questions or Examine Questions pages receive notifications in near real-time when the item they are viewing is checked-out or checked-in by another user. The page is updated in near real-time when items are checked-out or checked-in, so they do not need to refresh the page to see the notification.

 

The behavior is different when you automatically check-out an item vs. manually checking out an item. There are even differences based on the role of the user and the page that is checked out. Click the link to review each type of item locking.

 

Automatically Check-out an Item

The automatic item locking mechanism includes the following characteristics:

  • Whenever a user starts editing an item in ExamDeveloper, that item is automatically ‘checked out’ (or ‘locked’) so that no other users can make modifications.
  • When an existing item is opened for modification by clicking the Modify button, it is automatically checked-out until the system checks it in as a result of the user doing one of the following:
    • Save changes that redirects the user away from the modify page (Save and Finish Later, Advance, Return, or Submit buttons).

    • Leave the editor page for more than five minutes.

    • User is logged out through inactivity.

    • The state of the item changes.

    • The Project Manager manually checks-in the question.

 

Users can Automatically check-out an item from the following pages: Write Questions, Modify Questions from the Review Questions page, Modify Questions from the Examine Questions page, Add/Edit Case, and Write Case Questions. Items are automatically checked-in depending upon where the item was checked-out from.

Write Questions page

If you are the author of the item and the item is still in a draft state, you can automatically check-out the item from the Draft/Returned Questions tab on the Project Writing Summary page.

  1. Select the Develop Questions → Write Item menu and click the Draft/Returned Questions tab.
  2. Click the  Edit icon for the item you want to edit.
  3. The Write Question page opens. A message notifies you that you checked out the item and provides the date and timestamp for the check-out.
  4. Make the required modifications. The buttons on the on the Write Question page affect the automatic check-out status as follows:

    • Add Question to Case - Saves changes to the item, opens Add/Edit Case page where you can create a new case and add the item to the new case, both the case and the item remain open for 5 minutes after you navigate away from the Add/Edit Case page
    • Save - Item remains checked out, Writer stays on the Write Question page
    • Preview - Saves changes to the item, opens Preview window, item remains checked out
    • Save and Exit - Saves changes to the item, checks-in the item, and returns Writer to the Project Summary page
    • Submit - Saves changes to the item, checks-in the item, and moves the item to the next review state
    • Navigate away from page - Does not save the item, item remains checked out for 5 minutes

Modify Question page from Review Questions

  1. Select the Develop Questions → Review menu.
  2. Click the  Edit icon for the desired Review state.
  3. Navigate to the desired item and click the Modify button on the Review Questions page.
  4. The Modify Question page opens. A message notifies you that you checked out the item and provides the date and timestamp for the check-out.
  5. Make the required modifications. The buttons on the on the Modify Question page affect the automatic check-out status as follows:

    • Save - Item remains checked out, Reviewer stays on the Modify Question page
    • Advance - Saves changes, checks-in the item, and moves the item to the next review state
    • Return - Saves changes, checks-in the item, and returns the item to the previous review state
    • Exit - Does not save the item, the item remains checked out, and you are returned to the Review Questions page - a Check-in button appears on the page if you wish to check in the item
    • Navigate away from page - Does not save the item, item remains checked out for 5 minutes

Modify Question page from the Examine Questions page

  1. Select the Manage → Project Bank → Questions menu.
  2. Search for the desired items using the Search Criteria and click the Retrieve Questions button.
  3. Select the Items you want to examine by selecting the check box for each desired item.
  4. Click the Examine Questions button.
  5. Click the Modify button.
  6. The Modify Question page opens and a message notifies you that you checked out the item and provides the date and timestamp for the check-out.
  7. Make the required modifications to the item. The buttons on the on the Modify Questions page affect the automatic check-out status as follows:

    • Submit - Saves the changes, and checks-in the item
    • Exit - Removes any edits made to the item, returns to the Examine Questions page, and the item remains checked out
    • Navigate away from page - Does not save the item, item remains checked out for 5 minutes

Add/Edit Case page

Any time you open a case to view it, all the items on the case including the exhibit are checked out. None of the items on the case can be checked out by another user. You are prevented from viewing the item if any of the items are checked out.

  1. Select the Develop Questions → Cases menu. Select the View Cases tab.
  2. Click the Edit icon for the case you wish to edit.
  3. The Add/Edit Case page opens and a message notifies you that you checked out all the items on the case and provides the date and timestamp for the check-out. Notice the Exhibit item (170303) is checked out in addition to all the items on the case.
  4. You can make modifications to the Case Name, Exhibit text, the order of the items on the case, specify Lock Response for the items, and add items to the case. The buttons on the on the Modify Questions page affect the automatic check-out status as follows:
    • Save All - Saves all changes to the case, stays on the Add/Edit Case page, all items on the case remain checked out as long as you are active on the Add/Edit Case page
    • Preview - Saves all changes to the case, opens the Preview window, and all items on the case remain checked out as long as you are active on the Add/Edit Case page
    • Submit All - Saves all changes to the case, moves all items on the case from a Draft state to the next state in the review workflow, all items on the case remained checked-out as long as you are active on the Add/Edit Case page
    • Exit - Does not save changes to the case, returns you to the View Cases page, all items on the case remain checked-out for 5 minutes
    • Navigate away from page - Does not save the case, items on the case remain checked out for 5 minutes
  5. If you wish to edit an item in a draft state, click the  Edit icon on the Questions tab. This opens the Write Case Question page (see below).

Write Case Questions page

  1. You can get to the Write Case Questions tab several ways:
    1. Click the Edit icon on the Questions tab of the Add/Edit Case page.
    2. Click the Select Questions tab on the Add/Edit Case page and click the Write Question button.
    3. Click the Edit icon on the Case accordion tab of the Write Case Question page to edit a draft item on a case.
  2. The Write Case Question page opens. A message notifies you that you checked out the item and provides the date and timestamp for the check-out. If you opened a new item to write it and add it to the case, no message appears at the top of the page.
  3. Make the required modifications to the item. The buttons on the on the Write Case Question page affect the automatic check-out status as follows:

    • Save - Saves the changes to the item, adds the item to the case, checks out the item if it is a newly authored item, opens a new Write Case Question page, keeps all the items on the case checked-out
    • Preview - Saves changes to the item, creates a new revision of the case, opens the Preview window, keeps the item open on the Write Case Question page, keeps all the items on the case checked-out
    • Submit All - Saves all changes to the item, checks-in all items on the case, moves all items on the case from a Draft state to the next state in the review workflow, keeps all items on the case checked-out
    • Exit to Case - Does not save changes to the item, you are returned to the Add/Edit Case page, keeps all items on the case checked-out
    • Navigate away from page - Does not save the item, all items on the case remain checked out for 5 minutes

 

Reviewer Manually Check-out an Item

Reviewers can manually check-out an item for a fixed period of time, preventing it from being edited by others (even while they are logged out.) Reviewers can only manually check-out an item for a short amount of time.

  • Reviewers are able to check-out / check-in an item manually on the Review Questions page:

    • This is performed on an item-by-item basis.

    • A reviewer can only check-in items they have checked-out.

    • Enabling/disabling reviewer check-out is configurable per review state in the project’s review configuration, and can be configured to last for a day, week or month before the system automatically checks them back in (the reviewer receives an email notification the day before this occurs.) See Review Workflow topic for details on this configuration.

  • All manual check-outs persist beyond logout until the period configured, but check-in still automatically occurs when saving an item in an edit screen or changing its state.

 

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The Check-out and Check-in buttons are only available on the Review Questions page if Allow reviewers to check-out items is selected on the Review Workflow page. The question remains checked out for the number of days the Project Manager has configured this setting unless the user checks-in the question or moves it to another state in the review workflow.

ExamDeveloper sends out an email reminder to the users who checked out the item one day prior to automatically checking in the item. If the user does not check in the item before the expiration date, ExamDeveloper checks in the item at 3 am server time on the expiration date.

See Review Workflow topic for details on this configuration.

For items that have been manually checked-out and the items are due to be automatically checked-in tomorrow (for example, 1 day, 1 week, or 1 month is about to expire), an email notification job runs.

  • An email is sent to the users who checked-out the item.
  • One email is sent for each project that contains items about to be checked-in.
  • The email includes the following information:
    Item bank
    Project
    Specific items to be checked-in

 

  1. Select the Develop Questions → Review menu.
  2. The Project Review Summary page displays a count of the item included in the search criteria used to create the Review Assignment.
  3. Click the  Edit icon to view the assignment from which the Items must be reviewed.
  4. Click the Check-out button. 

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    The Check-out button toggles to the Check-in button when you have manually checked out an item.

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    This manual check-out prevents other users from editing the item as long as it is checked out. When other reviewers navigate to the checked-out item on the Review Questions page, a message notifies them which user has the item checked out and they are prevented from opening the item for modification. The Advance, Return, and Modify buttons are disabled as long as the item is checked-out.

    When multiple reviewers are all viewing the item on the Review Questions page, a message states how many other reviewers are currently viewing the item. As soon as one of the other viewers moves to a different item or navigates away from the Review Questions page, the message is updated in near real-time for all the other users viewing the item. This makes it easier for reviewers to determine if they should work on the selected item, or move on to a different item that is not being reviewed by other users. This messaging does not include any project managers viewing the item from the Examine Questions page.

     

     

  5. If you wish to Edit the item, click the Modify button. The Modify Question page opens and a message notifies you that you checked out the item and provides the date and timestamp for the check-out.
  6. Make the required modifications. The buttons on the on the Modify Questions page affect the manual check-out status as follows:

    • Save - Item remains checked out, Reviewer stays on the Modify Question page
    • Advance - Saves changes, checks-in the item, and moves the item to the next review state
    • Return - Saves changes, checks-in the item, and returns the item to the previous review state
    • Exit - Does not save the item, and the item remains checked out for the specified amount of time
    • Navigate away from page - Does not save the item, item remains checked out for the specified amount of time

Project Manager Manually Check-out an Item

Project Managers can manually check-out an item for a fixed period of time, preventing it from being edited by others (even while they are logged out.) 

  • Project Managers can enable/disable reviewer check-out per review state in the project’s review configuration, and can be configured to last for a day, week or month before the system automatically checks the item back in (the reviewer receives an email notification the day before this occurs.) See Review Workflow topic for details on this configuration.
  • A project manager is able to check-out / check-in an item manually on the Examine Questions page:
    • They are not bound to any time limit like reviewers are. The item is checked out for 99 years, or until the item is checked in, or until there is a change in state for the item.

    • They can check-in any other users’ items from the Examine Questions page, and must manually check-in an item in order to make the item editable again, because the previous pop-up overrides in other areas of the system were removed.

  • All manual check-outs persist beyond logout until the period configured, but check-in still automatically occurs when saving an item in an edit screen or changing its state.
  • Project Managers can bulk check-in multiple items using the Item Check-out Dashboard.

 

  1. Select the Manage → Project Bank → Questions menu.
  2. Search for the desired items using the Search Criteria and click the Retrieve Questions button.
  3. Select the Items you want to examine by selecting the check box for each desired item.
  4. Click the Examine Questions button.
  5. If the item is not checked out by another user, the Check-out button appears at the top of the page. Click the Check-out button.

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    If the item is checked out by another user, when the Project Manager views the item on the Examine Questions page a message notifies them which user has the question checked out and they are prevented from opening the item for modification. The Return to Author, and Modify buttons, and the Change State button are disabled as long as the item is checked-out. See Project Manager Manually Check-in an Item below.



  6. The Check-out button changes to Check-in. There is no messaging that you have the item checked out, the button changing to Check-in is your only indicator that you have the question checked-out.

    The item remains checked out for 99 years unless one of the following actions occur:
    • A Project Manager clicks the Check-in button
    • A Project Manager changes the state of the item
    • The Project Manager modifies the item and Submits the item on the Modify Question page

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    The system does not automatically check-in the item when it has been manually checked out in the following scenarios:

    • If the system-timeout period elapses for the Project Manager that manually checked-out the item
    • If the Project Manager opens the question on the Modify Question page and leaves it idle for more than five minutes
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    The following actions occur when Project Managers manually check-out items:

    • Reviewers receive real-time item review notifications if the Project Manager manually checks-out the item
    • The Modify, Advance, and Return buttons are disabled for Reviewers when the Project Manager manually checks-out the item



  7. If you wish to edit the item, click the Modify button. The Modify Question page opens and a message notifies you that you checked out the item and provides the date and timestamp for the check-out.
  8. Make the required modifications to the item. The buttons on the on the Modify Questions page affect the manual check-out status as follows:

    • Submit - Saves the changes, and checks-in the item
    • Exit - Removes any edits made to the item, returns to the Examine Questions page, and the item remains checked out
    • Navigate away from page - Does not save the item, item remains checked out

Project Manager Manually Check-in an Item

Project Managers can manually check-in not only items they have checked-out, but they can also check-in items that other users have checked-out, thus overriding the check-out from other users. This method only allows Project Managers to check-in individual items. If you need to check-in multiple items at the same time, use the Item Check-out dashboard under the Manage → Users menu and click the Item Check-out tab. See the Item Check-out Dashboard topic for details.

  1. Select the Manage → Project Bank → Questions menu.
  2. Search for the desired items using the Search Criteria and click the Retrieve Questions button.
  3. Select the items you want to examine by selecting the check box for each desired item.
  4. Click the Examine Questions button.
  5. The behavior for checking in an item you checked out vs. one checked out by another user is slightly different.

    1. If the item is checked-out from another user, the message at the top of the pages states who has the item checked out plus the date and time stamp. Click the Check-in button.

      The item is checked-in, the message disappears, and the button changes to Check-out.

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      If you want to prevent other users from editing the item you checked-in, click the Check-out button right away.



    2. If you want to check-in an item you checked out, click the Check-in button. The item is checked-in and the button changes to Check-out.

 

 

 

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