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Stan Miller
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I don’t think you’ll get there without JavaScript, but you could get there without creating an auxiliary database. All you really need is a file storage system, and anybody taking e-learning is working on one of those.

So maybe write the date to a file? If you can be confident that every user will always access the second course from the same computer on which they accessed the first one, you could write a file locally, name it with the title of the first course, and have it contain nothing but the launch date. If not, maybe there’s a shared folder somewhere where everybody can read and write, and you could write a file there; you could either create a single file that lists usernames and launch dates, maybe like this:

jdalrymple;20170929
sdmiller;20171001

and append to it as users launch the course, or create one file per user with a filename like “YourFirstCourseTitle-username.txt” containing nothing but the launch date.

It’s far from secure, but it would work. Fair warning, though: If you have users on different types of devices (PCs, phones, tablets, kiosks …), this would not be an easy lift. If everybody’s on the same type of device, shouldn’t be too bad, really.

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