Ack! As folks who are much younger and much more hip would say, "my bad". The problem was due to a missing critical update to the .net framework. Yes, that's right...I ignored the warnings (twice!) in the Getting Started manual,
and well...there it is. With the patch in place, things went much more smoothly. I experienced a couple more moments of confusion, so to pay my penance for posting a question without following ALL instructions, here are a few notes from my
installation of 1.4:
Step 0: Make sure you've installed all critical updates. I'M NOT JOKING! Save yourself a day of headscratching.
Step 1: I copied all files from SLK 1.3.1 to my server at C:\Install, just as instructed in "Getting Started"
Step 2: I replaced the file c:\Install\Release\SharePointLearningKit.wsp with the version found in SLK 1.4 - Part 3\WSP\x86 (64 bit servers will use x64)
Step 3: I replaced the file c:\Install\SlkSettings.xml with the version found in SLK 1.4 - Part 3\UpgradeFromSLK131ToSLK14 (Not sure if this is really necessary, but my install worked)
Step 4: I followed the excellent instructions in Getting Started, up to step 4.2. At this point, step 4.2 was impossible for me, because I didn't have the SLK Course Manager Administration section in Central Admin.
Step 5: Turns out that I needed to activate Course Manager Administration on my server...a step not included in the instructions. Open Central Admin on your server. Click
Site Actions>Site Settings. Click Site Features. Click
Activate next to Course Manager Administration. (Note that this step may need to be completed while standing on one foot, facing due South. That's how I did it, and it worked...others may find this unecessary)
Step 6: Follow the rest of the excellent instructions. Everything else worked exactly as advertised for me. So far, the solution looks great!
I hope these notes prove useful to others who are doing an initial install of version 1.4 from scratch.