How the web page works

January 26, 2010

in BasicInfo,News

This is coming up enough that it deserves a little discussion…

My experiment in how to set up the course web is having a few problems – people aren’t finding stuff, can’t figure out how to do some things, … The design is flawed. I’m the first to admit it.

Some of this is we (staff and students) just need to get over the initial learning hurdle. Some of it is we need to make a few tweaks in order for things to be less confusing. And finally, some larger improvements to the design (and potentially a total redesign) need to be done. At a deep level, I’m trying to use blogging software to be a course management system – its not clear that this is a good idea.

However, in the short term, I want to focus on getting the course content better organized – and see how things stabilize, and what happens after people get used to the quirky system. So no major redesigns. To make things go more smoothly:

  1. If you haven’t already done so, read the post on how wordpress is setup for this class.
  2. A lot of the issues are related to first-time startup (the first time you make a post, the first time you have to find a reading). Now that you’ve done it, it should be easier.
  3. Understand the difference between a posting and a comment. For readings, you’ll be asked to make comments on the reading posting. For assignments, you will (usually) be asked to make postings. I will try to be clearer.
  4. I have tried to make assignments (things that you do) and readings (things that read and comment on) distinct. Except for readings/assignment 1 which was both. I’m not sure this distinction is important: so I’m going to (try to) merge the categories from now on.
  5. In the “this week in 838” posting, i’ll include links to the things you will do.
  6. If someone finds a way to add links to the google calendar, please let me know.
  7. I am going to map out the assignments/reading/class content more than a week ahead of time (famous last words). This should make it easier for you to see what’s coming, so you don’t need to find everything for the first time at the last minute.

Thanks for your patience – this is all a big experiment, and so far, it seems to be going OK.

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