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A Comprehensive Activities Management Web Site For Tulane's Freshman Intro To Engineering Course

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2004 Annual Conference


Salt Lake City, Utah

Publication Date

June 20, 2004

Start Date

June 20, 2004

End Date

June 23, 2004



Conference Session

Teaching with Technologies

Page Count


Page Numbers

9.20.1 - 9.20.19

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Paper Authors

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Linda Orth Wright

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David Robinson

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Carol Mullenax

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NOTE: The first page of text has been automatically extracted and included below in lieu of an abstract

Session 2258

A Comprehensive Activities Management Website for Tulane’s Freshman Intro to Engineering Course

Linda Wright, David Robinson, Carol Mullenax Tulane University


As part of the effort to revamp the freshman engineering experience for the 2003-04 academic year, several outside-the-classroom activities were added to the course requirements. To manage these events, a comprehensive website was developed in a collaborative effort between Tulane’s Innovative Learning Center and the School of Engineering.

Managed activities include small group mini-labs, lunches with faculty members, and site visits with local engineering alumni mentors. Website users were divided into eight personnel classifications: student (~220), faculty luncher (~25), mini-lab instructor (~30), alumni mentor (~25), departmental observer (~5), administrator/mini-lab instructor (1), administrator/faculty (1), and faculty/mini-lab instructor (~5). Similar, yet distinct, web interfaces were created for each user type.

The website concept was to emulate an e-commerce model, with the students registering for labs, lunches and plant visits by adding the events to their shopping/event carts. Ratings (1-5 stars) display for completed lab and plant visits, allowing students to make informed judgments when signing up for subsequent activities. Automated email notifications inform all involved personnel of changes in participant enrollment or event cancellation.

The website was designed on a development-production server setup using Macromedia Dreamweaver and ColdFusion technology, accessing a SQLserver database. The database was created with scalability in mind for use in upcoming semesters/years. With slight modifications, the website could certainly accommodate disciplines/departments outside of the School of Engineering.

The entire web-based, database accessible project was created from the ground up within three months with two full-time designer/programmers. A third programmer was brought in to assist with the final-stage alterations and enhancements. The main lesson learned from this project was gauging when and where to draw the line on “version 1” without compromising the active use of the application. A list of “version 2” features is growing and is planned for a Fall 2004 release.

User response to this website was very favorable, and all required web functions were accomplished competently. Use of the website made the task of coordinating a large class with

Proceedings of the 2004 American Society for Engineering Education Annual Conference & Exposition Copyright © 2004, American Society for Engineering Education

Orth Wright, L., & Robinson, D., & Mullenax, C. (2004, June), A Comprehensive Activities Management Web Site For Tulane's Freshman Intro To Engineering Course Paper presented at 2004 Annual Conference, Salt Lake City, Utah.

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