June 22, 2003
June 22, 2003
June 25, 2003
8.393.1 - 8.393.9
Developing A Multi-Author Web Site to Support Large ACL Engineering Classes
Donald A. Maxwell, James R. Morgan, Debra Fowler
Texas A&M University
Instructors increasingly post course information and interact with their students via the Web. However, time to construct and revise a course web site that relies entirely on static HTML coding can be considerable. This paper describes a web application, CENotes, which was designed and implemented around three concepts: • It must organize material around students needs as expressed by student surveys. • It must add value to the existing situation and not just rehash existing material. • It must reduce the HTML maintenance effort as much as possible. Originally designed for two first-year engineering courses and a junior/senior civil engineering course, the application has grown into a multi-course/instructor Web site, serving some 750 students in 15 graduate and undergraduate classes. It has the following capabilities: • Instructors are able to incorporate a large volume of evolving material in various formats into the application on a daily basis with no HTML maintenance. • Students are able to browse and retrieve the material organized by: topic, by function, or by schedule according to their needs. Student surveys indicate that they want the material organized according to their learning styles, background, and personal desires. • Students are able to retrieve individual grade reports enabling quick feed back on daily work and exam scores. • Instructors, teaching assistants, and peer teachers are able to communicate with each other and the students through moderated email, notice boards, etc. This paper will present development strategies, based upon input from student surveys, used to enhance the application.
In The Beginning CENotes evolved from an over-elaborate Web site that consisted of at least 50 pages coded entirely in HTML. Prior to the summer 2001, the site supported two large classes, CVEN 349 - Construction Project Management (around 100 junior level students) and ENGR111/112 Foundations of Engineering I and II (about 92 freshmen students). The intent was to provide links to lecture notes and other handouts following a 16-week layout for each class. A log-on system was developed in order to restrict access to the notes to enrolled students and a few guests.
Since the site was entirely coded in static HTML, the site had to be recoded every semester as schedule and materials changed. Site maintenance was a major headache. In fact as much time was spent on HTML changes as in editing existing course material. Fortunately, the course
Proceedings of the 2003 American Society for Engineering Education Annual Conference & Exposition Copyright 2003, American Society for Engineering Education
Froyd, J., & Maxwell, D., & Fowler, D., & Morgan, J. (2003, June), Developing A Multi Author Web Site To Support Large Acl Engineering Classes Paper presented at 2003 Annual Conference, Nashville, Tennessee. 10.18260/1-2--12425
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