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WordPress as Courseware (4 posts)

  1. spartro
    Member
    Posted 9 years ago #

    The school I teach at has been using WebCT for the past few years in conjunction with our partner-in-education university. I say using, in truth they are not using it. The entrenched luddite faction are all good teachers but found WebCT to be too many bells and whistles, too many clicks to do anything. First I explored Moodle, which had the advantage of being administered on our own webserver, but still has too many clicks to add content. As I was working with our options, one of the teachers asked if we could make it work like the system our PTSA uses (one of the many WP powered sections of our website). I had seen this system based on MT, so I set out to make it happen with WP.

    Caveat: I am primarily a network plumber and go-to guy for hardware issues. My PHP skills are limited at best, so I am just sort of feeling my way through all of this.

    I started with the basic 1.5 install. I am not using themes, specifically because wanted to tackle the issues of assembling the courseware rather than adapt the stylesheet. So I am using the index, header, footer, sidebar format. I have added some plugins to make things easy for teachers. I have added iimage browser to help with uploading pictures and I have (sort of) got eventcalendar2 working (even though I have yet to get it to navigate from month to month). I have added phmailer so students are able to attach documents in email to teachers.

    I guess what I am asking for is suggestions. Is there a plugin or tweak you know of that would make things better? Any suggestions for something better that eventcalendar2 to do upcoming events with? kI know I am trying to do something with WP where there are existing specialized tools for, but the immediacy of adding content this easily is what my teachers are looking for. A mock up (still ugly with test entries and such) is up at

    http://www.btwmhs.mps.k12.al.us/courses/generic

    Suggestions, recommendations, criticism are all welcome.

  2. Michael Bishop

    Posted 9 years ago #

    As a fan of webct, from a users standpoint, it is unfortunate that your staff is dumping it. Granted, I used it on several times in a completely distant learning environment, therefore, what you are attempting to do would be no where close. Don't get me wrong, I'm an equally huge fan of WP, just for a different purpose.
    You many want to look at Denis de Bernardy's Semilogical theme and CMS package as that is in essence what you are trying to do.
    Discussed in this thread
    One other thing I would look at, that I found a neccsessary with webct, was the discussion board. So perhaps incorporating one of the open source message boards, or even this bbpress application, unless your school already has something of that nature.
    Hope this helps.

  3. JimPhelps
    Member
    Posted 9 years ago #

    Some caveats: Courseware has a long list of requirements that it must meet. These include the need to have access control based on course enrollment such that only students enrolled in a class can see copyright protected content, FERPA regulations mandate that you protect the privacy of students so email address an name are hidden from the public at large and from other classmates if the student requests FERPA protection and the purging of copyright materials from the course after the course is completed. These are legal requirements... just so you are aware.

    - Jim

  4. Michael Bishop

    Posted 9 years ago #

    http://learning-management-system.info/
    I came across this while looking at php scripts. May or may not be something worth looking at.
    The price is right, nonetheless.

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