courses are offered through various courseware. Each has its own
advantage and disadvantage. Your school will choose the program they want
to use to offer their courses. Here is an introduction to some of them.
is providing as free public access to server space for delivery of online
courses. Assignments may include tests (multiple choice, fill in the blank
or essay question format), in-class evaluations, etc. Dialog may be
analyzed and synthesized for later research purposes. This product is
available free of charge as part of a research project from Iowa State
University Computation Center.
is a full feature course authoring package that allows the
instructor/designer to create web courses for internet distribution by
accessing an online designer interface through a Web browser. No
programming or HTML experience is necessary. CourseInfo can be purchased
for implementing institution wide Web-based distance education, or the
Blackboard site can be used to create individual course at no charge.
Though highly function, both the student and the designer views utilize
frames, which raises accessibility issues for users of adaptive
Intranet/Internet communication tool. First Class has several unusual
features, including a spell checker, spam filters and conference
moderation which allows monitoring of internal messages also. It is a high
quality program in its design, with many options for delivery, due to use
of this product by several companies that build, host, and maintain online
courses for clients.
is an approach to Internet based document organization and delivery. It is
a conferencing system, an on-line course delivery tool, and a powerful
application for managing course documents. HyperWave allows you to assign
a variety of attributes to given documents (group access, user access) and
to organize documents in hierarchical schemes.
is a hybird web / proprietary program from Lotus which has excellent
messaging tools, strong collaboration features, and excellent course
administration functions. There are four main function areas that can be
accessed using a Netscape or Internet Explorer browser or a Notes client:
scheduling, media resources, course materials, and student Profiles.
Learning Space also comes with instructor tools for assessment
administration. Lotus highlights the collaborative work tools they offer
for student-to-student and instructor-to-student communication. The
demonstration site provided by Lotus includes image maps without alt-text
in the navigation system, making in inaccessible to users of screen
provides basic course delivery functionality with full integration into
the World Wide Web. It features a proprietary e-mail system, quiz
construction wizard and an "export" function which packages content in a
proprietary format. An advantage of this program is the ability to create
multiple "classes" using the same course content. Optional use of frames
allows access by users of adaptive technology, although links are
displayed as icons with ALT-text, making accessibility difficult for some
users of text-based browsers or adaptive technology.
Virtual-U Developed at Simon Fraser University, the
Virtual-U Research Project is part of the
TeleLearning Network of Centres of Excellence and is funded in part by
CANARIE. Program information emphasizes that the project brings
together specialists from computer science, education, psychology and
engineering to merge approaches in development of Virtual-U. Major
universities across Canada are being used as test sites. As with other
courseware products described here, Virual-U allows the
instructor/designer to create web courses for internet distribution by
accessing an online designer interface through a browser. Online
discussion or "conferencing" systems, course content management, and
course administration functions are included. Although image mapped links
are tagged with alt text, use of frames, tables and complex drop-down
selection boxes will make this courses created with Virtual-U difficult to
access for users of adaptive technology such as screen readers.
Web Course in a Box enables creation of basic course pages such as
syllabus, class schedule, personal home pages, as well as interactive Web
functions such as discussion forums and self-correcting exercises. It is
not as flashy as some other packages, but is quite functional. The
designer interface is difficult to access for users of adaptive
technologies, but the student interface is quite accessible.
the instructor/designer to create web courses for internet distribution by
accessing an online designer interface through a browser. It has a high
level of functionality, including glossary wizards, student work group
areas, java-based chat, statistical tracking of student progress, etc.
WebCT is the most reasonably priced courseware package available and
perhaps the most popular.
to reach a level of proficient use. The frames format makes both the
student view and the designer view difficult to access for users of
adaptive technology such as a screen reader. The navigation system has no
text link equivalent. Alternative navigation systems need to be created to
IntraLearn is a comprehensive Webbasedlearning management system that
enables educators to quickly offer interactive Internet course delivery.
With IntraLearn, a student can register, receive training, submit tests,
communicate and collaborate with others, and receive certification over
the Internet. IntraLearn integrates remote registration and proctoring,
lessons, interactivity, streaming multimedia, communications, testing,
tracking and reporting to provide a secure and self-contained online
education solution. The IntraLearn Software Corporation also offers
complete technical support and Web hosting services.
is designed to support virtual communities. Community members access the
communities directly or through a central portal.
Workplace uses a client-server solution to provide permanent and
accessible locations where people can gather to work and form communities.
Using a familiar 'Rooms' metaphor, TeamWave Workplace provides easy
creation and manipulation of virtual community spaces. Each space or room,
can serve a range of needs from library or archival needs to conferencing
is an interactive Web-based educational software system developed at the
University of Illinois. Using CyberProf, instructors can create on-line
lecture notes that include equations, animations, and graphics; write
on-line interactive homework problems; conference with students using
Network TA, the CyberProf Web-based bulletin board system; and record
student grades in the CyberProf on-line gradebook. Students can review
lecture notes 24 hours a day; complete homework problems on the Web and
receive immediate intelligent feedback on their answers; use the Network
TA bulletin board system to post questions to their instructor, teaching
assistants, and peers; and review their grades in the class at any time.
version has added features such as a word processor style editor, a web
based spreadsheet (for custom gradekeeping and added course material
functionality), the ability to mix JAVA, HTML, and PERL in single pages, a
new survey mechanism, and more.
is an acronym that stands for server-side educational records facilitator.
Serf is a Web-based distance education environment developed at the
University of Delaware. Serf provides an environment for delivering
courses anywhere in the world, using the World Wide Web as a distance
education medium. Serf makes it possible to create and deliver courses in
a self-paced multimedia learning environment that enables students to
navigate a syllabus, access instructional resources, communicate, and
submit assignments over the Web in unique and powerful ways. Instructors
can easily access and grade the assignments via the Serf gradebook. At any
time, students can click a button to see a report of their progress in a
course, along with comments from ther instructor and a prediction of their
Serf is a
symphony of relational databases. The databases keep track of users,
maintain states between interactions, deliver courses, and monitor student
progress. There are databases for calendars, syllabi, assignments, grades,
rosters, and styles. When a user logs on to Serf, each database plays its
role toward creating the appropriate screen for the moment.
Mallard is a World Wide Web based interactive learning environment
suitable for virtually any subject. Mallard provides a secure environment,
within which one can organize online course material and test students via
interactive quizzes with instantaneous problem correction and grading.
Student responses to these online quizzes are evaluated by intelligent
grading programs that not only assess the correctness of a response, but
also attempt to determine why an answer is incorrect. The student gets
immediate feedback and can access online assistance if desired. To ensure
the integrity of the grading process, server/client communication is
encrypted using the standard https protocol.