Executive Overview

ClassWeb lets instructors easily create and control a class website without learning HTML, FTP or getting a UNIX account.*  Instructors just need a standard web browser and a username and password to administer their class sites.  Instructors teaching in your building, across campus, or even overseas can all get to their sites, change them, and update materials the same way. 

The main advantage of ClassWeb is that it offers an easy, low or no training route for faculty to administer a website.  And because ClassWeb is open source, administrators and staff programmers have extraordinary control.   Once you install and customize ClassWeb for your environment, you can change its component programs and "look" as much or as little as you want.  For us, this has meant that our History Dept ClassWeb pages look very different than the rest of our depts, even though they're all using ClassWeb and the administration tools are the same.

Our faculty talk directly with our programmers about improvements, instead of waiting and hoping for upgrades from some company that may or may not value their input. 

ClassWeb itself is a large suite of files and scripts that you must download and install on your server.  To make use of the ClassWeb download, you will have to create your own database and alter our templates to fit your needs.    ClassWeb is freely distributed under the GNU Public License.

Think of this open source distribution as a "full-disclosure" of what we did, mistakes and all.  ClassWeb was designed to fit our needs and the particular data sources available here at UCLA.  Hopefully your programmers will find at least some of ClassWeb useful.

Because of UCLA's Instructional Enhancement Initiative, we have used ClassWeb since Fall Quarter 1997, for over 300 classes per quarter.  Most of the improvements have been a direct result of faculty suggestions or requests.  You have the freedom to selectively remove these and add features of your own that fit your needs. I hope you have as much fun with it as we have.

Mike Franks
Social Sciences Computing, UCLA
franks@ssc.ucla.edu

*Note: Although we run ClassWeb in a UNIX environment, the basic components (Apache, MySQL, PHP and Perl) all run on Microsoft NT as well.