July 20, 2005
In this installment Kevin talks about some of the common themes developing at the WebCT conference about the new WebCT 6 and Vista 4.
I'm using Denise's laptop with it's wireless connection between sessions to update this blog entry.
Here's a quick summary of some of the themes developing at the conference.
- WebCT Campus Edition 6 and Vista 4 are really the same product. They share the same code base and database structure. The difference is that WebCT 6 has been modularized. If you purchase all the modules, you end up with Vista (and paying a lot more money in the process.)
- The base WebCT 6 system contains the standard course development, presentation, and assessment as WebCT 4. It also includes full support for the IMS API for system integration, management of class lists, reporting of grades, etc. So we don't need anything more to integrate with Banner, LDIS, SSAM, etc. One interesting note, IMS dictates that there are many mandatory fields that MUST be stored by ALL IMS compliant products. So even if WebCT doesnt actually use the information, it does store it and report it back. Useful to know when investigating other IMS-based systems like SAKAI.
- The "Community" module allows us to distribute WebCT administration to departments. Normally Vista is designed to be hierarchical, institution, division, department, course, section. In CE 6, we only get one "division", and "department" which limits us to only allowing administrative functions for the entire system, or for the owners of "courses" and the sections beneath them. When we add this module, we can add additional adminstrative levels. For example, we could have an "Division" for STU courses, and then allow them to manage their own class lists instead of integrating with Banner.
- The "Learning Objects" module allows us to create course learning objects that can be shared at all the administrative levels. So, you could build something that is only shared between all sections of a course. Or you could share only in a department, or across the whole institution. Courses can use these objects. However, if the master object changes, it also changes within all the courses that use it.
- The "Powerlinks" kit allows us to extend the WebCT toolset by adding our own tools that look and operate like normal WebCT tools (see the next presentation for more info in the open source version of this, but the powersight kit adds some WebCT-specific capabilities as well).
- The "Powersight" kit adds some additional database tables and reporting capabilities to get a lot of detail of interest to groups like Institutional Analysis.
Much of the conference is explaining how these different modules work together. Vista 4 has them all built in. WebCT 6 has these as optional modules.
Posted by kvl014 at July 20, 2005 10:47 AM