Classroom websites & Online classrooms

Posted on Feb 21, 2013 by Kelly Kermode Latest activity: Oct 4, 2013

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I have been looking into rebuilding my class websites for better ease-of-use and increased interest from my students.

What tips/ tricks - or formats - have worked well for you when running an online classroom? Are some options easier to manage than others?

Do you build from scratch? Use a CMS or LMS? Customize a theme for WP? Host yourself?

Please share a link to your website if possible.

Thanks!

Comments (11)

Rita Jordan

Posted on Oct 4, 2013 3:36 PM - Permalink

Any of the suggestions below or something not suggested, have a password access feature?

Carol Pearsall

Posted on Aug 16, 2013 2:52 PM - Permalink

Hi Kelly!

I use Haiku LMS. It's out of pocket $15/month but worth it. Haiku is a closed system and has tons of features for student wikis, creating groups, tests, discussions, a dropbox for student work, and many other features. I looked at Edmodo, but don't like the Facebook-style interface. I like that I can have everything in one place and an import for ExamView question banks.

I'm also looking for a free alternative, but I don't want to give up the functionality. Great question. I'm hoping the answers will help me too!

H Kemal Ilter

Posted on Jul 18, 2013 3:40 AM - Permalink

Hello everyone,

My answer will be the MediaWiki to Kelly's question(s). My experience about course (or class) website has continued since 1998. I tried almost all CMS to manage my digital needs and at last I decided to use one of them which I feel comfortable with. I am continuing to use MediaWiki's wiki for last 5-6 years as my personal website and course website (eg. MAN609). I like to use it due to its advantages (IMAO) among other CMSs. Here some of them are (not sorted):

  • It is open.
  • All my students can edit portions of the website content at the same time. They can see whatever they write instantly.
  • I can customize its design easily.
  • I can change its content easily.
  • If one of my students can use Wikipedia, he/she can use my course website also.
  • Secure.
  • If I need some privacy for work groups I can change some options to get group-specific webpage(s).
  • It has the version tracking ability. Easy to track my students' actions on the website.

It has some disadvantages that I remembered:

  • Students need some knowledge about wiki syntax if they have no experience with Wikipedia. (Word to Wiki conversion tool is a solution that I don't like, but it works)
  • Need some experience about installing and doing setup.

My website is hosted by a hosting company but I am in charge about all its flow, content, technical details, etc. On the other hand, sometimes I need to share some documents (text, graphic, slide or spreadsheet) and I am using Google Drive to handle that kind of sharing. I can use Google's forms, spreadsheets, docs efficiently to share anything with my students. I can collect homeworks, do quizzes, get feedbacks, create social learning environment and more. So I strongly recommend MediaWiki - Google Drive integration, it works perfect for me.

I hope this integration will be good for you if you prefer to use it. If you need any help about these two you can find plenty of materials on MediaWiki website, Google, or any other related websites.

Best.

Tabitha Daniel

Posted on Jun 1, 2013 8:36 PM - Permalink

I throughly enjoyed using Edmodo this last year. Although, sometimes Edmodo didn't like the size of photoshop files. It is a nice enclosed system where students can't private message each other and very well organized. I am looking at an alternative to Edmodo for the next year called Schoology, which has most of the same features of Edmodo. It also has the use of albums which is one of the main attractions for me.

Matt Cauthron

Posted on Apr 28, 2013 4:34 PM - Permalink

Hi Kelly!

I know this may seem like a bundle of chaos and Mike Skocko will certainly remind me that I don't need another website, but each has their own value and application.

Muse for http://www.digitalartstechacademy.us

- simple to use and have available for mobile

Wix for http://www.dataskillsusa.org

- easy online editor, HTML 5 happy

Blogger for http://www.data-di.us

- easy online editor, quick setting for mobile app

Flavors.me http://flavors.me/imagemonki

- great 'life stream' to portal social media

Ning for http://digitalartsed.ning.com

- perfect for digital classroom management

Mike Skocko

Posted on Apr 17, 2013 5:03 PM - Permalink

Dang, dang, dang! Long comment filled with lots of links lost. (Due to user error. Stupid user!) Summary:

Judy is right; a website can provide a scorecard of sorts. When I switched to WordPress in Jan 2009, the scorecard became much easier to read. For me, blog-based teaching with weekly posts, daily updates, and video tutorials provides the ultimate in self-paced learning and crystal-clear reflections. Throw in a gamified curriculum delivery system and the promised land seems to draw nearer.

Our district hosts my site but if they didn't, I'd throw down the credit card to make it happen. It's that important to me.

Judy Durkin

Posted on Apr 14, 2013 1:07 AM - Permalink

I built my class website: http://www.learndurkin.com with Muse. I update it daily - sometimes twice a day. It is not only great for the students to link to lessons and materials, but it is also a great record of my year. I can go back and see what has worked and what hasn't. Updates are EASY with Muse.

I use Adobe Forms Central almost everyday and link to the forms in Muse. Together, the two work in perfect concert.

I am now developing a lesson on infographics where I will use the class website for the entire unit. Embedded activites using videos, forms central, and links to resources online. Every year my class website gets better (and bigger!). It keeps me organized.

Karen Henchy

Posted on Aug 20, 2013 2:56 PM - Permalink

Love your website! Do you have any tips for learning Adobe Muse for a real beginner?

Karen

Alex Macsuga

Posted on Apr 3, 2013 6:48 PM - Permalink

I will echo the praises of Edmodo! Also, they are continuously adding features to make it better all the time!

Julie Nau

Posted on Apr 3, 2013 5:38 PM - Permalink

I used to self-host a Joomla website for school, which was really nice and easy to use. I created student accounts for commenting, uploading assignments, etc. Then my district hired web developers to create a web interface for teachers which we are all required to use. The first year it was released was kind of rough but now it isn't too bad - they are slowly adding features that make it better each year.

WP is a good option. Definitely easy to use if you aren't familiar with Joomla.

Jody Chapel

Posted on Feb 25, 2013 2:33 AM - Permalink

I used to try to use all sorts of different websites, but none of them really worked--they just took too much maintenance on my part. Then I discovered Edmodo. It is like Facebook for education. Because I teach in a computer lab I have gone virtually paperless. I post assignments (and they turn in assignments which can be tracked), I can send students files, links, comments, etc. It's great check it out. Now I just use online websites to post student work in order to show students and get them to comment like a virtual critique. Good luck, Jody