Sometimes a coordinator finds it preferable or necessary to create a website for a program or course, so that students, guests and others can easily access it before, during or after the timetable. Common choices for creating the website include:
- GoogleSite: RMIT supported, low level of difficulty to use, doesn’t display on mobile well, not exportable.
- Blogger: RMIT supported, mid to low level of difficulty to use, works well on mobile, exportable, visual design a bit basic.
- WordPress: Not supported by RMIT, mid to low level of difficulty in use, works well on mobile, excellent visual design, exportable, popular platform.
A course website structure usually includes:
- a page with information about the program or course,
- a curriculum schedule,
- a page about the assignments for assessment,
- a page with contact or help details and
- a blog for announcements.
Once the course website has been set up, it is normal to want to connect it up with distribution and communications channels that most of the students are likely to be familiar with – peripherals like Facebook or Google+, or even email or RSS subscription options for the traditionally minded. Once connected, any announcements that are posted to the course website will automatically cross post to the connected Facebook and/or Google+ Page, where students will see and manage it in their habitual information streams. If you want to also pass that G+Page announcement into a G+Community, you’ll need to make sure to set up the Community site properly.
It is sometimes the case that a curriculum asks that a student use or develop their own web presence in the course – a professional online identity. This can be done almost exactly the same way as the course: the student keeps a central website/folio with peripheral services connected.
This set up gives teachers and students a significant amount of agency in the course and more personal responsibility for their presence and roles in it. It is sometimes referred to as online networked learning, or connectivism.
This video (and the diagram above) looks at the method of connecting WordPress to Google+, where a new post made to the WordPress site is automatically crossed onto a G+ Page, then manually relayed by that Page into a G+ Community for discussion.
This same structure would be used for connecting to a Facebook Page or Twitter account.
Image credit: Public domain image from Flash Alexander at http://www.publicdomainpictures.net/view-image.php?image=184074&picture=website-design-build-amp-service