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  1. #1
    Prolific Blogger silver trophy Technosailor's Avatar
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    Online Education

    I am a fairly advanced intermediate web designer. I can figure out just about anything and my company has been challenged in the past to produce results in completely new areas of web design. I am looking for some ideas as to how I might implement an online education program for a small accreddited college. I have not landed the contract yet, but have put in a bid and not quite sure how I'd go about implementing something of that magnitude. What kind of security issues will I have to address? What kind of information am I going to have to link...I'm sure via database? Are there software applications that are better for this particular kind of project over another. I feel as if I'm in a very familiar place of getting in over my head, and it's good...I enjoy it. But I may have to find a solution. Any ideas?

    Sketch
    Aaron Brazell
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  2. #2
    SitePoint Wizard Aes's Avatar
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    Exactly what kind of education are we talking about exactly? Is this for teaching and instructing web based languages like HTML (not really a language, but...), CSS, PHP, ASP, etc. or is this just like a class on-line? Tutorials (if you're doing something like the former approach) always do the trick if they're implemented the correct way. As for site databasing -- that's the way to go -- but without delving too much into that area, just using MySQL and some flavor of a server-side language (e.g. PHP) would allow you to implement the page very easily, fast, and efficiently. For the tutorials (if you decide to take that route) just make them easy to understand, with many examples. But tie everything back together. I've seen many tutorials (should I say wanna'be tutorials?) that show coding and viola! -- it's done. Should you decide on this approach [tutorials], as long as you tie them into the college curriculum (?) and make sure they understand it and can actually learn from it, it should work wonders. So I would go with tutorials and such if that's what you're trying to teach. The important thing is to make it at least semi-interactive, fun (I know this sounds kind of cheesy), and very understandible and comprehensible. Sorry if this only addresses an overview or if it doesn't fit what you want at all.
    Good luck!
    Colin Anderson
    Ambition is a poor excuse for those without
    sense enough to be lazy.

  3. #3
    Prolific Blogger silver trophy Technosailor's Avatar
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    First of all, great signature line. :-) LOVE IT! Secondly, I'm not going to go into alot of specifics, as there's obvious privacy violations for a potential client. :-) But to be a bit more specific, the courses are not going to be tech related, and I'm not sure they are going to be even CBT style (at-your-own-pace kind of courses.) I guess the best thing I can relate them to is if you go to your local Community College website and look in their online education course section. Students will be required to take certain tests and quizzez and may be required to submit hard-copy or electronic papers (not via internet), so it can be a sort of distance learning thing. I'm sure the college will start with a select few courses as a pilot program to see how it works and as I have not yet landed the contract, alot of the areas are grey area to me too. Hopefully, I will know within a few weeks.
    Aaron Brazell
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  4. #4
    SitePoint Wizard Aes's Avatar
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    Thanks a lot for the compliment! =)
    I like your site too by the way -- it's nice.
    You can still do the tutorial style site (only not tutorials...), everyone can distance learn as long as it's comprehensible. You could easily set up online tests and quizzes (those are on-line, or can be, right? -- just not the papers) for testing purposes ... or at least say, after an article (or chapter? -- whatever you'd like to call it) have a little quiz over it (for anti-cheating purposes, a JavaScript or PHP-sessioned code on there to make sure they don't leave the page or something -- even in other browser windows using cookies [I'm just brainstorming ideas here -- don't necissarily take them seriously]). But just something similar to that would probably work great.
    Colin Anderson
    Ambition is a poor excuse for those without
    sense enough to be lazy.

  5. #5
    Prolific Blogger silver trophy Technosailor's Avatar
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    Online Education

    Good, good, good. Taking mental notes right now....I'm going to have to figure out how to do all this, but I'm sure it's not too hard....

    Thanks for the compliment on the site.

    Sketch
    Aaron Brazell
    Technosailor



  6. #6
    Back in Action Winged Spider's Avatar
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    I just did a online learning site for the college I go too.
    I did in on HTML and hope that it will be successful.

    I don't have it online someplace to view but feel free to ask me any questions about what I did for it.

    I didn't use any SS scripting or database work.

    Our strategy was: If your not taking the class why would you even waste time on the page. And for grades every assignment was done online by the person and the URL of the project was sent to the teacher. To do tests and quizez we linked to another site that provides that service.

    I hope that helps someway.


  7. #7
    Prolific Blogger silver trophy Technosailor's Avatar
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    Online Ed

    Hi Spider,

    Sounds good, but if there was any kind of interactivity between students and teachers, it would have to be secure right? And if proprietary (read: copywritten) class material was distributed online, it would have to be secure for view only by the authorized registered student, correct? Were your courses distributed real-time or at-your-own-pace? Did it involve Flash? Streaming media? What other kids of interactivity were included? Did you develop the SYSTEM or the courses? In other words, is it easy to add new course material, or do you have to start from square one every time a new course is added? Thanks for your contribution. It's much appreciated.

    Sketch
    Aaron Brazell
    Technosailor



  8. #8
    SitePoint Wizard Aes's Avatar
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    You could make it secure relatively easy (have the students login if they're taking the class with some relatively small database/server-side programming work with sessions or cookies). That way it would be very secure for your purposes. Besides all of us over here at the forums ready to help, check out http://www.devshed.com/Server_Side/ for some great tutorials that will get you going -- even if you all ready know a little -- or if you know nothing -- it'll help a lot. SitePoint probably has some great tutorials as well -- but I haven't looked yet. Let us know!
    Colin Anderson
    Ambition is a poor excuse for those without
    sense enough to be lazy.

  9. #9
    Serial Publisher silver trophy aspen's Avatar
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    I've taken quite a few online classes, and done alot of research into online programs.

    You definitely need to password protect the information, it should be a secure application.

    The course material can be presenting just like a teacher would use overheads or slides. Thats no big deal.

    For testing, if these classes are for credit you will want to make sure there is integrity in the testing procedure. To do this you can do a few things.

    For timed tests you can write javascript to time it, also remember to write a javascript that makes sure the user has javascript turned on (in other words make the entire test out of js, so if they turn it off, no test)

    For other tests you can do 2 things.

    1. Design them like you would an open book or take home exam and just make it a series of forms where you type in or select your answer.

    2. Send it out via mail and have it proctored by the local librarian. Many schools do this for their final exams.
    Chris Beasley - I publish content and ecommerce sites.
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