Analysis of WebCT 3.0

Harun Altay, haltay@syr.edu

January 17, 2001

 

WebCT is a tool that facilitates the creation of World Wide Web-based educational environments. It does this in three ways:

1. It provides an interface allowing the design of the presentation of the course (color schemes, layout, etc.)
2. It provides a set of educational tools to facilitate learning, communication and collaboration.
3. It provides a set of administrative tools to assist the instructor in the process of management and continuous improvement of the course.

 

URL to find out about it: WebCT 3.0 products can be found at http://www.webct.com.

 

 

TOOLS

 

††††††† Content Tools

††††††† Calendar††††††† ††††††† View entries in a shared calendar

††††† CD-ROM††† ††††††† Access CD-ROM content directly from your computer

††††††† Compile††††††† Summarize content from course material

††††††† Content Module††††††† View course material

††††††† Course Map††††††† Get a course overview

††††††† Glossary††††††† ††††††† Search for definitions of words and phrases

††††††† Image Database††††††† View images

††††††† Index††††† ††††††† Search for course topics and keywords

††††††† MyWebCT††††††† Access all your WebCT 3.0 courses from one place

††††††† Syllabus††††† ††††††† View a course outline

 

††††††† Communication Tools

††††††† Chat†††††† ††††††† Communicate with your instructor and classmates real-time

††††††† Discussions††††††† Post and reply to topics

††††† Mail††††††† ††††††† Email your instructor and classmates

††††††† Whiteboard††††††† Share an online drawing palette

 

††††††† Evaluation Tools

††††††† Assignments††††††† View and submit assignments

††††† My Grades††††††† View quiz and assignment results

††††† Quiz††††††† ††††††† Complete and submit quizzes

††††† Self Test††††††† ††††††† Test your knowledge without being graded

 

Study Tools

††††††††††††††† Bookmarks††††††††††††††† ††††††††††††††† Bookmark frequently used course pages

††††††††††††††† My Progress††††††††††††††† ††††††††††††††† Track course pages you visited

††††††††††††††† References††††††††††††††† ††††††††††††††† View a list of relevant text books, articles, URLs

††††††††††††††† Search††††††††††††††† ††††††††††††††† ††††††††††††††† Search for course words and phrases

††††††††††††††† Student Tips††††††††††††††† ††††††††††††††† Receive a "tip of the day"

††††††††††††††† Student Homepages††††††††††††††† Create your personal web site within the course

††††††††††††††† Student Presentations††††††††††††††† Present a project to your class

††††††††††††††† Take Notes††††††††††††††† ††††††††††††††† Make study notes by annotating course material

 

 

Cost and Licencing

 

These price list is an old price list, the company does not publish their prices today.

 

The new prices can be learned through this site : http://about.webct.com/pricing

 

Pricing for Educational institutions

Student Accounts

Annual License ($)

Faculty Support ($)

1-50

335

135

51-100

670

335

101-400

1.335

800

401-800

1.670

1.335

801-1600

2.000

2.000

Unlimited

4.000

Custom Quote

 

One System Administrator Support / Annual : $500

 

Corporate Pricing, annual, unlimited : $12.000

 

 

Training prices are being publish on the following address, I did not included them for not having a very long report.

 

http://about.webct.com/pricing/train_price.html

 

 

Requirements/Limitations

 

Supported Platforms

 

Supported Web Server : Apache (A free web server, which is good)

 

 

NOT : Although Windows NT is also included in the list officially, in real life, NT suffers a lot in performance. For this reason, Syracuse University, IST Department changed its platform from NT, to Linux. This made a big difference.

 

As an example (the case of Syracuse University) :

 

Student and course load : 600 students, 60 courses per semester (Even, the following configuration can afford the double of that load)

Configuration : A server with 2 P3 processor at 800 MHz. 1.5 GB RAM, 30 GB Disk/RAID 5

 

 

 

Technical Support

 

Training : http://about.webct.com/pricing/train_price.html

 

Hosting, if you want : http://about.webct.com/pricing/host.html

 

There is 24 hour support for customers, with additional price.

 

Experience in Using It

 

I installed both for Syracuse University (with the administrator of this system) on Linux and in my home on Windows NT. A Unix (that is Linux) Administrator can easily install this software. It is also easy to install on NT.

 

To develop the content for any course, also, does not need sophisticated knowledge. One can learn it very easily. There is a lot of existing material to act as a guide.

 

As a consequence of the ease of use and learning, the system forces you into some predefined pattern. You donít have so much freedom. Thus experienced users will not necessarily like WebCT. It is not consistent with natural Web model - use Flash or even PowerPoint or Adobe to produce quite nice looking pages

 

References

www.webct.com