The My Classrooms feature of our Villanova University home page puts whatever information you wish under the nose of each student in each of your classes without them having to remember any special web address. It is currently heavily used by faculty in C&F and Engineering.
My Classrooms is supported by the Villanova University Center for Instructional Technologies on their Faculty Resources page: help for My Classrooms.
On the right top of the Villanova home page is a "login" icon where faculty and students can log into the My Classrooms feature and Webmail simultaneously, while adapting the homepage to their own identity (optional links which can be edited from the "edit" link in the "personal links" section; by default your own standard web page is linked, but it is helpful to add your own department as a link), using the standard Villanova username and password. Once in, a list of the classes a faculty member teaches (the classes students are taking) appears at the bottom of the Villanova home page.
[If you wish to give consent to allow your students in that particular class to see your photo on a My Classrooms home page, you must click on the "Edit your account" link at the top right hand corner of the VU home page and then click on the photo consent "No" to switch it to "Yes" if it is not already so, and then "save changes".]
As a faculty member, entering one of your class pages, you are confronted with your optional photo (see above) with your name and your email link under it, and above them two standard links at the very top of the page (class discussion group where anyone in the class can post messages and the class email distribution list) and any optional links you enter by editing the options on this page. Now your instructor name under the instructor photo location (whether showing or not) at the top of the My Classroom page is linked to your official Villanova home page. If you use another, you will have to set a link on that official page to link to it. The one essential optional link "Class Home Page" that you should add is to the course home page that you create in a separate folder under your homepage with MS Frontpage Explorer. [As a Math department member, I like to keep all my course folders "matxxxx" in a "courses" folder of my top level web space.] Alternatively you can put your own home page link here if you have your course links directly on your home page, although this would now be redundant.. You also have a convenient photo roster with student email links to contact them individually.
At the top right corner of the window for a particular classroom inside your browser window, you will see a little "edit" icon. Clicking on it enables you to add or change or "trash" any optional links. You need to put in the link name (like "Course Home Page") and its web address (http://www.homepage.villanova.edu/firstname.lastname/courses/matxxxx/matxxxx.htm). This is enough to direct your students to your course homepage or to your own home page if you do not have a course specific home page. [Note that if you name your course home page "index.html" then you can shorten its address by leaving off the filename after the final slash. This is actually preferred. When you create a new page in an empty folder with Front Page, this is the default name.]
Your course home page should be links to the important information on other pages so that it is very short and concise, keeping to essentials with details left for other pages below it. My example is basically a bullet list. It is up to you what things you wish to put there or how you present them,
Don't forget to put links back to your course home page on the pages it refers to, and on your course home page back to your own home page, since if someone enters these directly, they cannot use the back button to get back to where you normally may enter.
Here is an example: matxxxx.htm coming from a past mat1500 course homepage. You may want to do something completely different and equally valid. So far we have these examples in the math department:
You can make a single list in Netscape Messenger for multiple sections of the same course by simply copying the email addresses of each class and pasting into a new list in your Address Book feature. So far few people seem to be using the discussion groups, which are also easily accessed from My Classrooms. One could collect there important e-mails that are sent out to the class, since they tend to get buried in e-mail after a while.
I am willing to help anyone in the department with getting started with their home pages or course home pages.
13-may-2003 : bob jantzen