For a normal (non-distance-learning) course My Classrooms offers a natural easily accessible web location to direct students automatically to a publicly viewable course website, a password protected class photo roster with e-mail links and class e-mail distribution lists, and optional webCT communication tools. One has the option to ignore webCT or use some of its three basic features: Course Content, Communication Tools, "Course Bureaucracy" (Evaluation Tools).
While I believe in open access to academic web materials (remember the MIT pledge to OpenCourseWare made a few years ago), clearly courses that use copyright protected supplemental materials need password protection for them in the on-line setting, which WebCT offers, as well as more developed communication tools (closed e-mailboxes with easy selection of multiple student recipients, threaded discussion boards, chat rooms) that might be preferred to separate the course email from your own overcrowded academic e-mailbox as well as put discussions in a threaded bulletin board environment where it belongs. [For example, I try to encourage my students to include the course name/number in the subject line of all email to me to help me organize my e-mail better, but compliance is never as high as I would like.]
This discussion will be limited to novice level use of WebCT Course Content for all or part of your on-line course materials and of optional WebCT Communication Tools. The "course bureaucracy" component is much more involved and more appropriate for distance learning rather than supplementing non-distance-learning courses.
One has two ways of managing the files which comprise the course content:
There is also a UNIT help page on WebCT. [GONE]
Fall 2005 UPDATE:
Now the situation is very different. Direct access by FrontPage is no longer available.
One must assign shortcuts in My Networks following the syntax:
One can then drag and drop files onto this folder (from a temporary folder if
desired) and one can edit directly web pages in this folder with FrontPage.
One can give direct links to files in these folders which will prompt for username/password info when a browser attempts access. It is not clear if students get such access to view these files...
I recommend keeping locked down in WebCT ONLY copyrighted materials or those which for whatever reason the author does not want the outside world to see. One can have the entire contents available on-line through faculty member web space, and only use the WebCT course bureaucracy tools.
Workshop Tech Day 2003