Help:Hosting courses

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Revision as of 08:48, 7 September 2006 by Reshma P. Shetty (Talk | contribs)
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This is a placeholder page for instructions and suggestions for hosting a course on OpenWetWare.

Contents

FAQ

Why should I host a course on OpenWetWare?

There are several motivations for hosting a course on OpenWetWare ...

  1. Enhance student participation in the course. Students have the ability to edit any page on OpenWetWare. So by placing course materials here, you are giving them the ability to revise (and improve) course content.
  2. Promote reuse of course materials. All content on OpenWetWare is dual-licensed under the Creative Commons Atrribution ShareAlike and GFDL copyright licenses. Thus, you are making your course materials freely available for others to reuse. Moreover, the wiki format allows people to more easily copy and modify your materials (as compared to static websites and PDF files) so you are also making it easier for others to build upon your work.
  3. Facilitate collaborative course development. Many courses are developed jointly among multiple faculty and teaching assistants. Placing the materials on OpenWetWare makes it easy to work together on developing course materials (as compared to emailing word documents back and forth).

Why shouldn't I host a course on OpenWetWare?

A common concern among many OpenWetWare users is that someone may accidentally or intentionally modify a page. However, all changes and updates are tracked and can be easily reverted. Nevertheless, course instructors do need to monitor their course site closely to ensure that errors are not introduced and propagated around the class.

Note that the primary reason to put a course on OpenWetWare is to enable students to edit course materials and the course site. If you're not interested in having students edit the course pages, then it might not be wise to post your materials to OpenWetWare. We give anyone in biology and biological engineering an OpenWetWare account (who requests one).

Am I surrendering copyright to my course materials?

No, you retain copyright to all materials you upload or write on OpenWetWare. You can later republish and relicense them in any way you like. However, you can never retract the Creative Commons Atrribution ShareAlike and GFDL licenses for the versions you placed here.

How do I start?

Get an account

You'll need a user account on OWW to edit pages. Register for an account here.

Learn the basics of wiki editing

If you've never used a wiki before, it is helpful to learn some basics of wiki editing via the OpenWetWare introductory tutorial.

Once you're comfortable with the basics, continue with these directions.

Set up your course template

Once you've registered for an OWW account, start by making your course banner. Your course banner will be used on every course page to help identify it as belonging to your course and to enable students to navigate through the course wiki pages.

  1. First, go to the OWW.101 template page (open this in a new browser window if you want to keep reading this text).
  2. Click Image:EditButton.jpg and copy all the wiki markup on that page.
  3. In the search box on the lefthand side navigation bar, type Template:<Your course number> (be sure and replace <Your course number> with your course's number like 20.109 or MCB100.
  4. You should see a page come up with a message saying "There is no page titled "Template:<Your course number>". You can create this page." If you don't see this message then that means a page with that name already exists. You'll need to choose a different course name.

  5. Click on the create this page link.
  6. Paste the code from the OWW.101 template onto this page.
  7. Replace every instance of OWW.101 with your course number.
  8. Finally, check your work by clicking the Image:ShowPreviewButton.jpg button.
  9. Save the changes by clicking Image:SavePageButton.jpg ... and you're off.

Next you'll probably want to replace the default course image with your own.

  1. Click on upload file link on the left side of the screen (under toolbox).
  2. Follow the directions from there to upload the file. In general it is best if your course image is wider than it is tall and if it is in PNG format.
  3. After the picture has been uploaded, you will be taken to the Image page for your course image.
  4. Copy the page title (i.e. Image:<What you named your picture>.png).
  5. Return to your course template. You can do this quickly by typing Template:<Your course number> in the search box on the left.
  6. Click Image:EditButton.jpg and replace Image:OWW101logo.png with Image:<What you named your picture>.png
  7. Check your work by clicking the Image:ShowPreviewButton.jpg button.
  8. Save the changes by clicking Image:SavePageButton.jpg.

Set up your course homepage

  1. First, go to the OWW.101 course homepage (again, open this in a new browser window if you want to keep reading this text).
  2. Click Image:EditButton.jpg and copy all the wiki markup on that page.
  3. In the search box on the lefthand side navigation bar, type <Your course number> (be sure and replace <Your course number> with your course's number like 20.109 or MCB100.
  4. You should see a page come up with a message saying "There is no page titled "<Your course number>". You can create this page." If you don't see this message then that means a page with that name already exists. You'll need to choose a different course name (and rename your course template).
  5. Click on the create this page link.
  6. Paste the code from the OWW.101 course homepage onto this page.
  7. Replace every instance of {{Template:OWW.101}} with {{Template:<Your course number>}}. This line is responsible for including the course banner on the page.
  8. Check your work by clicking the Image:ShowPreviewButton.jpg button.
  9. Save the changes by clicking Image:SavePageButton.jpg.

Next you can customize the rest of the content on your course's homepage.

  1. Click Image:EditButton.jpg on your course's homepage.
  2. Between the line that starts <div ...> and the line </div>, feel free to put any information you want ... like a course description, an announcements section or anything else that might be helpful there.

Set up your people page

Every new wiki page that you create for your course should be named <Your course number>:Name of the page.

So much in the same way you created your course homepage, you can copy the OWW.101 sample course's people page (OWW.101:People) to a new page titled <Your course number>:People to list all the folks involved in the course.

Set up your course schedule

Again, create a page as before titled <Your course number>:Schedule and copy the OWW.101 sample schedule page (OWW.101:Schedule) to this new page.

Within the page's code, you'll see comments of the form <!--This is a comment which is only seen when editing the wiki page and not while viewing it.-->. These are comments which do not show up on the actual wiki page but only on the edit version. These comments explain how to edit the schedule table (like adding and deleting rows and columns).

Make wiki help pages for your students

To help familiarize students with OpenWetWare, we've created a set of generic help pages for students. Feel free to use these for your own course. You can of course cutomize them for your own course's needs. See OWW.101:Help for various generic help pages for students. Again, be sure and create your own course's help page and copy material from OWW.101.

Other common tasks

How do I upload my lecture slides?

PDFs, word docs, powerpoint files or keynote files can all be uploaded to OpenWetWare.

  1. Click on upload file link on the left side of the screen (under toolbox).
  2. Follow the directions from there to upload the file.
  3. OpenWetWare doesn't explicitly support PDF, powerpoint or keynote filetypes. Therefore these files are treated as images and an image page is generated upon upload. To include a link directly to the PDF from your course page, you'll have to click on the filename from the image page and copy the corresponding URL from your browser.

For instance, here is a link to the image page of a PDF that has been uploaded to OpenWetWare: Image:Msb4100025.pdf

Here is a link to the corresponding PDF file itself: http://openwetware.org/images/e/ef/Msb4100025.pdf

How can I check for the changes to my course wiki?

If you've named all your pages as explained above (i.e. in the form <Your course number>:Page name like OWW.101:People and OWW.101:Schedule, then it is quite easy to check the recent changes to your course website. Just go to Special:Recentchanges/OWW.101 (except replace the OWW.101 with your course's number).

Oh no ... someone made an incorrect edit on one of my course pages. How do I undo it?

Occasionally, edits to pages in OpenWetWare are made which are incorrect or should not have been done. Fortunately, undoing edits is simple in a wiki. Here are some simple instructions on how to undo edits (also called reverting to a previous version of the page).

  1. Go to the page whose edit you would like to undo.
  2. Click on the Image:Historytab.png tab at the top of the page.
  3. You'll now be viewing the revision history of the page.
  4. Click the circle next to the version of the page that you wish to revert back to.
  5. Click the Image:Compareselectedversionsbutton.png button.
  6. You will see the difference between the current version and the selected older version.
  7. Click the Image:Rollbacklink.png link on the current version column to rollback to the older version.

How do I format a picture?

Wikipedia has various examples for formatting pictures.

How do I edit a table?

Again, Wikipedia has a pretty thorough page on editing tables.

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