This section of the COPLACDigital Handbook covers the basics of course/project websites and videoconferencing.
All COPLACDigital course sites and their associated project and student sites will be hosted and paid for by COPLAC. WordPress is COPLACDigital’s platform of choice—as such, it is the only platform for which the COPLACDigital Principal Investigators and Program Associate can provide support. If faculty want to use a different platform, the alternative to WordPress must be approved by the faculty members’ instructional technologists and the Principal Investigators. If the alternative platform cannot be supported by the faculty members’ instructional technologists, it will not be approved for use.
The COPLACDigital Program Associate will create the subdomains and subdirectories for each course and its associated sites, as well as installing WordPress on those sites, before the semester begins. The Program Associate is available for technical support, but if they need help with WordPress, faculty should reach out to their institutional instructional technologists first.
- Overarching Project Site: This site is built by the instructors and should be a portal into the project sites created by each team of students enrolled in the course. It should contextualize the project in relation to the course and the COPLACDigital initiative.
- Example: centuryamerica.org
- Campus Project Sites: Each campus with students participating in a particular COPLACDigital course will have a campus project site. A campus project site is built by the students from that particular school enrolled in that particular COPLACDigital course. The focus of these campus project sites, though, will vary based on locality and available resources.
- Course Site: This site is built by the instructors and serves as a procedural space for the course—it can/should contain the course syllabus, links to readings and other relevant resources, and it will syndicate each student’s blog posts.
- Example: course.centuryamerica.org
- Student Sites/Blogs: These sites are given individually to each student and function as a procedural space where students can post about readings, project updates, and other thoughts related to the course. Student sites also function as a good experimental space where students can test their knowledge of WordPress and site building before they build their project sites.
Local Institution Responsibilities
Instructors: Faculty must notify the Program Associate of their desired URL slug for their course/project at least three months before their courses begin. It is the responsibility of the COPLACDigital faculty members to develop the website for their courses and the overarching project website associated with their courses. These sites will be made available to the instructors prior to the semester beginning, provided the Program Associate has received all pertinent information.
- It is also the instructors’ responsibility to assist their students with technical problems to the best of their abilities.
Instructional Technologists: Instructional technologists are responsible for assisting their faculty members with any technical issues that may arise in using WordPress and site building. [Given the grant’s goal of building Digital Liberal Arts capacity among COPLAC faculty, it is generally the expectation that technologists will help faculty, but will not build the sites for them.]
- It is also the technologists’ responsibility to provide technical support for students in a COPLACDigital class taught by the technologist’s institutional faculty, whether or not these students attend the technologist’s institution. COPLACDigital courses are open to students on all 30 COPLAC member campuses, and it is likely that students from COPLAC schools not involved in this Mellon grant will take COPLACDigital courses.
- It would also be helpful for technologists to assist students at their school who are in COPLACDigital classes NOT taught by a faculty member from their institution.
- Instructional technologists who are members of a union that prevents them from assisting students with technology problems should make sure to communicate this stipulation clearly to faculty members. COPLACDigital students in those cases should be referred to the instructor of the course for which they need assistance.
- Finally, each institution’s approach to the role of IT help on campus differs, so don’t hesitate to contact Jeff and Ellen for help in identifying those resources for other campuses.
Students: Students taking COPLACDigital courses are responsible for building out their blogs/sites for the course they are taking. Additionally, students are responsible for creating and developing the campus/local project site for their COPLACDigital course.
- We strongly encourage faculty to facilitate the sharing of technical knowledge and experience among their students and to encourage students to seek out their more experienced classmates when they have technical problems.
- If student sites do not meet with the project’s standards, we reserve the right to remove the project from the COPLACDigital website.