2008 Teaching and Learning Symposium

2:30-4:30 p.m., May 6, 2008
HUB Ballroom

Session Description



CommonView: Helping meet students' needs for course Web sites

Jason Civjan, Miles Crawford, Janice Fournier, Jim Laney, Ammy Jiranida Phuwanartnurak, Bill Schaefer, William Washington - Catalyst, Learning & Scholarly Technologies

The Catalyst team is making it easier to manage and access online teaching tools and resources. With CommonView, released in March 2008, instructors can create a course workspace providing students with online access to files, images, announcements, links, and Catalyst Web Tools for quizzes, discussion boards, and file-sharing spaces.

CommonView was developed as a result of a user-centered design process that began in January 2007. To understand UW faculty and students’ needs for managing and accessing course resources, we conducted focus groups and individual interviews with students from UW-Seattle and faculty from all three UW campuses. Our inquiry focused on the use of the Catalyst Tools as well as commercial courseware (e.g., Blackboard, Moodle). We identified the fundamental goals of faculty and students, and we used this understanding to determine and prioritize functionality for a "course workspace."

The single, most expressed need was to have all course resources in one place that was easy-to-access--"one-stop shopping." The design and development of CommonView, therefore, was guided by the mantra, "Everything in one place, for you, for them." Additionally, both instructors and students expressed a need for finding files and Catalyst Tools in the context of a schedule or syllabus and by type such as "files," or "quizzes." Users also wanted a central place for announcements.

To address these needs, CommonView allows owners (instructors) to:

  • have content appear on multiple views (views are like pages of a Web site);
  • add files and Catalyst Tools which by default appear on automatically-created views;
  • create resources and have them hidden until later display;
  • make the course workspace available to an automatically-updated class list;
  • post announcements; and
  • designate collaborators to help with the class




Index of Symposium Presenters