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Center for Distributed Learning

CSU's Center for Distributed Learning (CDL), a department of the CSU’s Chancellor’s Office, is located at Sonoma State University. Members of the CDL collaborate with educational faculty and students at the high school and college level to provide technology based educational enrichment resources for higher education. The team at CDL, comprised of members from the education and technology fields, aims to support best practices in teaching by offering a wide range of educational tools and resources through the Internet, reaching across the time and location constraints of traditional classroom instruction.

Search for a Solution

Adept in web-related technology, the team at CDL was searching for a dynamic open source content management system that would support their custom applications, while allowing their designers free reign. They began researching open source content management systems in 2004, and implemented WebGUI 6.0. It was clear from the beginning that the team quickly became resourceful users of WebGUI, writing their own macros and building custom applications. A feature of WebGUI that made it stand out among its peers was its templating system. CDL members enjoy the fact that when a change is made on one portion of the site, that change is rendered throughout the entire site. In addition to writing their own macros, the team has also taken advantage of CSS and Snippets, and has customized their navigation to help faculty and students easily locate desired resources on their site.

In particular, the CDL team wanted a program that contained a survey module which could be customized to meet their needs. WebGUI contained this application, and the CDL team customized their own online quizzing module to build online practice tests for students. Once customized, the online quiz application became a critical tool to CDL’s website success. Other features in WebGUI that are frequently used on CDL’s website are discussion boards, data forms, and SQL Reports.

Great Results

The CDL team is currently an active member of the WebGUI community, with many members having attended the WebGUI User’s Conference. CDL has benefited from the technical sessions at the WUC, which have helped them stay abreast of the rapid development of WebGUI over recent years. In addition, networking and collaborating with fellow community members was an added bonus of attending the conference. The team also participates on Plain Black’s support forums.

CDL’s enthusiasm and resourcefulness with WebGUI recently paid off when they were recognized with a WOW Award from the Western Cooperative for Educational Telecommunications (WCET). According to the WCET website, “The WCET Outstanding Work (WOW) Award recognizes: Outstanding innovation, quality improvement, or other achievements in using educational technology tools or techniques to educate (or support educating) students.” It is clear that CDL’s use of WebGUI is enriching the educational community through their innovation in developing Internet resources to support the education process.

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At A Glance

Center for Distributed Learning

California State University
Chancellor's Office
Rohnert Park, CA


CDL needed a content management system that:

- Supports custom applications.

- Allows designers free reign.

- Contains a powerful survey application for online testing capabilities.

With WebGUI, the CDL was awarded the WCET WOW Award for, "Outstanding innovation, quality improvement, or other achievements in using educational technology tools or techniques to educate (or support educating) students".

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