Summary:  The Collaborative Educational Website (CLEW) is a Java web application intended to support accurate modeling of a collegiate department.  The CLEW System is designed to solve the traditional collegiate department website’s two main problems.  First, it provides interactive services which will allow users to add various kinds of information to the website.  Secondly, the CLEW System addresses the notification problem by providing tailored email notifications of changes to the website.

The purpose of a collegiate department website is to provide prospective students, current students, faculty, staff, and other academic and industry professionals with information concerning the department.  The information presented on the website should give the user an accurate model of the department, even as it changes overtime.  Some of these changes include: adding new faculty members, new students, new courses, etc.  The more accurately the website models the department, the more aware the website’s users will be of the department.

Traditional collegiate department websites have two primary problems in creating an accurate model of their department.  First, only a few people, usually the department webmasters, can add information to the website.  Second, it is difficult to enable website users to be informed of changes to the website that might be of interest to them.  These two problems decrease the accuracy of the model and hamper its effectiveness in alerting users of changes to the website.  As a result, user awareness of the department is also decreased.

In this research, I replaced the existing Information and Computer Science Department website with the CLEW System in the Spring 2003 Semester.  I evaluated the CLEW System to measure its effectiveness as a model of the department using a pre and post release questionnaire.  I also evaluated usage data of the CLEW System to assess the functionality provided by CLEW.

The results of the evaluations provide evidence that the CLEW System provides a better model than the traditional collegiate department website.

Principal researcher(s): Aaron Kagawa

Status: Active development 2003 – 2004.