Segue is an open source content management system designed for e-learning that combines the ease of use of course management systems with the flexibility of weblogs for creating various types of sites including course, news, journal, peer review and e-portfolio. When integrated into an institution's administrative systems, it can become a portal providing access to an individual user's course and personal websites.
This overview introduces many of the features of Segue. Within feature descriptions are step by step instructions for how to use features. Segue also has contextual help with its user interface.
New Sites and Users
By default, every Segue user is given a "slot" that they can use to create a personal site. In addition, Segue administrators can create any number of additional "slots" which can be assigned to any Segue user and used for any purpose. Screenshot I shows the user interface (UI) for accessing personal site, other sites, as well as "slot" from which a site can be created.
Access & Activation
Users can specify who can view a given site and when it is available for viewing. In addition they can chose hide their site at any time. Site owners can refine access to further through Segue's granular roles and permissions.
The current version of Segue supports a three level navigational structure. This means that a given site can be organized into sections each of which can contain any number of pages. Pages in turn can contain any number of independent timestamped content blocks (text, images, file downloads) or can be content themselves. The content blocks of any given page can be sorted by recent first or recent last, or can be sorted by user's who added or edited them, sorted alphabetically or sorted by some custom ordering (see: Features > Weblogs).
Segue sections and pages are mapped to a navigational layout to provide a clear and consistent context. All sections of a site can be displayed horizontally across the top and bottom of a site or vertically in the left sidebar. Segue pages can be displayed in either the left or right sidebar of the site and can be content themselves or RSS feeds or dynamic lists of site categories or participants or containers for other content blocks. If the site's sections are displayed in the left sidebar, then the pages of any given section appear directly below the section to which they belong.
In addition to hierarchical organization of content, Segue also allows creators (and editors) to organize content into multiple categories which can then be aggregated. This allows creators to make associations between content across hierarchically organized sections and pages.
All content in Segue can be moved or copied to different nodes in the site hierarchy or to nodes in any other site. Authorization to do so is determined by any given user's roles and permission.
Segue supports both publishing its own content via RSS (really simple syndication) as well as reading RSS feeds from itself and other sites.
Segue allows creators to put any given content block into multiple categories via a user interface that is modelled on del.icio.us.
Any page of any site in Segue can be set up to function as a weblog. A given Segue site can have dozens of separate weblogs since a Segue page can consist of any number of independent, timestamped content blocks (text, images, file downloads), each of which can be made the subject of a discussion or assessment. These content blocks can be sorted by recent first or recent last, or can be sorted by user's who added or edited them, sorted alphabetically or sorted by some custom ordering. As well these content blocks can be copied or moved to any other location in the site or any other site a user has permission to add to.
Segue supports RSS 2.0 with enclosures. Podcasts can be created simply by uploading media files into File for Download content blocks. Whatever text is attached to the content block becomes the RSS item description.
When Segue integrated into an institution's administrative systems, it can become a portal providing access to an individual user's course and personal websites.
Customization and Collaboration
Segue can be distinguished from many other course management systems in the degree to which its appearance and organization can be customized and the extent to which students can contribute to the course site itself.
When a site is created, users can customize its appearance by chosing themes and theme settings and adding custom headers and footers. In addition, users can chose from various templates that suggest organizational schema for various types of content. Once created, the organization of the site can be further customized. Faculty can give students in their classes permission to discuss, add, edit or delete from the entire class site or any content block, page, section of the site.
Faculty will see a list of all the classes they are teaching with the option to create a site for any class. If classes have more than one section, a single site can be made which groups all of these sections together into one site. Faculty can copy a course site from a previous semester into a "slot" for current semester.
Students will see a list of all the classes they are enrolled in with links to sites created in Segue. As well Segue will list all the course sites for which a given student has editor permissions.
Discussion & Assessment
Discussions/comments can be attached to any/all content blocks of Segue. The site owner can specify precisely who can participant in these discussions. In discussion mode, all participants can read and respond to each other's posts. In assessment mode, participants will not be able to read each other's posts, they will see only their own posts and replies to their post by the site owner. Site owners can rate any/all posts to a discussion/assessment. Discussion posts can be sorted by recent first, recent last, rating or author.
Site owners have an interface available to them that summarizes all the posts by all participants in a given discussion on a site or all the discussions of a given site. From this interface, site owners can email as a group any subset of discussion/assessment participants.
Roles & Permissions
Segue has a granular, hierarchical permissions structure (that matches a site's organization structure) that allows site owners to precisely define who can discuss, view, add, edit and/or delete any content block, page or section of their site(s).
Themes & Templates
The appearance of any Segue site can be customized by means of themes and theme settings. Each theme can have its own theme settings or variations. When a user creates a Segue site, they also chose from any number of templates. Templates are Segue sites with various organizational schema to help new users get started. Once a site is created with a certain template, the sections, pages and content blocks of the template can be modified and adapted to the user's preference.
Segue has a cross-platform HTML editor (HTMLarea) that works with Win/Mac Mozilla 1.3 or greater and Windows Internet Explorer.
Any number of users can be designated as administrators. All administrators can add/edit users, classes and slots. Administrators can also view logs and act as any other users.
Administrators can add and edit users. When users are added to the Segue user database, they are sent a email with their username and password. After initial log in, users can change their password. Segue can also be configured to use multiple external authentication methods.
All Segue users are automatically given a "slot" to create a personal site. Administrators can create any number of additional slots for any given user.
Administrators can add class "slots" to Segue and specify the instructor (as owner) and add students to the class. If Segue is configured to authenticate with LDAP and if the LDAP server specifies class information for all users, then class slots are populated automatically when users log in.
Administrators can view logs of all Segue activity. Perhaps the most useful log view for daily monitoring is by recently updated sites. Logs can also be filtered by type of activity, site and/or user and sorted in various ways.
- Segue, http://segue.middlebury.edu