Course Materials

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Course materials can be easily placed on the web and access restricted to them in a manner of ways. We will be using the course cs1234 as an example throughout this document.

Course Directory

The first requirement for placing materials on the web is to have a course directory on our NFS server available from any of our managed Linux machines (e.g. login.ccs.neu.edu). These are located under /course{semester} (example /course/cs1234f14/). If you need a course directory created, send an eMail to systems@ccs.neu.edu requesting that a directory be created. Be sure to let them know what course it is for.

Access Possibilities

Now that you have a course directory, there are 3 choices in how you want to make information available. Currently we support files viewable by the general public, files viewable only by machines located on the CCIS network (including wireless), and files viewable only by students with a valid CCIS account.

General Public

In order to make files available to the general public a “.www” directory has to exist under the course directory. This can be accomplished by the command mkdir /course/cs1234f14/.www. Once this directory is created, any files placed there will be viewable on the web at http://www.ccs.neu.edu/course/cs1234f14/. If an “index.html” file doesn’t exist, a directory listing will be displayed.

CCIS Network

For files that should only be viewable by machines on the CCIS network, a “priv” directory will need to be created under the “.www” directory. This can be accomplished by the command mkdir /course/cs1234f14/.www/priv. Once this directory is created, any files placed there will be viewable on the web at http://www.ccs.neu.edu/course/cs1234f14/priv/, but only from machines located on the CCIS network.

CCIS Users

Limiting files to valid CCIS students requires using our SSL server to minimize the risk of exposing the user’s password.

You will need to create a directory called “ssl” under the “.www” directory. This can be accomplished by the command mkdir /course/cs1234f14/.www/ssl. Files placed in this directory will be available on the web at https://www.ccs.neu.edu/course/cs1234f14/ssl/. In order to access them you will first need to supply a valid CCIS username and password.

If someone accidentally uses “http” instead of “https” when typing in the URL, the request will automatically be redirected to the secure server.

Once on the secure server, all documents not placed in the “/course/cs1234f14/.www/ssl” directory, will not be viewable. For example, the URL https://www.ccs.neu.edu/course/cs1234f14/ will not be valid. For this reason if a document under the “ssl” directory refers to a general public document, you will need to specify the complete URL (including http). This limitation is done to ensure documents can only served from one of our web servers.

Other Notes

As soon as you create a “.www” directory, the contents will be viewable on the web.

The official listings of undergraduate and graduate courses can be found on the Banner system by students and faculty. The grad program does maintain an additional listing of courses in their guidebook. Please contact gradschool@ccs.neu.edu to questions or changes regarding the guidebook.

Subdirectories can be created under any of the directories above and will inherit the same access restrictions. For example files in the directory “/course/cs1234f14/.www/ssl/lectures/” will only be viewable on the secure server and will require authentication.

Using symbolic links for directories is not recommended if you are placing material under a “priv” or “ssl” directory.

{ 2 comments }

Marsette Vona September 22, 2010 at 1:42 pm

Sorry to belabor this, but there was a call at a recent faculty meeting to update all links to course Webpages. I am not sure what’s going on b/c my recent interaction with you (and you with the front office) seemed to indicate that there were no longer going to be any such links.

If there will be links, can you please add specific instructions on how to update all relevant links, both from CCS webpages and from the banner system, as applicable, to our course websites?

Thanks,
Marty

David Blank-Edelman September 22, 2010 at 1:57 pm

I’m personally not aware of any links, but I’ll try and find out what is going on.

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