FAQ - Frequently Asked Questions

Last Updated: May 16, 2001

* What is WCES?

The Web-Based Course Evaluation System (WCES) is the first step toward automating and eventually replacing the current offline method of distributing and administering course evaluations for classes within the Fu Foundation School of Engineering and Applied Sciences in Columbia University. WCES seeks to give students greater ease and peace of mind in evaluating their classes while allowing for greater flexibility and data integrity from the perspective of the evaluations' administrators. The course feedback gathered through this mechanism should be useful for professors and students alike.

* What is Oracle?

The SEAS Oracle is the complement to the Web-Based Course Evaluation System. Students can see the results of the surveys that were filled out in past semesters for each professor or course. There is also a great deal of information on professors, including background, research, education, and more.

* I wish to use a different combination of software. Can I use xxxxxx instead?

The feasibility of using a different software package depends on exactly what you are trying to accomplish. It would be a trivial matter to substitute Microsoft IIS for Apache, for example. Some customization of the PHP scripts would be necessary to use mSQL instead of mySQL. However, it would take an extraordinary amount of work to re-write WCES and Oracle to use Perl or Python instead of PHP. At that point, one may as well start from scratch. We primarily use and depend on software released under the GNU Public License so that our software package is available on as many systems as possible.

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