Manhattan: Simple. Smart.
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Why Choose Manhattan?

Here's a few things that makes Manhattan unique:
  • Unread messages are clearly marked with a red star. Your students will know at a glance when you've added, say, a new lecture to your online course.  It's surprising how many course management systems, both commercial and open-source, lack this basic but important feature.

  • The author of a message, whether student or teacher, can see the time and date their message was first opened by others in the classroom.

  • You, as the teacher, can view logs showing when students have entered the classroom and what they did when they got there.

  • The Post Office module is a self-contained email system that works independently of Internet mail. It's organized and reliable. Your students do not need to have email accounts, and you do not have to keep track of many email addresses.

  • The Assignments module provides an organized way to post assignments, receive student work, and provide feedback to that work. It's a far better solution than accepting written assignments by ordinary email, or the 'drop-box' method used by some other course management systems.

  • No knowledge of web page design is necessary to teach online with Manhattan. Most teachers do quite well with what they already know - simple word processing. Yet Manhattan' s attach-a-web-site feature allows those interested in multimedia to include advanced learning materials in their courses.

  • Manhattan is very easy to use for both students and teachers.  It has a lean, clean interface unlike the cluttered and confusing three-column layout pages used by other systems.

  • Manhattan provides a consistent environment for online learning. Once a critical mass of students and teachers learn their way around the system, Manhattan will become a normal part of teaching and learning at your school.  Because it is so easy to use, it's more likely to be used than systems requiring more time and effort for teachers to learn, set up, and maintain.

  • Manhattan is written entirely in the C programming language.  It's more difficult to write web programs in C than it is to use a scripting language like PHP, but the payoff is huge.  No web scripting language, or Java framework can come close to the raw speed of a well written C program. (Web scripting languages like PHP and Java Virtual Machines are actually written in C!).  This means:
    • A fast, snappy online experience for your users.  Want to have an entire class of 50 login at once?  No problem.  Two classes? Go for it.  Three?  Sure.
    • You can run Manhattan on very modest servers compared to other course management systems.  All you can afford at the moment is that old 500 MHz PC with 256 Meg of RAM?  Go ahead and put 100 or 200 courses on it.
    • No worries about whether you have the correct version of PHP (or Java) installed, whether or not your PHP (or Java) is configured correctly, whether or not you've installed a PHP (or Java) optimizer to compensate for the fact that PHP (or Java) can be downright slow.
  • MySQL?  We don't need no stinkin' MySQL!  It's hard to even begin explaining to the "when all you have is PHP, everything looks like a database" crowd, how it's even possible to build a sophisticated system like Manhattan without using MySQL or any other database back-end.  So I won't.  The benefits to you? 
    • You don't have to have MySQL installed, and so no issues regarding having the correct version installed.
    • You don't have to be, pretend to be, or even know a database administrator.
    • No issues with database tuning.
    • No need to add a separate database server because your PHP/MySQL (or Java/MySQL) solution is swamping your already high-end server.
    • Backups are as easy as backing up directories on your server.
    • Manhattan's well-thought-out filesystem design makes it lightning fast.  Manhattan knows where its data is, and knows exactly how to get it - quickly.  There's no latency involved while a program waits for MySQL to process a complicated query.
  • Manhattan is very well documented.  Thanks to a generous grant supporting the open source dissemination of Manhattan, there are complete reference manuals for Administrators, Teachers and Students.
  • Manhattan is stable.  There's nothing new about the system.  It's been at use (in its earliest form) at Western New England Colllege since 1997.  Manhattan does what it claims to do very well, and very reliably.  As a server administrator, you can basically "set it, and forget it".

Lastly, unlike commercial course management systems Manhattan is completely free, and completely open. There is no annual fee for the use of Manhattan by your school, and there are no advertisements. Anyone who wants to can download a complete copy of the system along with the underlying computer program instructions called source code that make Manhattan what it is, for free from this web site.