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
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.
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
- 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.