By the end of the semester, however, I was comfortable with the environment. Sure, it was full of problems, full of bugs, but I'd learned to work around the worst of them. Yes, I had experienced the decimal point fiasco*, but at least WebCT 6 had electronic grading sheets, a feature of which I was exceedingly fond. In the end, it really was too buggy overall, and the university decided to give up on WebCT 6 in favor of the already well-established and long-in-use WebCT 4. This switch meant stability, and, for most, familiarity; except, of course, I'd only taught on WebCT 6 before, not its predecessor. It was going to be another new teaching environment, only this time, I was likely to be the only new user of it.
Now I've had several weeks of working with WebCT 4 - and it's not so bad really. My WebCT experience has been all about learning to work around the software package's limitations anyways, and there's a whole lot to be said in favor of stability and speed.
WebCT 6 - Reloads all on-screen data after every post read and every little change made. Slow.
WebCT 4 - Only reloads manually. Much faster, albeit easier to overlook new posts and course changes.
WebCT 6 - Yes! Even if they did break during the decimal point fiasco.
WebCT 4 - No. I miss them.
WebCT 6 - More cleanly organized. Much, much, much easier to grade. Slow due to auto-reloading after every post read.
WebCT 4 - Functional, with some nice features like the prominent "Reply privately" button. Unintuitively, threads display without the name of their author on the main discussion board page.
WebCT 6 - Plain text submission option!
WebCT 4 - Attachments only. Clunky for small assignments.
WebCT 6 - Mostly implemented, very useful where available for use. Could be better done.
WebCT 4 - Indirectly, yes. Sort of.
Overall Course Configuration
WebCT 6 - Yes, but not so versatile. Exceedingly slow and clunky to reorganize organization pages.
WebCT 4 - Yes, and nicely versatile. Easy to rename, relabel, edit, rework. Speedy organization page changes.
WebCT 6 - Announcement board! Green stars on course menu to denote updated parts of course! Test student view built in.
WebCT 4 - Green dashes on main page to denote updated parts of course; nothing on course menu. Test student account comes extra (i.e. separate login) - but is useful as a way of sharing, of letting someone else look around the course and see what it's like.
* After a spring break software upgrade, WebCT lost track of all the points which students had earned after the decimal point. While each was small, several different sets of post-decimal point credits add up to several points overall, none of which should have gone missing in the first place, and all of which then had to be manually reinstated.