WordPress is what I am currently using to support students in my F2F courses. Although the free version does not provide users with a back-up option, page code is easily stored on notepad and pages could be swiftly restored should anything happen. What I love about WordPress is that it is more interactive. It allows students to follow any changes via an RSS subscription. Also, it is ultra easy to embed various media into any page. There is no need to download images to your computer, for example. They can easily be inserted by simply copying and pasting the image URL. Best of all, WordPress affords portablitly. Making changes to my website has never been simpler, at that, I can use any computing devide, even my phone!
I built this site in just a few hours as part of an MET group project. I was shocked at how intuitive and user-friendly was. Being that it is a Google tool, Google Sites affords the integration of many indispensable productivity tools such as Google Docs, Google Wikis, and Google Groups. The drawbacks of Google Sites is that it will only accept it’s own preassigned code, so one could not embed other widgets than those provided by Google. It makes the site less versatile, but it’s free and a great platform to work on solo, or collaboratively.
Wetpaint is very much like Google Sites with the exception that it will accept a wider variety of code. This makes Wetpaint slightly more versatile than Google Sites. Before creating an entire site, I would strongly suggest creating 1 page using a couple of different software to see which seems more intuitive to you, and which affords the elements you are looking for to support learning and teaching. Again, it’s free.
PBworks offers a free version and a great way to create a class website or wiki but the interface is not as attractive as some other wikis, nor can it be customized to a great extent. On the positive side, it does not contain any advertising, it does have an RSS function, and many really exquisite features for tracking student work and collaborative effort. Moreover, PBworks seems determined to become a wiki giant and it provides many opportunities for free webinars (that are excellent by the way, and will carry over a period of a few weeks) and incentives for educators, including a great tech support team.
Dreamweaver is great in that it is versatile. By editing the code for each page, which can easily be found on websites like w3school.com, one can customize layout, add widgets and various learning objects. Building Dreamweaver sites can result in the over-accumulation of pages, files and documents. To edit pages, one has to either synchronize, which can be tricky, carry files around on a portable drive, or carry the machine on which the local folder is locate. Nevertheless, it allows the most freedom where