Download & Set Up

This page will walk you through the steps involved in creating a Teaching Commons on your server.

Human requirements:

  • knowledge of how to edit content using Dreamweaver
  • knowledge of, or access to, the following info about your server:
    • directory path to the root of where your Teaching Commons will reside
    • the type of access used to connect to your server (ftp, sftp, etc.)
    • login/password for an account that connects to your server
    • ftp host address
    • HTTP address

System requirements:

  • installed version of Adobe Dreamweaver (free trial available here)

There is no MERLOT assistance available for Teaching Commons sites. If you need help beyond the scope of this page, please use our Resources page.

Steps for Deploying a Teaching Commons Package

About the package... 

The Teaching Commons package the templates, images, folders and startup index.html files for your Teaching Commons site. It is meant to be generic so that it can be used for any type of community. It is roughly based off of the Teaching Business Commons, which is why some of the content relates to business oriented materials. The content on these premade pages are to guide the community as to what the purpose of each page is, but it can (and should) be modified to fit your needs.

About setting up Dreamweaver...

This package utilizes Dreamweaver's useful templating capabilities. The way this works is that you start with the package on your machine and then "put" these files on the server via Dreamweaver once you have made changes. The next time you want to edit, you will "get" the files from the server.


Let's get started...

Request the TC_package zip file from the MERLOT webmaster. Download the TC_package zip file from your email to a location that you want to hold the site's files (I use "My Documents"). Extract the zip file. This creates a "TC_package" folder. There should be the following folders inside TC_package:

  • ext_css -- holds external css files
  • ext_files -- holds other necessary external files, if any
  • ext_js -- holds external JavaScript files
  • shared_images -- holds images that are used across all TC sites
  • tc -- holds the 'tc_generic' folder (rename to relate to your TC immediately, this will reflect in the site's URL!), and this tc_generic folder contains the HTML files within the following folders (these correspond to the navigation tabs):
    • about
    • campus_proj
    • faculty
    • prof_dev
    • resources
    • sys_services
    • images -- holds images that are unique to this Commons
  • Templates -- holds the templates that dictate the site's look and feel. Each of the above tabs gets 2 templates, one for that tab's main page and then also a child page template that has a left hand navigation for that particular tab.
    Note: you may want to rename the template files to clarify what site uses them  (i.e. tc_about.dwt --> eportfolio_about.dwt).


Now that we understand the parts of the package, let's set up Dreamweaver to put this Teaching Commons on your server...

Open Dreamweaver. In the menu bar, select Site >> New Site...

Select the "Advanced" tab in the top left corner of the window if it is not already selected. Fill out the form as shown in the picture. Of course, customize to fit your server. If you have already unzipped the package, then find the "TC_package" folder (mine is in "My Documents"), and select that folder for your Local root folder.



Now, select Remote Info in the left-hand list. Pick the "Access" option that is used for your server, and fill out the rest of the form. You might need to ask your system administrator for the correct information to enter.
Note: the path you select for Host directory will be the spot that your Teaching Commons will live.



No changes need to be made to "Testing Server", "Cloaking", "Design Notes", "Site Map Layout", or "File View Columns" categories in the left-hand list. Select Contribute in this list.



Finally, select Templates from the left-hand list. Some versions of Dreamweaver do not have this option listed. If you do not see it, then simply skip this step.



Click OK, and you should see the files that you unzipped in the left- or right-hand column of Dreamweaver. You have now created a local version of your Teaching Commons. To get any needed files from your server (probably none, but let's play it safe), click the green arrow pointing down. This will GET the newest copy of these files. Before making edits, click here to learn how to edit the templates correctly. To view/edit the local home page, for example, in the left- or right-hand column expand tc >> tc_generic and select index.html.
Note: If Dreamweaver asks if you want to get dependent files before you view a page, say yes.


Time to put the files onto your server...

If you are ready to push this live, simply click the blue arrow pointing up, located just above your local files. The files will then be PUT onto your server in the location you told it to when you chose your Host directory. Please read "Learn about how to edit templates" before you start making a lot of changes.
IMPORTANT: To ensure that you have the freshest copy of the files, always GET before editing. If you do not, you might PUT the files on the server and overwrite someone else's changes.

The Teaching Commons generic package is now live! 


Learn about how to edit templates>> 

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