Help! Help! Class notes site?

So, I'm running this summer course and I am trying to figure out how to organize the notes for students. I'd like to mix curriculum-specific notes ("here's what we're doing today, and here are some problems to work on") with tutorials (material independent of a single course, like "here's how to transfer files between computers" or "here's how to parse CSV files"), and allow students to search the documents, annotate them in their Web browser, search the annotations, and perhaps even do public or private bookmarking and tagging. The ability to edit the primary content in something other than a Web GUI would be really, really nice, too -- that way I can write in something like ReST and then upload into the system.

(This is a system I could write myself, but that's kind of silly, dontcha think?)

It should also be lightweight, reasonably mature, easy to set up, and (preferably) written in Python, although I'm willing to compromise on the last simply because I'm desperate.

Pointers, comments, suggestions welcome!


Legacy Comments

Posted by Katie Cunningham on 2010-05-21 at 14:19.

How savvy are these students? Could they get by on something like a
Git or SVN repo? Failing that, I've had good experience using the
Google suite of apps for class collaboration. Not python, but good in
a pinch.

Posted by Ratufa on 2010-05-21 at 15:01.

Sounds like a Wiki would do most or all or what you want.  Try
MoinMoin if you want something written in Python.

Posted by Ari on 2010-05-21 at 15:08.

Writing a good CMS in a matter of weeks?  That's a bit of hubris.
Evernote or alternatives already exist for personal use.    MSU
provides ANGEL.    Care to explain why the wheel needs reinvention?

Posted by Peter Boothe on 2010-05-21 at 15:31.

Google Wave worked well both this and last term for my students to
take group notes and annotate said notes.

Posted by Alan Trick on 2010-05-21 at 17:31.

Well, there's the django book
( but I don't see any
released code for that. There's also Stet, the tool they used for
gathering public comments on the GPL-3 (

Posted by Titus Brown on 2010-05-21 at 22:18.

As always, these comments -- even the mildly obnoxious ones -- help me
figure out what I want ;)    Ratufa, Wikis generally don't have great
editing tools for the initial content generation, and I want to make a
clear distinction between student/visitor comments and my own content,
too.  Trac is something I was considering, because I was sure that
there was some content commenting code available for it ... somewhere.
Peter, maybe I need to spend more time with Wave, but I don't see how
it fits any of these needs.  I've tried it out for a few different
things but not deeply.  Any specific pointers to functionality I
should try out or look at?  (I do see that it may work for my normal
Web dev course, so I may try that out -- thanks!)    Katie, having
something based on a version control system is a great idea, but the
students are going to be learning command-line stuff as they go, so
requiring that they become reliable git or hg users in order to
comment on the git/hg tutorial (for example) is too much for this
course.    And Ari, ANGEL doesn't provide in-line commenting AFAIK,
and I have a deep and abiding hatred for its clunky hideous UI, its
slow speed, and its lack of functionality.  If that's the wheel, then
it's square and could use some reimplementing.  As for implementing a
(tailored, hacky) CMS in a day or two?  Sure - weeks? Pshaw.  I don't
need a full CMS; I have more specific needs.  I've even done it
before, with Ian Bicking's Commentary.  And presumably if I wanted to
code something new up I wouldn't have asked all you fine folk ;).    I
wasn't aware of Evernote, which doesn't fit this project but looks
awesome!    But I think Alan's comments come closest to what I'm
looking for -- thanks!  The django book looks awesome, and I can
always ask @jacobian for his code if necessary, but I'm not a
djangonut so I'm not sure I would be able to learn the ins and outs in
time.  However, the stet reference is extra cool, because some
discrete googling discovers that they now recommend a stet
replacement... written for django! It's called co-ment.  I will take a
look at that & report back.    thanks all,    --titus

Posted by Titus Brown on 2010-05-21 at 22:26.

co-ment references:    <a href="">http://www</a>    Markdown based.  Awesome!    I wonder how hard it
would be to use sqlite for the backend instead.  Hmm.    OK, I'm
taking another look at Commentary, too.

Comments !