Serf is a symphony of relational databases. The databases keep track
of users, maintain states between interactions, deliver courses, and monitor
student progress. There are databases for calendars, syllabi, assignments,
grades, rosters, and styles. When a user logs on to Serf, each database
plays its role toward creating the appropriate screen for the moment.
The databases are like musicians in a symphony, where each player performs
what's needed to produce the sound of the moment.
The quickest way to understand how the databases combine is to view
the form that a Serf administrator uses to create a course. Notice
how the course consists of the combination of a roster, a syllabus, a calendar,
and a presentation style. By editing the presentation style, an institution
can totally customize the look and feel of the Serf screens. You
can even remove the Serf icon from the logon screen and replace Serf with your own branding.
The course creation form also lets you assign courses to a virtual
room. This enables the students enrolled in that course to communicate
with students in other courses assigned to that room. When an instructor
grades assignments in a virtual room, all of the students in that room
will appear. Thus, the virtual room enables more than one course
to meet simultaneously in the same Serf space.