Inner Workings

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.