Dynamic 'News' (or other information) App

Most of this page is 'static'. I must edit this document to change content. That is not convenient, and it is one reason that content on web pages is outdated. There are several methods that can be used to create 'dynamic content'. RCI servers have PHP and MYSQL, and it is easy to get an RCI account and begin using a MYSQL database.

I use PHP+MYSQL to post time sensitive material such as news. I am using it to display the names of our Assessment Committee. The scripts to do this are freely available, and just need some modification.

Sample Dynamic Content

You can play around with this one. The link below will open the admin page. Shrink down the size of that window so you can keep an eye on this page. Play around with fonts for the date or news content. Refresh this page after you save settings. Don't worry about 'undoing' your changes. Add news items. Change how items are displayed. [Structure] and [Header] features are disabled.

administer the news

Your Department News Will Appear Below:


Create webforms that email you responses or store responses in a database.

There are a number of options to creat 'surveys'. Some people use Survey Monkey. A more robust and secure method just became available at Rutgers: Qualtrics.

Qualtrics: Cloud Survey Tool

Just point your browser at rutgers.qualtrics.com and use your NetID and password to create your account and use this service for customer satisfaction, research, and feedback surveys. The built-in help and short videos will get you started. All accounts can share or collaborate with others for team projects.

Recommended Qualtrics resources


I also use PHP and MYSQL for surveys. Javascript is used to move the data where I want it. Again, free scripts are available. I never write scripts; I just modify already existing ones.

Example: the DEENR Advisor/Advisee System

The Dept. of Ecology, Evolution, & Natural Resources uses a set of APPS to assign advisors. A student declares the major using mymajor.sebs.rutgers.edu. That student is given a link to a survey. The survey stores information in a database and sends an email to the department. This information is used to match the student with an advisor. Some of the information is entered into a second database, and what also is entered is contact information for the assigned advisor. (If I took the time, I could streamline this down to a single database, but this works. It just takes more data entry than would be necessary).

Whait is nice, though, is that students can query the database to get their advisor's contact information, and advisors can see a list of their advisees.

Here is where these Apps can be found.

Request an SPN

I used PHP+MYSQL to create a simple survey for students to request an SPN for my courses. I ask them for contact information, I ask their majors and their class years, and I ask what their interest is in my course. Data goes into a database and an email. Using just a little Javascript on a web page, though, could email the results of a webform without needing a database. This is very simple.