[wp-edu] What features and what kind of use do you need?

Gowtham wordpress at sgowtham.net
Thu Nov 6 01:38:46 GMT 2008

Hello all,

A couple years ago, when WPMU was in v1.0 or thereabouts, I had
tried to implement within a department, with the hope of extending
it to the entire University later. However, there were some concerns:

 1. Letting every student have a blog and write whatever they
    feel like.

    This was the primary concern and since there was no simple
    & effective way of screening what the students would post,
    we decided to give the power of writing to teaching 
    assitantships and faculty only.

 2. Authentication mechanism

    My school, Michigan Tech University, had developed some
    in house Apache modules to certify a University-wide
    application. Although we used LDAP to authenticate users,
    the process of incorporating the procedure into WPMU was
    not trivial.

    I see that there is a plugin that someone mentioned 
    in this list but I still haven't been able to make it
    work :(

These and some other security related concerns made our IT
department use Jive Software products instead of WPMU.

Though I am out of the University now, I would personally be
very interested in learning about using Active Directory
(LDAP) to authenticate a community of users and automagically
create their blogs within WPMU.


On Wed, 5 Nov 2008, Douglas Hanna wrote:

| Claudio,
| Welcome!
| Here are my thoughts in response to your questions.
| > What are the WordPress features that you think be useful for your projects?
| Obviously, posting and commenting are the things that really make
| WordPress what it is and they help in education too. Flexible themes
| and user options and the wide array of plugins available for WordPress
| create essentially unlimited opportunities. There are a lot of ways to
| organize content using tags and categories, which can be really useful
| as well.
| > You want to build a community of teachers and students, give a blog to
| > every student, let students post articles?
| I think it depends on the intention of the class and of the
| implementation of blogging. Do you want to provide students with a
| medium to showcase some of their writing or do you want to expose them
| to blogging in full force? If you want to do the later, students and
| teachers getting their own blog is most appropriate. If you want to do
| the former, then one blog could probably serve the needs of the
| project. I think it boils down to this: do you want the blog/project
| to have one voice or many?
| > What type of interaction do you think is the best for a good
| > educational project?
| Comments are great. WordPress is improving commenting and it is
| definitely on the agenda. Contact forms obviously offer a more
| traditional form of communication and interaction. And of course,
| students and teachers can respond to other students and teachers via
| blog posts if the blog or project is setup that way. Commenting in the
| way of linking to another post and adding your own thoughts is a great
| way to take advantage of blogging for education.
| > At the moment WP - a simple installation of WP - allows only comments.
| > It's ok for you or you need more?
| You do a lot more than just comment with a simple WordPress
| installation. I talked about some of the features in your first
| question and I think one of the most prominent features is the ability
| to easily install plugins. There are so many plugins available and
| with them, you can do so much that it is unbelievable.
| > For your needs is better WordPress Mu? Or you need custom features?
| We just had another discussion about WordPress MU versus a regular
| installation of WordPress. Here is a link to our archives:
| http://comox.textdrive.com/pipermail/wp-edu/2008-November/thread.html
| > Do you have already considered to use other platforms (Joomla, Drupal,
| > Moodle...) and why do you think that WP is more suitable for you?
| I personally haven't used any other content management systems or blog
| software since I started using WordPress.
| Hopefully this is helpful! Again, welcome to the wp-edu list.
| --
| Douglas Hanna
| Automattic | WordPress.com
| Blog: http://www.serviceuntitled.com
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