CMS and Stuff

Tuesday, April 25th, 2006

My project to put together a “Content Management/Course Architecture” system just isn’t moving. There are lots of nice open source items to work with, lots of options: Joomla, TextPattern, and other systems, including WordPress, but the ideas aren’t collecting.

I want a system that students can come to as a node for thinking. A link to a forum via topic feeds, links out from feeds to relevant readings and articles, and something else that I can’t think of at the moment (maybe a calendar). It would have all regular functions: category links, link lists–all the regular stuff.

But it’s not as easy as it sounds. I could build it all at this site but then we’d be dependent on my host for delicate information, but it’s the college’s responsibility. The college servers are locked down for this individual push. The work I’ve done thinking about such a system could be deployed quite easily. The systems function just fine. Ultimately, the output–student work–isn’t mine to play with.

And there’s more. The problem may be matching the tech to experience. How is learning as an experience different than moving through an unfamiliar house or having a good meal. Elgg is a collection of tools and capabilities, as are most software. It’s capabilities push a certain engagement around the theme of learning: weblog, portfolio, connectivity, and collectivity. Thus Elgg requires a kind of context and experience. But it’s not really what I’m thinking about in terms of an architectural learning space, because I’m not thinking of it as a thing but as an experience (sure, like a sonnet). If a student wants to develop a weblog on their own as a means of collecting and connecting to their interests, that would happen outside the node but would or could reconnect to it (which gives me a thought).


3 responses to “CMS and Stuff”

  1. susan says:

    Are you saying that the “college servers are locked down,” meaning their programs aren’t open or compatible to what you’d like to do?

    As far as student work, you’re right, but I think you know from experience how to motivate students, as well as what works and what doesn’t on the community sites. For example, forums almost never work for some reason. There’s always a flurry of activity at the beginning and there will always be some dedicated members, but forum platforms for some reason seem to intimidate many.

  2. Josh says:

    It’s odd. A forum run by a gaming company has a large percentage of gamers posting everyday. But when a forum tries to promote discussion concerning “things that really matter” (e.g. education, art, politics, religion) all you hear are the crickets. I don’t understand the fear or silence. I know the reasons, but I just don’t understand them.

  3. Steve says:

    My forums in the courses that I teach typically do quite well, mainly because people have to participate. Often, a few students take up the banner because they get into things.

    My point goes to the nature of the node as a place to start, not as a system which provides a “weblog” as a part of its set of tools.