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How do you do....it? Thread, Intranet vs VLE/MLE in Technical; Wasn't sure on the correct forum for this, but anyway... As some members may have seen from a post yesterday, ...
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    JPS
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    Intranet vs VLE/MLE

    Wasn't sure on the correct forum for this, but anyway...

    As some members may have seen from a post yesterday, I have set up an intranet here at school. It is very basic, but contains things like important documents (school policies, weekly bulletin, staff department and contact list etc), links to commonly used external websites, links to our exchange and ePortal etc and amongst other things a Google search function. I have purposely not made it anything extravagant and it isnt going to be very sizeable, just a good place to start for staff when they first 'turn on'.

    Anyway, I was explaining to my LM (Deputy Head) what I had done and how it should be helpful and her first response was "Our VLE/MLE is imminent, wont this just supercede what you have done with an intranet?"

    I'm keen to know what others do in this situation? My arguments for running an intranet would be:

    1. Not all staff will bother using the VLE, particularly admin staff.

    2. If its anything like our staff usage of email, the VLE wont be accessed regularly (maybe once a week/fortnight)

    3. I believe the fact that the intranet is just 'there' and needs no input for access, will make it more usable, this is of course different to the VLE, where staff will have to login.

    4. Because my intranet is simple it should be easy to find things, I dont believe our VLE (Fronter - although this isnt a dig at them specifically) will be as user friendly. As someone who is reasonably technically minded I dont find it the easiest of interfaces.

    5. If we lost our internet connection (does happen every now and then but admittedly not very often) we lose our access to Fronter as it is externally hosted. The intranet will always be accessible (as long as there are no internal network issues.)

    So, what do you do at your school? Please feel free to provide some great arguments either way. I am happy to be wrong, if I can be convinced that is the case.

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    I think the biggest thing with the fact that you have a VLE coming is that they will want all the useful data on the VLE to get the staff using the VLE.

    That is how they have done it here.

    It is a strange way to force them to use the VLE and get our usage stats up - but they seem happy to do it.

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    JPS
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    Quote Originally Posted by siuko View Post
    I think the biggest thing with the fact that you have a VLE coming is that they will want all the useful data on the VLE to get the staff using the VLE.
    Thats is a good point, but my initial feelings are they just wont bother if it means doing anything else out of the ordinary, that may sound pretty stupid, but given the mentality/attitude some staff have here, it probably will be the case.

    Thanks for your input though @siuko

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    How have you implemented the intranet ? If it's something knocked up in dreamweaver or the like, then it will likely die slowly. If you've used a content management system such as Drupal, Wordpress or the like then the intranet can ususally be used with plugins and the like to create a portal. i.e. RSS feeds from your VLE, edugeek, Galleries of school photos etc.

    Especially if the intranet is enforced as people's homepages, using GPO's (if you use windows).

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    There shouldn't be the need for 2 systems, A decent VLE should be able to give you all the information your using on your intranet atm. Having not used fronter I dont know if its capable or not.

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    there's a difference between 'imminent' and 'actually happening soon' in my experience.

    Why not pitch it as a way of getting staff used to digital content delivery ?

    You really need SLT backing though to make sure teachers are aware that this is a way to get useful data - when I first but a split student/staff sharepoint based intranet in I was told teachers needed training....

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    JPS
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    Well so far it hasnt been implemented, just shown to my LM and a few other staff that I used to test access. The plan would be to use GPO and enforce it as the user's homepage. It has purely been knocked up in html, it is supposed to be simple. Its not even going to be constantly updated, so a full on CMS would be overkill.

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    JPS
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    @Domino, very valid point. We have purchased Fronter but still have not got any integration with our MIS. No staff have been formally trained. In a way, we probably shouldnt even say we have a VLE, but I think part of the problem is that my SMT think it is a case of spending the money and 'switching it on'. From experience of implementing the VLE at my last school (Fronter, coincidentally) it takes ages and ages to get going. I do like the idea of pitching the intranet as a sort of stepping-stone!

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    Quote Originally Posted by JPS View Post


    1. Not all staff will bother using the VLE, particularly admin staff.
    if staff won't bother using the VLE why will they bother using the intranet?

    Quote Originally Posted by JPS View Post
    2. If its anything like our staff usage of email, the VLE wont be accessed regularly (maybe once a week/fortnight)
    Then it will fail as a VLE. Aslo if staff won't access email or the VLE why will they access the intranet?

    Quote Originally Posted by JPS View Post
    3. I believe the fact that the intranet is just 'there' and needs no input for access, will make it more usable, this is of course different to the VLE, where staff will have to login.
    With single sign implemented staff won't have to login to a vle - it will just do it automatically for them

    Quote Originally Posted by JPS View Post
    4. Because my intranet is simple it should be easy to find things, I dont believe our VLE (Fronter - although this isnt a dig at them specifically) will be as user friendly. As someone who is reasonably technically minded I dont find it the easiest of interfaces.
    it will have a search function though. if it's well designed and laid out there is no reason why a course can't be set up as a 'staff course' containing all the content an Intranet can contain. Also because it won't require anyone to know html then admin staff etc will be able to update content on it. - Likewise this is why a CMS
    is always better then something knocked up in html

    Bear in mind that an intranet with content that doesn't change is dead in the water as people won't look at it.

    Quote Originally Posted by JPS View Post
    5. If we lost our internet connection (does happen every now and then but admittedly not very often) we lose our access to Fronter as it is externally hosted. The intranet will always be accessible (as long as there are no internal network issues.)
    True but there are ways to make internet connections more resilient. Alternativly host your own moodle VLE

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