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Web Development Thread, ideas for developing school website in Coding and Web Development; Hi I am a part time web designer and have been asked to develop a seconday school website here in ...
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    ideas for developing school website

    Hi
    I am a part time web designer and have been asked to develop a seconday school website here in Ireland. I have decided to use Joomla for this project and this should be fine to develop and design the site and allow maybe 2 or 3 trusted administrators update and edit the content. I have already played around with developing my own template and its all working fine and validating xhtml and css.
    Aside from allowing main administrators log on and do their thing i am looking for ideas on how to get students to log on - say for example to blog or to have a forum to buy and sell books. I have looked at forum extensions and they seem ok to implement but what i am unsure of is how to allow students to log on and restrict topics in say a forum. Do i have to create profiles for each student or do i allow them to register themselves? Basically for my example of selling books or restricting topics on a forum what would be the most straight forward way of implementing these? Any ideas?
    Also regarding school email with new domain name - do i have to create an account for each student or allow them to create their own? Can they log into their email account in Joomla or as a link to the hosting provider or through outlook?
    Sorry about all the questions at once - am just trying to get a clear picture of what i can and can't do!
    Last edited by katuxa; 19th November 2010 at 01:52 AM. Reason: tags

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    SimpleSi's Avatar
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    Joomla doesn't have (at the moment) very good user control unless you play with additional modules - you basically have admins then editors (upload and change any article) and then joe public that can just read.

    You can just have authors who can write and admins approve their articles before it goes live but thats not what you are after.

    A VLE (such as Moodle) will allow much finer control over blogs and forums and keeps pupils away from the "corporate" school website

    If you don't want to go down VLE route, maybe just set up seperate forum and blogging facilities with links to/from your website.

    regards

    Simon

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    wiggum123's Avatar
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    Hey,
    We havnt allowed students to log in to our site yet but we do have separate staff / governors sections. They only have access to their own section on the site. To make this work we are using the NoixACL component. It works by assigning all the menu links to registered, then you have to give each group access to the menus. They are all denied by default. Its worked really well here, as long as you remember to give groups access, and its free!!
    NoixACL Extension
    Ben

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    SimpleSi (24th November 2010)

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    Thanks Simon. Thanks Ben.
    At this initial stage your information is very valuable to me. I need to know what i can and cannot do before i make any promises. As you say Simon if i want detailed control i can consider linking to 'moodle' and if i want to allow different groups admin certain section i can consider noixACL.
    The school would like the site to be 'interactive' so besides the standard static info such as school welcome, history , academic subjects etc. I am trying to come up with ideas which will get the student and teachers involved and keep fresh content on the main page - such as 'polls' newsitems, recent fotos and videos.
    Any ideas would be more than welcome.
    I have spent alot of time looking on the web but haven't been very inspired by most of the sites i've seen

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    If you want to simplify, Wordpress is really easy to hack and slash about with and very easy to manage from a content POV. You can see some good community sites that use Wordpress and say, PHPBB forums if a forum is a necessity.

    I like joomla, I use it as our intranet but trying to show admin staff how to use it... is difficult, to say the least. Students may find it easy as they're probably doing alot of this everyday without realising it but staff is hard!

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    Yeh, I agree with dwhyte85. Joomla is very powerful, but can be confusing for those who are less IT literate...
    We use Joomla for our main site here, and are starting to get staff to edit and change their own areas on the site. Some of them pick it up quite easily, some not so much. We have changed the default editor from the TinyMCE to the JCE Editor, which looks and feels alot more like word so staff can pick it up alot easier. It also has alot of useful features like the photo upload. All the staff edit articles through the front end of the site, we found this is much easier than trying to explain the administrator side of the site but it does limit staff to editing pre-existing articles only. If they want a new page, or menu link, they have to come and see you.
    There are a couple of other components and modules I would strongly recommend. JCE also produce a Mediabox plugin, this allows you to easily implement the shadowbox image viewer, we also use it to show videos and fill in questionnaires. Have a look at their site here.
    Also I would say you need a way of backing up your site, the component we use is AkeebaBackup. Its a component which displays in the administrator side only and you can manually backup and download entire copies of your site, including the database. There is also a bit of software you can install to a desktop which you can setup to automatically backup and download copies of your site on a regular basis.
    A good survey component is CK Forms, this will let you quickly setup forms. It will either email you the results or save them to the database for you to view later, you can also download them as a .csv file. You can also apply custom CSS classes and ID's to every part of the form which I find very useful.
    I hope some of this is useful. Just be prepared to be constantly chasing people up to get content. Also, a site with as much interactivity as you are suggesting will take alot of time to administer, so be prepared.
    Ben

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    SimpleSi (25th November 2010)



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