Advice on how to set up a site for an entire School District

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Jenny
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Advice on how to set up a site for an entire School District

Post by Jenny » Wed May 30, 2007 11:26 am

Hello everyone, thanks in advance for any advice you can give.

I am putting together a site for our School District that has specific needs. We are limited in that this can only be one install and one database, and I am developing the site in v. 1.5.  The site will be supporting each school in the district so that each one has their own section of the site, styled with their unique template, and their information will be under categories.  Also, each teacher will have their own pages within their school section.

My main question what is the best solution for setting up the user levels for people entering information.  Each person needs to only have access to their own stuff or the content/section/categories that they are assigned to.  I have looked at Community Builder, but I am not sure it is the right way to go.

Any suggestions?
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Re: Advice on how to set up a site for an entire School District

Post by Gare » Wed May 30, 2007 6:10 pm

MMMedia wrote:
My main question what is the best solution for setting up the user levels for people entering information.  Each person needs to only have access to their own stuff or the content/section/categories that they are assigned to.  I have looked at Community Builder, but I am not sure it is the right way to go.

Any suggestions?
Hi -

IMO, this is the key feature that is required for enterprise-level adoption of Joomla -- access control.    This is not scheduled to be a feature of 1.5, last I checked those boards...

For our site, we are going to try and use business rules/ written policy to scale a site out beyond a handful of page updaters. (ie, "The admissions department is responsible for this section and only this section ..."  )

Joomla has feature of showing the person who last updated a page, which is first step.

It would not be a huge project for a large university's web dev team to write in access control, imo. 

(I am very interested in responses to your question as well.)
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Re: Advice on how to set up a site for an entire School District

Post by Gare » Wed May 30, 2007 6:16 pm

Perhaps take a look at JACLPlus or other Group Access component? 

update edit: I had read comments on JACLPlus and was scared away by the comments, and the web site requiring log in, and the extensive modification to the core that would be done.  I may revisit this in future if written policy does not work out ..
Last edited by Gare on Wed May 30, 2007 7:17 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: Advice on how to set up a site for an entire School District

Post by compass » Wed May 30, 2007 11:27 pm

I would actually recommend having a separate instance of Joomla for each school. I have looked long and hard at school sites using Joomla. If you try to squish them into one site you are limited because of the 3 level content structure.
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Re: Advice on how to set up a site for an entire School District

Post by AmyStephen » Wed May 30, 2007 11:59 pm

Jen - did you see this post? There is a lot going on at the EduGeek.net site related to Joomla!. Many people trying to do exactly what you are trying to do - and they are from within school districts, etc.

Am interested in hearing your progress.
Amy :)

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Re: Advice on how to set up a site for an entire School District

Post by Geoff » Thu May 31, 2007 4:44 am

For teacher websites, I highly recommend UHP2. Even though its a commercial component, it's the only one available that will allow you to create "geo-cities" type websites for teachers that integrate nicely into your main site.

For dividing the site up, maybe creating separate sections in each school would work. Each school would have a separate section and one of those "news" links that come in the default installation of Joomla!.

To make each school have a unique style, you could assign a template to that particular school's menu links/pages.

Community Builder will help get extra information about the user that you made need such as Full Name, phone number, etc.

Overall, it is much easier and cleaner to go with separate installations. User management is better and there is more access control. Unfortunately, you are unable to do that.
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Re: Advice on how to set up a site for an entire School District

Post by Jenny » Thu May 31, 2007 4:33 pm

Question #2 

I had decided to develop in 1.5, but now I an not so sure if that is a wise decision simply because there hasn't as of yet been a lot of the extensions optimized for 1.5 (rightly so, as it is still in beta).

I am wondering though how long the 1.0.xx version will be supported, as I don't want to create the entire site only to have to start from scratch again in a year.

Advice?  (thanks everyone for your replies)
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Re: Advice on how to set up a site for an entire School District

Post by AmyStephen » Thu May 31, 2007 4:44 pm

If you need it by this fall, you'd probably be better off going with the v 1.0.x series. The migration could be difficult depending on what the 3PD do with the extensions you use - but it won't be impossible. That eduGeek package is pretty nice and a nice educational J! community will likely grow up around it - I'd stick with the crowd, myself. I'm looking at that for our little rural school district, too.

Thanks for sharing!
Amy :)

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Re: Advice on how to set up a site for an entire School District

Post by magss » Wed Jul 04, 2007 1:14 am

"Overall, it is much easier and cleaner to go with separate installations. User management is better and there is more access control. Unfortunately, you are unable to do that."

Could someone please help me explain this?  I am trying to create an alumni website, with about 20 schools.  I would like to have an "area" of the website where each school has a separate description page (About SCHOOL NAME Alumni, Calendar, Links, etc).

I don't need to have a separate administrator for each, but would be nice.

The template should use our main page template, but pictures can be added to the individual pages.

The closest website I have found was http://www.whitnall.com

Please HELP!!!

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Re: Advice on how to set up a site for an entire School District

Post by Jenny » Wed Jul 04, 2007 12:24 pm

The way I decided to do it, because the suggestion to use separate installations was just not feasible due to our resources available, was to use one installation. 

One installation
-each school and top level department is a section
-each section (school/department) has the same generic categories of news, events, and library/resource center
-using JACL I can allow individual school editors to edit their sections, and individual category editors to edit their content.
-I have pretty much been able to have templates applied by section and category because they are already menu links.  There are some kinks to work out with this.
-each teacher has their own profile where they have a blog for posting their own curriculum/news and events using community builder.

I think the hardest part of the experience of setting this up was getting the structure and information flow visualized and the JACL set up.  Also you have to spend the time to figure out how to do what you need to do in the simplest way possible with the least amount of extensions.  The simpler the better to start with, you can always expand and enrich as you go along, but simple is best, especially if a number of people with various degrees of computer expertise are going to be involved in putting in content.

Hope that helps. :)
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