What a Moodle

vle-failWhilst the web 2.0 developments of the previous post had been gathering pace and the Netvibes approval hung in the balance a lass in libraryland had attempted to meet up with the Vice Principal to discuss VLEs. Once again this meeting took over a year to pin down, mainly due to staff changes at management level and various abortive attempts due to schedule clashes. The long planned meet up took place in July and ALIL decided to invite the marketing department who manage all things college website so we could explore all the alternatives – VLEs, student intranet, expanding the student section of the website, etc.

It became clear that anything that required use of the college servers was a no go as storage space was limited and a planned upgrade would not be online until September. The discussion of VLEs therefore centred on the cost of externally hosting the service, which in the present economic climate proved too costly. Conversation turned to developing the student section of the college website and it was decided that this was by far the most cost effective and easy to implement solution. A lass in libraryland was asked to pen and present a proposal for the learning and teaching committee the following week, asking them to support approval of the proposal at the academic board.  ALIL presented the proposal to L&T and it was wholeheartedly approved for referral to the academic board later that week, where it was approved. A working party was then finalised and development of the student section of the college website will take place over 2010/11, going live in September 2011.


On the move


A Lass in Libraryland has been stepping outside her comfort zone this week and then some…

Having set up a blog a while back she had become more aware of other blogs, how they looked, how they were set out and their impact. Sometimes she found herself experiencing blog and domain name envy…

While ALIL wallows in all things 2.0 she could never be described as geekzilla and as a result she wouldn’t know CSS code from toffee and as for altering templates, forget it. So she found herself wondering how to get a domain name all of her own and how to get it to interact with her blog… whilst pondering the complications of altering templates and fiddling with style sheets.

The whole transferring from ‘blog.com’ to ‘blog.org’ to make the most of the added flexibility was a non-starter unless she could locate a good hosting service or a spare server knocking about the house… oh and some sadly lacking geekability.

A cast about located a possible alternative, a CMS that offered intuitive and flexible templates, which ALIL could learn to adapt as her competence levels grew. The platform would fully host the blog and allowed integration of domain names should ALIL desire. The slight downside – that the service, unlike ‘blog.com’, was not community driven (non-open source) – meant the development speed of the platform would be dictated by the providers, but this issue paled when ALIL had a play with the templates, widgets and setup options offered. To ensure she wasn’t missing anything ALIL also read reviews and dug for dirt… what she found amongst other things was positive feedback about support ticket response rates and some fantastic looking blogs.

In a total of two hours ALIL had signed up to her new CMS, set the templates and transferred her blog data from its previous home. Next she located an appropriate domain service and registered www.scarpagirl.com, created a new CNAME record in the DNS interface and pointed it at her new blog provider.

Although the ‘finished’ product doesn’t look very different from the old blog it should grow with ALIL, at a pace dictated by her and with a comforting level of provider support.

So give a lass in libraryland a neb at that ‘Basic CSS’ tome and put your damn toffee away.