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Ár nDraíocht Féin
Three Cranes
Chaos Matrix

November 21st, 2006

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02:03 pm - Thinking about where to go from here, web-wise
I've been looking over Chronarchy.Com's backend specs. The site sits at about 275 MB in size, out of a possible 400 MB. My virtual "rent" is fairly cheap (which is good: I could never afford more), but I'm thinking about what I'd like to do with the site, and it *does* just keep growing.

So as I look at it, I start to size it up. There's ever the option of adding wiki. . . A fun tool that ADF members will know well (as will users of that silly depository of "knowledge," Wikipedia), but it doesn't seem to serve my needs. There are mailing lists and polls and things like that which could really enhance the "experience" of Chronarchy.Com, but they're not so much useful as "cool."

I could create a "members only" section, but that bothers me on a lot of levels: I'm one of those rare people who really likes the transparency that the Internet provides, the openness it promotes and the weird quirks of oh-shit-I-shouldn't-have-posted-that moments that we all have. They make life interesting, at the very least. Only one directory on my pages is password protected, and all it's got are four images.

I can create a nifty chat function (I did this on the Three Cranes site, but more as a fun thing to play with than an actual tool), but I don't have the time to staff it or really participate in it to any extent.

I could add a blog, but between MySpace, Facebook, and LiveJournal, I am totally blogged out. Enough that my webpage, which I always wanted to keep primary, is wasting away for lack of new content (don't tell me you haven't noticed. . .)

I could sell stuff, but given the lackluster response my CafePress site gets (even with ADF-related material available on it being published at cost), I have a feeling that's a losing proposition. Besides, the CafePress site is linked off every page of the site, and in a year and a half, it's earned all of $6.02.

But what actually interested me was a little program called "Moodle". Moodle is a course management system that allows people to take courses on your website. It allows for virtual workshops, assignments, chat sessions, creation of resources, etc.

I look at it and I think that, hell, I could put the WotY up on that. I could set it up to assign things on a regular basis, create due dates, quiz people over the material, and seriously upgrade and reorganize the resources available. And I could also create something like that for the various GSP courses, or clergy training. And honestly, I'm a little excited.

The central problem with it is the installation size. It's nearly 50 MB, and that'll put me dangerously close to the edge, given my current usage and the rate the site has grown at: about 68 MB/year on average.

With additional size, there's additional cost. So now I'm thinking: is it worth the upgrade cost? How can I make the additional virtual "rent?" Would anyone use it? How much backend work is needed: can it run itself? Is it fair to offer the course for cash (the idea makes me somewhat uncomfortable), or should I just check ADF membership and make it a free-for-all romp if I decide to do it?

Yes, these are things I wonder about during sunny lunch hours in winter.
Current Location: Southeast of Disorder
Current Mood: contemplativecontemplative
Current Music: "If the Phone Doesn't Ring, It's Me", -JB

(39 comments Leave a comment)


[User Picture]
Date:November 25th, 2006 02:36 am (UTC)
it runs the risk of making ADf TOO standardized/technical/impersonal

Hm, I think you may be on to something there. Periodically I have to remind myself (and sometimes others) that "ADF is not the lists" - or LJ, whatever.

I think the one-on-one mentorship connections are really what helps, just like meeting people face to face at festivals is better than 1000 e-mails.

However, I think we still have more mentor requests than students, so while I agree there's definitely a risk of making it too technical and impersonal (which is a better way of what I was saying when I said over-structured, I think), I think it's worth trying out with a focus group.

As I said, I'd love to be proven wrong - but that can only really happen if the focus group actually says it works.

I'm not sure, but I think one of your concerns might be that this would be implemented as an official ADF system when, in fact, I don't think Mike meant to do that unless the test went well.

And even then, I'd think the system would be optional, not an integral part of the DP. (And even the WotY is optional of course).

Oh, and on a WAY bigger tangent, I just found out that I was born at 6:29 am. :)

Great! If you remind me before Wellspring I'll try to do your chart and bring it with me, or if either of us forget, I'll just do it on my Palm Pilot there :)
[User Picture]
Date:November 27th, 2006 02:39 pm (UTC)
And even then, I'd think the system would be optional, not an integral part of the DP. (And even the WotY is optional of course).


The interesting thing is that a number of people despise the WotY (some with more passion than singingwren does this weird moodle idea I got) because *they* learn best without the structure, and they see the WotY, even as vague and socratic as it is, as "feeding them the answers" or "making it too easy."

Their concern is well-placed: they want everyone to get the best experience out of the DP possible, and they saw/see how they did it as the best way to learn it.

The problem is that not everyone learns like they do. In fact, the best way to teach material to a varied audience (and ADF is nothing if not varied) is to offer as many avenues of learning and as many styles of teaching as possible.

So undirected training (the DP in its original format) must remain available. WotY needs to remain available. Mentorship needs to remain available. The Virtues book needs to remain available. And every one of them needs to stay optional. Each of these methods is vital, and each one approaches training in a different way.

Another thing to remember, too, is that we are also dealing with a wide spectrum of learning abilities. We have a wide population with Asperger's, who seem to learn best when the information is laid out and referenced all in one tight package. We have people who don't have any sort of learning disability but have a time deficiency (after speaking to a working mom three weeks ago, it became apparent that a time deficiency can become worse than a learning disability in terms of what can be learned by various methods: she called online courses "a godsend" and indicated that they were the only way she could get through school).

What it comes down to is that the options have to be available for those who learn in these ways.

But we'll see. I didn't listen to the people attacking WotY because I knew it was needed. I'm not sure that the online stuff is needed, but I have a strong feeling that it would *help*, and that might just be enough for me. Besides, I'm getting a lot more support for the idea than I thought I would.

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