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Plone 3 for Education

Erik Rose

Break the webmaster bottleneck by empowering instructors and staff
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Book Details

ISBN 139781847198129
Paperback193 pages

About This Book

  • Enable instructors and staff to represent courses using Plone's built-in content types—news items, collections, and events—without writing a single line of code
  • Embed sound and video into your course materials, news feeds, or anywhere on your Plone site
  • Written by Erik Rose—member of the Plone 4 and 5 Framework Teams
  • Expert guidance on using the best plug-ins so that you can get the best out of your site right from the beginning

Who This Book Is For

Plone 3 for Education is for the makers of school web sites, from primary to university, from e-learning to public-facing, from tech-savvy teachers to seasoned software developers. A user-level familiarity with Plone is the only prerequisite; everything else is baked in.

Table of Contents

Chapter 1: Creating Courses
Prepare a place for courses
Create the course skeleton
Add a lesson
Add course-wide events
Use news items for course-specific announcements
Collect due dates on the course's front page
Add a syllabus
Reusing the course framework
Chapter 2: Calendaring
Show events on a calendar
Exclude trivia from the site-wide calendar
Build a browsable hierarchy with collections
Tips for event contributors
Represent recurring events
Chapter 3: Showcasing Personnel with Faculty/Staff Directory
Install the product
Test drive Faculty/Staff Directory
Coming attractions
Chapter 4: Extending Faculty/Staff Directory
A look at Archetypes
Introducing schemaextender
Start your extender
Adapters: the anatomy of an Extender
Add the fax and publications fields
Show the new fields in views
Hide or change existing fields
Off-the-shelf extenders
Chapter 5: Blogs and Forums
Plone's blogging potential
Add-on products: free as in puppies
News Items: blogging for the hurried or risk-averse
Scrawl: a blog with a view
QuillsEnabled: blogging bells and whistles
QuillsEnabled + Scrawl: the perfect pair
Forums with Ploneboard
Chapter 6: Embedding Audio and Video
Meet the products
Play standalone media
Embed media in pages
Chapter 7: Creating Forms Fast
Install PloneFormGen
A tour of PloneFormGen
PloneFormGen versus Archetypes content objects
Tasty recipes
Chapter 8: Styling Your Site
An overview of Plone theming
Prepare your development environment
Begin your theme
Finalize installation
Customize theme elements
Customize Zope 2 elements
Customize Zope 3 elements
Chapter 9: Going Live
Introducing the stack
ZEO and Zope
Increase speed with caching
Add Apache
Chapter 10: Maintenance, Backups, and Upgrades
Pack the ZODB
Back up Plone
Upgrade add-on products
Upgrade Plone

What You Will Learn

  • Build common e-learning tasks in Plone: assignment schedules, course materials, online turn-in forms, and class interaction using podcasts and forums
  • Build school-wide and department-wise directories collecting contact info, biographies, and more
  • Take care of necessities, like customizing the look of your site, setting up a production server, and running incremental backups
  • Integrate audio and video with Plone: weaving it into pages, populating portlets, and podcasting it to the world
  • Harness Plone4Artists Calendar product to improve the display of event listings
  • Find tips on information architecture and usability, learning from the successes and mistakes of several sites

In Detail

Plone enables your faculty and staff to manage their own web sites, but some assembly is still required. How do you represent courses online? What about assignment schedules, lecture podcasts, and collaborative spaces? That's where this book comes in—it takes the burden of routine updates off your web team by harnessing the world's most advanced free content management system.

This is the school web team's missing manual. Through step-by-step examples covering 11 common educational use cases, you'll learn how to take the box of parts provided by Plone, combine them with best-of-breed third-party plug-ins, and turn out a dynamic web environment that will be a joy to use for faculty, enhance staff productivity, and engage the student body.

Plone is powerful but complex. Its ease of use for end users belies a wealth of under-the-hood features and third-party add-ons that are time-consuming for back-end web teams to sort through. The book guides you on proven paths through the forest of potential that you encounter during design and deployment, starting you with reasonable choices for each of 11 common education-domain use cases. Each one enumerates the value it brings to your site and guides you step-by-step through an implementation suitable for the vast majority of cases, meaning you can spend your time addressing the unique needs of your institution—not reinventing the wheel.


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