moveable type teaching too expensive
If you haven’t already looked at Mena Trott’s post announcing that Moveable Type 3.0 will suddenly be, well, rather expensive, really, go check out the awesome list of trackbacks. Customers talk back – on the corporate website. Wow.
I note with amusement that my use of Moveable Type with my students isn’t even on the pricing list – US$699 is the maximum price, and that only covers 20 authors and 15 blogs. I have 55 active blogs with an author each in my installation. Moveable Type handles it, but obviously it’s not built to make administration of that many users and blogs easy, and indeed, it is a pain. I think it’s fine to charge for software, but suddenly going from free (beer not speech) to pay without warning isn’t that cool. And given the software doesn’t work very well for the purpose, that price – or whatever they’d charge – is too steep. There’s no way I’m going to ask my students to install Moveable Type themselves again, so I guess next year’s web design students won’t be using Moveable Type. Anyway, the default templates are really complicated for students to figure out, and there’s the spam issue, which admittedly might be improved with the new version.
WordPress has been recommended by several (it’s recommended in half the trackbacks to Mena’s post), and it’s GPL which is good. My university’s already installed Simplog (previously called MyPHPblog, and websited here), but with little info about features). Simplog is open source too. It’s simple alright, perhaps too simple – last time I checked you couldn’t edit templates, only choose from a list of presets – but I notice the new version has trackbacks and comments and it would (gloriously) require absolutely no administration from me.
Our university’s committed to using open source software (at least, that’s the theory) so I really should switch, I guess.
8 thoughts on “moveable type teaching too expensive”
Liz Lawley was in touch with the SixApart folk today and it appears they will try to facilitate an educational pricing plan.
I wonder, though, if having students sign up for TypePad might be less work and more cost-effective.
Next year, I’m leaning toward using Textpattern to create a single blog on which each student has a section of their own, but all posts aggregate on the class page. I really like the idea of personal spaces and a group space together, and I want the blog use to emphasize conversation rather than individual reflection (though some of that, too, hopefully).
The nice thing about open source software is that you can pay a programmer to tailor that software exactly to your needs (easier user management for instance) instead of putting that money towards a licence for a commercial package that will sort-of-but-not-quite do what you want it to.
Of course there’s never much money in teaching budgets in the first place and apart from that overly controlling licensing scheme SixApart would be a good company to support financially, but on the other hand, going with open source, you would enable a local programmer to make a living from open source software, allowing him or her to contribute to the OSS community in turn.
The educational pricing issue will be the deciding factor in whether I switch. Anil assured me that they really want to encourage, not discourage, educational use, and that their educational licensing will reflect that. I hope so.
The problem with WordPress, from what I can see, is that it doesn’t allow multiple blogs–something I need for the courseware.
I will see if TextPattern’s “sections” could work for that purpose…Steve, I’ll be interested to hear what your experiences are.
How about just staying with the 2.6x version? You don’t HAVE to upgrade and pay, or…?
i posted this over at liz lawley’s blog, but wanted to know what you thought too… with as many users as a class would have- maybe you’d find advantages in Drupal? … it has built-in support for multiple single author blogs.
Kairos news makes good use of this feature: http://kairosnews.org/blog
Druapl also has modules (like plugins) that people build, which are made for group communication. like who’s online, and a forum, etc. (these are optional installations)
I have moved on to Expression Engine as I was fortunate enough to get one of their free giveaways on Friday/Saturday. But I was already looking at a couple of different platforms for use with my own students.
I would suggest you take a look at B2evolution as it is free and supports user self-registration. The best place to go is http://opensourcecms.com as there are free demo’s of several different portals/blogging software.
Good luck with your decision.
Don’t forget about COREBlog from Zope. Its open source. I would be happy to give you a password to look around in my installation.
My blog is actually a home brew but I host COREBLogs for others including http://elili.com and http://maggieclare.com
Let me know if your interested in viewing admin sections.