Random Thoughts

Enough with Elgg moving to WordPress MU

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So in about mid October I installed our own installation of Elgg. I did it for two reasons:

1. It integrated with Moodle which we already use. That way if a student had an account in Moodle already, they could us the same username and login to get started using Elgg. The two would be linked giving more flexibility for blogging in Elgg but keep the Learning Management System of Moodle.

2. We were having more and more teachers wanting to blog and I was/am trying to find away to keep all those blogs in one place. We had 5th graders using Blogmeister, Middle Schoolers using their own WordPress installs, and another teacher using Edublogs. I wanted to try and find away to put all the blogs from the two campuses in one location and allow the students from both campuses the ability to interact with each other, comment to each other, and join communities with each other.

As much as I love the concept behind Elgg it’s been frustrating to work with. Not two days after the first class signed up with it we started getting an error message on our shared hosting site. It kept saying we were exceeding 20% of the CPU memory. I’ve trying to find an answer for this, send a number of e-mails, and posted it in the elgg.net community only to find out others have been having this problem as well. After 2 months of this happening and because it sits on the same site as our Moodle install and the error knocks Moodle down for awhile, I’ve decided to change.

Then there is the community thing. I love the idea, but in a school setting the administrator needs to have more control over those communities. You can’t delete them once they are created and anyone can create a community. In my opinion the admin interface needs a little more work, being able to quickly find users to reset passwords and such.

I know it’s still in beta and I take full responsibility for jumping out there with a program that isn’t fully developed yet…but oh the pain.

So, I’m in the process of setting up a WordPress MU site. I’ve been working with WordPress for over a year now and understand the coding a little bit. It also just has a bigger community, so answers are easily found within the MU support forum. Just a quick look through the support forums shows that edublogs own James Farmer has done a lot of work and continues to help WordPress MU become even better.

Now I’ve got to get my teachers away from using group blogs. They are having a hard time trying to figure out how to manage 70+ blogs. Instead they create 4 blogs and make every student a contributor to that blog. Which you can do, except that you have to add users one by one and only the admin can do it. So 1 1/2 hours later we have our first 72 users. Hopefully I can start getting teachers away from this group blogging format and into a individual blogging mode and really allow students to become creators and contributor to the world of knowledge.

[tags]WordPress MU, Edublogs, Moodle, Elgg[/tags]

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I started blogging in 2005 and found it such a powerful way to reflect and share my thinking about technology, this generation, and how we prepare students for their future not our past.


  1. Jeff-
    I’ll be interested to see how deploying WordPress multi-user works for you. I’ve chatted with Tim Lauer about it some and he seems to think it offers a good solution for his teachers at Lewis. For my “money” I’m inclined to thing that Drupal might offer an equally (if not more compelling) solution. In particular, using the multi-site feature of Drupal offers the capability to set up a large number of sites (similar to MU, though perhaps not quite as easily) while modules like the built-in news aggregator would allow teachers to subscribe to their students’ pages, etc.

  2. Actually, you probably wouldn’t even need to go multisite — a single Drupal site, set up with some combination of the Views module, and possibly the Organic Groups module, would probably get the job done very nicely.

    Doing this in Drupal would give you the ability to do social bookmarking, podcasting, embedded video, as well as effectively keep track of student work.

  3. Have you thought of going with Edublog’s Campus? Is it not the same as WordPress MU except there doing the hosting.

    • Keep in mind this article was created December of 2006 at which point (as the author mentioned), the ELGG software was still in beta.

      The current version is 1.5 and I can only imagine its improved since.

      • Actually, that the school I’m at now we are using Elgg. It’s still nnot smooth but it has some great features for schools. They have made a lot of changes since the early betas it’s almost not the same program.

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  5. Perhaps you may want to start by defining your social media networking requirements:

    1.) What social media networking features would you like to have?
    Multi User Blogging, Lifestreaming, Podcasting, Twittering, Facebooking etc. then look at the costs of implementing it.

    The costs are not just about the money you spend it is muchj more about the time you invest in working and re-working your social media solutions.

    WordPress Mu is great, but is that what you need? Why do you think that will be a better solution?


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  7. Hi,Jeff. Elgg is now so much different and improved a lot. Im using it to support volunteers for a church community. Don’t know if you still have a use for it but it might me worth looking at Elgg.org aggain

  8. Hello Jeff. It is nice to hear that you moved because the system was frustrating to you. Nowadays elgg is very powerful, less resource intensive and very feature rich.

    Drupal is much more than that but since the release of drupal 7, even the users are complaining on shared hosting.

    My website http://www.uphondo.com is built on elgg which I consider to be the best social networking engine.

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