how i use movable type for educational purposes

Jason‘s the Shepherd for the Wordherders, and he’s already posted an entry on how the changes in MT’s payment schedule will affect our multiple blogs.

However, I also maintain a bunch of blogs over on Jeff‘s CHLT server, so I thought I’d describe how I use MT there and whether these changes will push me to adopt another content management system.

First of all, I’ve adopted Liz Lawley‘s brilliant MT Courseware hack for my classes. I’m sort of confused as to what the new pricing scheme is for MT 3.0, but my understanding is that the free version will allow for one author and three blogs. I like to leave my course websites online even after the course is finished, however, and so I’ll hit the three-blog limit pretty quickly if I upgrade.

Additionally, I have frequently assigned a game of Ivanhoe, using MT as the game platform. This requires me to add, temporarily, all 30 or so students as authors to my MT installation. I don’t think I’d be able to do this at all under the new rules.

For the above applications, two tasks are very inconvenient using MovableType. First, adding thirty new authors to the Ivanhoe games takes way too long; I’d prefer an HTML form that allows me to enter all thirty at once in a grid, rather than clicking my way through the same one-author-at-a-time form thirty times. Second, adding all the content for Liz’s MT Courseware takes way too long; again, a grid that allows you to enter multiple entries using one form would cut back on a very onerous task.

As long as MovableType was free, I was willing to put up with these inconveniences on the backend in exchange for the elegant beauty of the frontend. But if I’m going to be asked to pay, I’d have to think twice about whether such shortcomings were acceptable.

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2 thoughts on “how i use movable type for educational purposes

  1. George, my understanding is that blogs — and writers — have to be active in order to count under the new scheme, and the cut-off is, I believe, 60 days. In that case, old blogs, and blogs with multiple authors in the past, don’t count towards the totals. So you can leave up old course blogs.
    Also, there are the educational discounts that keep getting mentioned, but so far I haven’t read anything specific.
    I haven’t used Liz’s courseware yet — I was planning on doing it this summer — but what you write here concerns me.

  2. According to this this announcement, educational licenses will be pretty reasonable:

    These licenses can be bought for sites as small as a classroom ($39.95 for unlimited authors and weblogs within one classroom or for the classes of one teacher or professor) or as large as a complete school system or university.

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