Building a new website for P2PU
Since starting our peer learning adventures on 09/09/09, we’ve learned a tremendous amount about the technical and social needs of our users. We also learned that our first site was more a proof of concept than a platform that would grow with us. That’s why we decided to move to a new, more flexible, system. It will let our users pool ideas, form social groups and collaboratively learn from each other much more easily. It will help us track what is working and what is not, and allow us to make changes faster. And it will make it easier for other developers to add the features and functionality they would like to see.
What will be different?
The big ideas are still the same and the values that drive P2PU don’t change. But we will be trying out adjustments to the terminology and structure to give members of the P2PU community the freedom and flexibility to learn the way they want to – with each other.
Primarily, we are shifting the focus from courses to study groups. Study groups can form freely around topics and a topic can be as long and comprehensive as a course or as informal as a book club or self-contained project. Study groups will be built around a set of tasks and members of each group will be able to work through tasks together. A task can be a reading, a discussion, a piece of writing, coding or building a tool, and each task can last for an afternoon, a week or a few weeks. Study groups can be created and start at any time.
For those that are interested in the technical details, the current site was built with drupal. The new site is a fork of the batucada project that our friends at Mozilla are building. Our version is called lernanta.
We have put a lot of thought into these ideas and have gotten a lot of help from the community to get to this point. And we have built a beta version to let us prototype and test-drive. To check if the ideas are sound, make changes where needed, and do so as a community.
An early beta version of the new site is available at new.p2pu.org for testing, and we are planning to migrate completely by July this year.
What does this mean for courses and study groups right now?
Everyone is still warmly welcomed to use the current site p2pu.org for April courses. The current site is not a test environment and we have the orientation and the wisdom of past organizers in place.
Brave test pilots can also start using new.p2pu.org for their study groups. Please note, that this is an early beta version – not everything will be working as expected, and some features you expect might not be there at all. But we will be try to help as much as we can. A help desk on the new site let’s you report bugs, seek design guidance and communicate with other beta-users. We will also check in with everyone regularly, and ask them to share their impressions and feedback.
Become a beta tester
We’re all going to be learning how to use the site, and improve it together – which is very exciting! If you are interested in helping us beta-test, and want to set-up a study group on the prototype before we officially launch:
- Log-in at new.p2pu.org (your username and password from the current site will work)
- Register to the Help Desk http://new.p2pu.org/en-US/courses/p2pu-help-desk/
We want more feedback, input, and hands-on-deck to help make the new site great.
Join the development mailing list, review the project information on github where we store our source code, and check out what tasks might need your help on lighthouse.