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Service History

Here is some basic information about the evolution of the WordPress offering (now called Sites@Duke Express) for members of the Duke community. The scope of service is presented for historical reasons though not everything mentioned is still accurate. (For example, we do now accommodate custom URLs/domains.) This service history covers the beginning of the service only and does not cover after it moved to full production and availability.

Original Scope of Service from 2010

Duke’s basic WordPress service will remain focused on use within a pre-defined set of themes and plug-ins that users can choose to enable (or not) within their sites as they see fit; there is no charge to users. Custom approaches to WordPress (including graphic design, other themes & plug-ins, custom URLs, etc) can be accommodated through other campus and external service offerings, which may require payment for development, design, hosting, or other project costs.

Summer 2010

Behind the scenes work to transition the 2009-2010 Duke Digital Initiative WordPress pilot to a production service

  • Connecting the WordPress service to Duke NetID login
  • Establishing automated links to the official student information system, to add members of the course roster to course blogs automatically
  • Connecting the WordPress service to group management tools
  • Developing support model for ongoing WordPress service

August 2010

First semester of our production Duke WordPress service, focused on course use

  • Make the basic WordPress offering available (upon request) to all formal Duke curriculum courses (i.e. those formal undergraduate and graduate curriculum courses that have a course roster in the official student information system maintained by the Registrar’s office)
  • Two types of course uses enabled:
    • a single site for the entire course,
    • a top-level course site, with the possibility of sub-sites for one or members of the course (such as project teams, individual student sites, etc)
  • Implementation of ongoing support model: OIT Service Desk for basic user questions; instructional design consultations for faculty available through the Center for Instructional Technology; OIT OnDemand training available for introductory in-class training sessions (to be scheduled in advance)

Fall 2010

Monitoring course use of the Duke WordPress service and behind the scenes preparations to upgrade the software and expand availability

  • Monitoring and review of user feedback and help tickets for fall users, to inform management of technical support and consultation services
  • Technical planning for version upgrade to WordPress 3.x (to be completed by spring semester)
  • Technical and service planning to expand the availability of the basic WordPress service to individuals and ad-hoc groups
  • Development of community support model for individual and ad-hoc group use of basic WordPress service
  • Early functional testing of the WordPress basic service for individual and ad-hoc group use
  • Review of themes and plug-ins to make available in the WordPress 3.x version

Spring 2011

Delivery of ongoing basic WordPress service, in new upgraded version that is available to all members of the Duke community

  • Delivery of upgraded basic WordPress service (from the WPMU version used during the fall to WordPress 3.x)
  • Ongoing access for individual and ad-hoc groups, in addition to the established course uses
  • Ongoing outreach, technical support, training and consultation services