The European community of school leadership

minceillusionInternet and Web Development

Jul 30, 2012 (4 years and 11 months ago)

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Building the
European community of school leadership

The Functional requirements

Version
3
.0



This is a working document. Everything is open for discussion and is not final in any way.

Several parts need further documentation and desk research is
needed.
















Fred Verboon

January
11
th
,
201
1


Content




Part I
: Introduction

Summary










3


Part II:

General
requirements

A: The basics










5

B: The functionality









12

C: Social media









17



Part III: The ideal solution


D:

Choosing a platform








19

E: The solutions









23


F: Cost estimations









26



Part IV: The budget option


G: Building a community








28

H: The ESHA business case








3
1

I: The next steps









3
2


Part I
: Introduction


Summary

The aim of
ESHA and
its’ associated
2
4 national organisations of school leaders is

to im
prove the quality,
activity and effectiveness

of
European school leadership

by providing the missi
ng link: a sustainable
community of school leaders, policy makers, res
earch organizations, teachers and other stake holders
across Europe.

The
refore, the

immediate ESHA
aim is to build a
pan
-
European
community of over 87.000 school
leaders, researchers, policy makers and o
ther stake holders to mutually support school leader
ship
.

ESHA
and its associations will
fully use the established social media platforms and
create a dynamic,
multilingual and regularly updated web
-
portal with web
-
tools and methodologies to support
the
identification,
exchange
and promotion
o
f information
and best practice
s

related to schools and school
leadership
.

The web portal will be based upon:



The national issues and priorities for p
articipating countries

and their member organisations



EC issues
related to Policy and Practice



Appropriate

and relevant

research



Development of relationships with other global
organizations



EU

and national policy documents



Communicating the p
rogress

and outcomes

achieved by the network

to all members and related
parties


In order to be successful

in achieving
these aims
, ESHA will initiate high impact programs to:




enable best practice
to be identified and shared




publish information and scientific articles on innovative developments in school leadershi
p and
national and EU policies



provide information on mobi
lity/exchange schemes to improve European collaboration



facilitate

and encourage

exchange between the community members (policy makers, school
heads, re
searchers, other stakeholders)



undertake policy analysis and research on school leadership to support e
vidence based
recommendations



disseminate information to policy makers and the research community



provide input
to peer learning and policy development in related areas (

eg
Teacher educat
ion,
curriculum development, and



establish and manage the portal an
d network infrastructure to facilitate exchange
activity
between the communities
.


The
themes


The portal will be instrumental in building the community of school leaders, researchers and policy
makers. Ideally,
most
members will actively contribute to
the social media groups
by adding personal
experi
ences, papers and best practice
.

All the information and work will be clustered around central themes. These themes are issues that
individual school leaders face in their day to day operation.

In 2011;
ESHA will start with 7

themes and

ESHA will initiate and manage high impact programs to
ad
dress the following

issues:

1 Administrative work load for school leaders

Many local associations for school leadership have reported that their members feel overburd
ened with
too many administrative tasks so they cannot spend as much time as they like on increasing their
l
eadership skills, professionalis
ing their schools, coaching and evaluating the teachers and assisting
the
successful induction of
new teachers

to th
e profession
.

2

The European School Leadership Academy

In the EC, a number of school leadership academies offer interesting content to school leaders. National
association
s

of sc
hool leaders in countries such as
The Netherlands have established national s
chool
leadership academies, like the NSA (
www.nsanederland.nl
)

whilst in some countries the government(s)
have their own academies eg

NCSL (UK)
www.nationalcolleg
e.org.uk

.These

sub
-
site
s

will

include web
based learning facilities

with free access to all members across Europe
. Together with the European
Commission and the local a
ssociations of school heads, this

network will deliver high impact training
material f
or school leaders across Europe

Alongside

these main issues, the portal will also include documents

to address the following areas

identified by the local associations:

3
Autonomy of schools and the consequences for school leaders and teachers

4
Reduced
budgets

5
School leader recruitment & attainment


6
Quality of
e
ducation & teacher skills


For every theme, a sub
-
platform will be created.
D
ocument sharing and community involvement are the
two main
objectives
of the portal




Part II:

General
requirements

A: The basics

A1: Documents

The main objective of the portal is to enable school leaders to learn from the research documents and
best practice
s

f
rom

their European counter parts.
To become more widely shared between members
with
ESHA and
its
national associations

initiating and managing
programs to drive

such innovation and

change. Th
ese programs will fuel the portal with
research documents, e
-
learning content

and
best
practice
s
. ESHA and its partners will
engag
e

the policy makers

to ensure up

to date information related
to the school leadership agenda is accessed quickly and readily at the school level
.

The portal will contain a large number of files that

individual
members
can
download and review.

Information overload

The portal will contain

i
nformation in a variety of

ways. Research documents, feedback from school
leaders, best practices may all be very valuable to individual school leaders. However, documents and
research documents in particular tend to be lengthy documents.
Often,

due to t
he length of these
documents, valuable information will not be read by the target audiences
because of either a
lack of
time or the overload of documents.

To minimize these

risk
s
, the following
is advised
:

1 Maximize the number of pages that a document sh
ould consist of.

Th
e original research document will

be published in its original length. However, for each document, a
summary will be drafted. The length of these documents
will
depend on the relevance of the
documents.


The following is advised:

-

Sour
ce documents: full length, in its original language only

-

Summaries:

o

Very relevant: maximum 7 pages

o

Relevant: maximum 5 pages

o

Feedback: maximum 3 pages


2 Rate the files

It is advised that members of the audience are enabled to rate individual files

throu
gh online feedback
.
This way, relevant files are likely to be read more often. Members of the audience tend to feel more
appreciated when they are given the opportunities to rate files

and to comment on site content
.




A2: Multilingual

Earlier
, we
described how ESHA could potentially avoid infor
mation overload. In this section
, we
describe how this information w
ill be published in the most common

languages: English, French,
German and Spanish

The document flow starts with a source document. This sou
rce document is the original document
created by the person who has written the report. The pr
evious pages describe that this source
document can

be summarized in English, French, German or Spanish and offered for translation.

The basic idea is that only
summarized documents will
be
translated. This will enable ESHA to:

1 Substantially decrease its translation costs

2 Minimize the risks of information overload.


Managing translation costs

The easiest


but
by far the most expensive way


is to translate
the documents through a contract with
a

professional translation agency. On average, a translation services will costs 15 cents for every word.
The best quote known to the author of this document is 11 cents per word for a long term contract.

To signific
antly reduce the costs for translation services, ESHA could consider the following:

1

Appoint a
Local C
ontact
P
erson

within the National Association that
is
responsible for
translation services in
the UK,
Germany, France and Spain
. These people

will be res
ponsible for
the quality and supervision of the translations.

2

Attract students that major in educational studies to actually translate the documents

into their
first language
. These students should at least have a very solid understanding of the English
la
nguage. Original documents may be translated using free services like Google Translate and
then further adjusted to meet local grammar specifications.

The procedures

A member of the audience submits a document for publication. This may be a research
er, a
n educator
or a school leader
. The site includes a functionality to easily submit relevant files. A button initiates an e
-
mail to the
Local Contact Person

in
that particular
country.

The
L
ocal
C
ontact
Person

receives the file, scans the document for relevance, summarizes the document
and sends it to the
Topic Owner
. In order to stream line operations, only documents in English, Spain,
French and German are allowed to be forwarded to the topic owner. (Local ass
ociation may apply for
budgets to finance the translation)

The
Topic Owner

is responsible for the content of each of the 7 (3 major + 4 subs sites: page 3) sub sites.

The
topic owner

receives the file and sends it to the
L
ocal
C
ontact
P
ersons

for transl
ation
.

After translation of the summary,
t
he
topic owner

then publishes the source document and the
translation on the sub site. A content management system enables the
topic owner

to publish and
further manage the content of
his/her
sub site.

In order to

stream line the operations, ESHA and the local associations will agree on the maximum
number of days required to translate a file

and, therefore, agree on
remuneration

for the cost
.

To secure a minimum of work load

for the translators
, ESHA may opt to in
clude the magazine articles for
translation as well.


A3: Managing the
portal

The new ESHA site will be a very valuable source for information on the relevant topics if ESHA succeeds
in managing the site and its documents properly.

The previous chapters o
ut lined the
flow and
management
of the documents, in which
it is very clear that
the
T
op
ic
O
wner

plays a very important
role.

The site itself also needs to be managed. Therefore, the following distribution of tasks is advised:

The
site manager:

manages the content management system, instructs and helps
T
opic
Owners

with the
publication of the files, manages the contacts with the hosting organization, creates manuals for the
topic managers, manages the content load in the system,

Profile of the
site manager:

-

High level of dedication

-

Interested in new technologies, member of internet communities

-

No programming skills required

-

Knowledge of the English language

-

Good reporting skills


Based upon past experiences and the highly distributed character
of the organization, it is advised to
appoint a site manager for 20
-
24 hours a week, preferably 4
-
5 hours a day.


The
T
opic
O
wners:

are responsible for the content on each
of the 7
sub site
s
. They decide, together with
the local contact persons within th
e local associations which documents will be translated and published
(and those who do not.)

Profile of the
T
opic
Owner
:

-

Good understanding of the English language

-

Highly motivated person

-

Background as a school
leader

-

Willing and able to spend at least 1

hour per day on the portal


The
L
ocal
C
ontact
P
ersons:
Every participating National Association assigns a person who acts as a
contact person. Each person will:

-


ensure that the ESHA portal is promoted on the site
s

of the National Associations

-

act as a
ambassador to ensure that their local issues are properly addressed by ESHA

-

receive portal submissions, scan these documents for relevance and summarizes them before
sending them to the topic owner.

-

(only in Germany, France, Spain and England) manages the

translation of all relevant content on the
site

-

Manages the budgets that ESHA has granted the local association

-

Ensures and manages the local activities for ESHA.


Profile of
the
Local Contact Person
:

-

Good understanding of the English language

-

Highly
motivated person

-

Background as a school
leader

-

Willing and able to spend 4 to 8 hours per week on this program.

-

People management skills



A
4: Site infrastructure

The ESHA community is highly distributed

across

Europe. Therefore, it is advised to
centrall
y
host both
the portal and the content management system, so topic owners are enabled to publish relevant files
directly on the internet.


The majority of people

in the working groups
do not have technical skills. Therefore it is essential that
the content

management system is very well documented, easy to use and requires no technical skills

It is advised that the portal and the content management system will be hosted to accommodate the
traffic of the potential target audience of 87000 people. It is expec
ted that 3 to 4% of this audience will
be very active on this site and will spend about an hour per week on this site. The next 20% will
frequently visit the site and the rest will occasionally visit the site. This large majority will probably visit
the si
te after being notified by ESHA or after having read an interesting article in the ESHA Magazine.

It is expected that the maximum load of simultaneous visitors will only occasionally exceed 100 persons.





A5
Simplified sign
-
on

In general, the site does
not contain information that needs to be treated as confidential. However,
ESHA do want to actively address the members of the audience to inform and build community loyalty.
Therefore, it is advised that the members sign
-
in when they want to visit the sub
-
portals. Sign
-
in with
their user name only may be good solution.

Upon first entering the site, members need to profile
themselves
,

similarly to Facebook
.
(further
information on FaceBook is given in Chapter D)
The required information need to be as basic as possible.
It is however advised to register:

-

User name

-

Email address

-

Country

-

Profession


Upon first registration the portal also stores the IP address. By connecting the IP address to the e
-
mail
address, the portal could allow members to easily enter the portal by pre listing their user name. The
user could then enter the site by simply pressi
ng the enter button. An alternative is to automatically log
-
in by registering the IP address. This may only be the case if an IP Address and thus the PC is only used
by 1 person. If this person uses another PC, (and thus a different IP address) he needs to

enter the site
by giving his e
-
mail address.



Language implications

The portal stores the computer

s IP address upon entering the portal. The system could then iden
tify
from the visitor their

residential country.


The portal could then trigger the lang
uage settings, so
that
each visitor will be displayed with the
correct language when they enter the portal. However, the portal will only be available in English,
Spanish, French and German. This may lead to difficulties in countries like Switzerland and B
elgium. In
this option, each National Association will need to decide which language setting it prefers.

An interesting option is to set the standard language setting on English and let the visitor decide which
language it prefer by clicking a language b
utton. The system could then store the language setting per IP
Address, so the next time a person logs in using that IP Address (or PC), the system will then display the
correct language.

The above language settings may have implications for the system ES
HA will choose. Not all
functionalities may be supported by the system of choice.



IP Addresses

IP Addresses are very useful for choosing the appropriate language, for simplified login and even for
commercial purposes. IP addresses contain information ab
out the visitor location thus making it
valuable for local or regional commercial parties.

Upon entering the portal, the system could identify the country the visitor is in. The system could then
display the appropriate local advertisements, making it
a very strong offer for local commercial parties.

It is advised to give particular attention the community

s sensitivity for commercial messages. ESHA and
the Local Associations need to balance the commercial activities and pro actively communicate that

commercial parties fund the operational costs of the port
al. Too much commercial messaging

may
alienate community members.


A
6
: Building the community

The portal and its content facilitate the community. In order to actively build the community, ESHA
nee
ds to continuously and proactively engage the community
, offer new social media functionality
and
reward active members.

Pro actively engage community members.

Generat
ing traffic and involving individual members are key to

building the community. The most
important way to build
such
a database of

individual

members
hip

is to distribute the free ESHA
magazine among the members.

ESHA could generate traffic by:

-

set up web logs on the main issues addressed by the content owner
s

-

include ESHA on Facebook and LinkedIn and post the most relevant topics there

-

Post relevant messages on Twitter


-

include banners on local associations


web sites,

-

include ESHA messages and URL

s in newsletters from the local associations,

-

hosting local association sites,

-

RSS

feeds

-

offer social media functionality

(Social Media like FaceBook and Twitter are explained in Chapter D)


It is clear that the members of ESHA need to step up and commit to building the community. Including
social

media in its strategy will enable the ESHA members to understand why social media is a part of
the life style of many students.




Recognize active contributors:

Recognition is a key driver for community loyalty. The majority of community members that c
ontribute
to the community will appreciate if they are rewarded for their efforts. Recognition is a key driver.

In order to reward loyal contributors, ESHA may implement the following levels of recognition:

1 Most valuable professional (MVP)

Status: list
ed on the site, discount when visiting conferences, special seminar for MVP during
congresses, free e
-
learning content

2 Recognized Authority (RA)

Benefits: MVP benefits + taking part in the programs + member of the review board + positive
reference at Nat
ional Association + positive reference at Local policy makers + column at the sub
sites.


B
:

The
functionality

B1
:

The h
ome page

The home page of ESHA should reflect the ambitions of ESHA and its Local Associations. The new logo
and proposed lay
-
out will be implemented on all pages of the portal. ESHA may want to consider
implementing a very short, highly graphical introduction to a
ll new visitors (= IP addresses unknown to
the system)

It is advised that the home page should not include too much information and that all relevant
information should fit the Lay
-
out of an average PC Screen.

The homepage could contain:

-

Logo ESHA:

-

Links:

o

ESHA explained

o

Member
N
ational
A
ssociations

o

Contact & further information

-

News items

-

The ESHA Magazine ; free magazine head line + short article + link to
www.eshamagazine.com

-

Agenda

-

Column
and link to we
b log of
the ESHA P
resident

-

Work in progress: Administrative Work Load, Exchange, European School leadership academy,

-

List of relevant topics: Autonomy of schools, reduced budgets, school leader recruitment &
attainment, Quality of Education & teacher skil
ls

-

Poll


It is advised that the home page should not contain too much data.




B2: Sub site 1: Administrative work load for school leaders.

Introduction:

-

Many local associations for school leadership have reported that their members feel overburdened
with

too many administrative tasks so they cannot spend as much time as they like on increasing
their leadership skills, professionalizing their schools, coaching and evaluating the teachers and
assisting new teachers

to become successfully inducted into the p
rofession
.

The portal should reflect the work that is done by the ESHA members. In this portal, the content will
highly likely consist of:

A

document and knowledge library:
The knowledge library will consist of articles written by members
of the ESHA teams, research documents and documents and guide lines from the European Commission.

It is advised that the files should be divided into categories and that per category the mo
st highly rated
files will be shown at the top of the list. Only the top 10 files per category will be shown, all other will be
listed in a sub
-
page.

The ESHA program members will draft a country report on Administrative work load. All the country
specific

reports need to be listed.

Next to the country reports, all members could give input through answering questions in a
Questionnaire.
The results of the questionnaires will be shown to the people who have participated and
included in the country reports

Best Practices
: Best practices are a great way to increase adoption of relevant programs. Early adaptors
and contributors will be acknowledged as a Most Valuable Professional. ESHA will ensure that a MVP are
recognized.

Links to LinkedIn, Facebook and

Twitter
:
Twitter, LinkedIn and Facebook are used to build the
community. On these media, users can post replies and relevant messages.
It is advised to:

1

set up a LinkedIn community on all relevant topics

2

set up a web log for each issue addressed by the

community

(Social media like Twitter, Facebook and Linkedin are further explained in
chapter D
)


Next to the reports, questionnaire and best practices this portal will include:



A weekly updated news section.



Advice and best practices on common issues



A
separate section devoted to educational research reports and findings



Work done by ESHA



B
3
: Sub site
2
: The European School Leadership Academy

-

In the EC, a number of school leadership academies offer interesting content to school leaders.
National assoc
iation
s

of school leaders in countries like the United Kingdom and The Netherlands
already
have established
relations with
national school leadershi
p academies, such as

the NSA
(
www.nsanederland.nl
) and NCSL (UK)
www.nationalcollege.org.uk


This portal should reflect available e
-
learning content from participating national

This sub

portal should contain:

-

An overview of participating school leadership academies
and their specialism

-

Agenda on relevant seminars and congresses

-

E
-
learning content.

The portal will

include valuable e
-
learning content. Depending on the need
for e
-
learning and the available budgets, ESHA could decide to offer e
-
learning facilities or to
out
-
source this to third parties.

-

A section devoted to educational research reports and findings

-

A weekly updated news section.

-

Interesting reports, advice and best practices on common issues

-

Links to LinkedIn, Facebook and Twitter
:
Twitter, LinkedIn and

Facebook are used to build the
community. On these media, users can post replies and relevant messages.
It is advised to:

o

set up a LinkedIn community on all relevant topics

o

set up a web log for each issue addressed by the community


(Social media like
Twitter, Facebook and Linkedin are further explained in chapter
D
)





B
4
: Other interesting topics = Sub sites
3

to
6


In 2011, ESHA will start building the community and addressing the key issues that national association
have identified. In the first year, ESHA will focus on Administrative Work Load and establishing the
European School Leadership Academy.



Next to the
se issues, the national association
s

also indentified the following issues:




Autonomy of schools



Reduced budgets



School leader recruitment & attainment



Quality of
e
ducation & teacher skills


For each of the above issues, a sub portal will be created and
relevant content will be displayed. It is
advised that all content will only be published in English and that local associations may themselves
decide whether to translate the relevant files, based upon relevance to their audiences.

Therefore, the sub por
tals

3

to
6

will mainly consist of:

A Document and knowledge library.
The knowledge library will consist of articles written by Heads of
Schools, policy makers and researchers that may be of interest on the specific issues.

Best Practices
: Best practic
es are a great way to increase adoption of relevant programs. Early adaptors
and contributors will be acknowledged as a Most

Valuable School Director. The P
resident of ESHA will
ensure that a MVSD will be recognized on a local level.

Links to LinkedIn, F
acebook and Twitter
:
Twitter, LinkedIn and Facebook are used to build the
community. On these media, users can post replies and relevant messages.
It is advised to:

1

set up a LinkedIn community on all relevant topics

2

set up a web log for each issue addre
ssed by the community


(Social media like Twitter, Facebook and Linkedin are further explained in chapter
D
)



Useful links








B
5
: The team members


portal


This part of the portal is hidden from visitors of the portal and only accessible for team members. The
main objective of this portal is to stream line the document exchange between the
L
ocal
C
ontact
P
ersons, the
T
opic
O
wners, the translators and the
S
ite
M
anager
.

Therefore, this portal should be username & password protected. All visitors of this portal, which could
be a standard hosted SharePoint Portal, should easily upload and download files.


Preferably, the document lists should be organized so it re
flects to authorizations from the responsible
persons.


So the portal should be divided in the following sections:

1

new source documents and summaries sent in by the local contact persons

2

documents that are assigned to the translators

3

translated documents
ready for review by the local contact persons

4

translated documents ready for publication

5

published documents


Given the limited
budget, it is advised to use Google Docs
. (see chapter
D

for further explanation)




























C
: Social media


Social media defined

Social media is a collection of internet technologies that enables users to rapidly find and exchange
information. That includes short messages, files, sound, video and pictures. The main objective of many
social media solutions is to

build communities of people that share the same interest.

Using social media will enable ESHA to rapidly build community awareness and increase traffic to its
portal. In order to succeed, the ESHA board members must set an example and start building pres
ence.

The social media landscape consist
s

of
a large number of platforms. T
he most well known
and
widely
used solutions are Facebook, YouTube, Linkedin, Twitter

and
WikiPedia
.

In social media,
users play a

key role. Users upload
messages
to a site
so
they can share their ideas,
activities, opinion
,

etc with
other people
.

This information is often referred to as
u
ser generated
content
. The owner of the solution usually just facilitates their members. They do not interfere with the
content.

The most wel
l known social media networks
and technologies
are:

1
Twitter

Twitter is a service for sharing short messages. Originally, Twitter was meant to update friends on your
activities. In recent years, Twitter has developed into the most up to date news source.

Twitter consists
of structured, very small messages posted by millions of people.
The following video explains the value
of Twitter:
http://www.schoolleadership20.com/video/1990010:Video:4942



2 Linked in

LinkedIn

is a business
-
oriented

social networking site and is ma
inly used for

professional networking
.
LinkedIn has more than 80 million registered users, spanning more than 200 countries and territories
worldwide. Linked is built around user profiles and include
s

Twitter m
essages.
LinkedIn is mainly used to
indentify interesting people
and companies
and
track t
heir
specialism and
activities
. People that share
the same interest may join a LinkedIn group.

3
MySpace

MySpace
is regarded as an important life style community for
the youth. People share their ideas and
interest on this site. Because MySpace has appealed to many young people, even several rock bands has
been discovered on MySpace. Since september 2008, MySpace has lost many visitors. It has dropped
from the 4th to
the 11th most visited sites world wide.


4 Windows Live Groups

Windows Live Groups

is an online service by

Microsoft
as part of its

Windows Live r
ange of services that
enable users to create their social groups for sharing, discussion and coordination.

Windows Live Groups
was released on December 2, 2008

and replaced MSN Groups.

The Windows Live Groups service is
optimized for small groups like clubs or families, whereas MSN Groups cater
ed

to a wide variety of
group sizes and types, including large publi
c groups.


5

B
logs

(Web Logs)

The following video explains Blogs:

http://www.schoolleadership20.com/video/1990010:Video:213



It is advised that each
ESHA will search for persons
that are willing to “adopt”

one issue and start a web
log on that issue.
They
should also post messages on Twitter and Facebook (which can be done
automatically because FaceBook and twitter are interlinked.
)



6

RSS

Offering
RSS (Really Simple Syndicatio
n) functionality makes it possible to p
ush new information on a
web site to people that have subscribed to this service.

Once the new content has been published on
the web site, the subscribers will receive the new content
i
n a RSS Viewer
.

E.g.: a web site visitor can subscribe to the RSS service and will automatically receive the
new
content

in
a RSS viewer. If a person subscribes to several sites, all sites will automatically send the information to
the person his RSS Viewer.


The followi
ng video explains the value of RSS
:

http://www.schoolleadership20.com/video/1990010:Video:215




7
Google
D
ocs

Google Docs is an application that enables teams to share and work on

documents on the internet.
This
application could be used to share this document with you, our readers. By posting in on Google Docs, it
will not be necessary to e
-
mail the document to you, but simply post in on the web and send the link to
you. The most
useful benefit is that by posting it on the web, multiple people could comment on the
document without having to worry about version control.


The following video explains the value of Google Docs:

http://www.schoolleadership20.com/video/1990010:Video:211






Part III
:
The ideal solution


D: Choosing a platform


Most web sites are built from scratch.
Based upon the functional design, a

IT architect draws up
the technical specifications and a team of developers start building the solution.

The advantages of building a fully custom made site are clear: the solution will be fully tailored
to the specifications of the customer and will the
refore suit most of its needs. The down sides
are that the costs and the risks associated with building a fully customized solution are
substantial.


In the market space, there are two dominant technologies: .NET technologies from Microsoft
and PHP (Perso
nal Home Page) from the Linux community.

The .NET technology from Microsoft is widely used by corporations to build interactive web
sites. The main benefits of .NET are that developers are very productive and that it is relatively
easy to build web site
s that are integrated with applications.

PHP

is a language designed to build dynamic web

pages. PHP is designed in 1994
by
Rasmus Lerdorf
,
a

senior
software engineer

at
IBM
.

PHP is predominantly used by the Open Source community as an
alternative to Microsoft’s
dominant market position.


Although building a site from scratch is common practice, one may want to question why one
wants to build a site if comparable solutions are available. Several companies are marketing
solutions that are used as common bases (hal
f way product), which on top of companies are
building customer specific solutions. These solutions are commonly called portals.



D1: P
ortals


There are different kinds of portals available on the market space.
The vast majority of portal vendor
s
specia
liz
e in
building enterprise portals
.
Enterprises use web sites that are integrated with applications
and are used to interact with employees, partners and customers.

Enterprises store data in a number of sources. These may be databases, applications, web
pages
, mail,
etc. Enterprise portals enable people to work with one web interface that contains functionality and
data from a number of different applications and data sources.
This way, employees just use the portal
instead of several back
-
end applicatio
ns. The following example demonstrates the advantages of
enterprise portals:

Eg: Suppose that you work at a firm that sells mortgages. A client calls and wants to know if he can get a
mortgage. Normally a mortgage advisor
would
look in different applicatio
ns like: credit history,
insurance packages, the income of the client, the status of the house, selling prices of comparable
houses, etc.

Enterprise portals enable the
mortgage advisor to use 1 web site
(the portal) and
see
all
relevant information without

him
having to access and look for all this information

in different
applications
.


The market potential is huge
and
the benefits are clear. These portals excel in combining applications

and data sources
.



The major vendors and their solutions are:


Oracle WebLogic Portal
, formerly BEA WebLogic Portal, is a portal framework for creating interactive
composite applications with a
n
integrated set of tools for Java developers and strong support for
standards. Oracle WebLogic Portal's framework provides pe
rsonalized application delivery that engages
customers and standardizes application architecture.

IBM
WebSphere
. IBM portal software is designed to interoperate and utilize content from a variety of
third
-
party systems, included various server platforms, d
atabase systems, and other third party
applications. In addition, IBM portals support the latest open standards
.

Microsoft Office SharePoint
Server
2010

Microsoft SharePoint 2010 makes it easier for people to work
togeth
er. Using SharePoint 2010,
people can set up Web sites to share information with others, manage
documents from start to finish, and publish reports
. Unlike most other portal vendors, sharing
documents is at the heart of the system. Microsoft is n
amed a
Leader in Gartner's Magic Quadrant for
Horizontal Portals
.

SAP NetWeaver Portal

unifies key information and applications to give users a single view that spans IT
silos and organizational boundaries. It allows users to take advantage of all information resources .

Oracle WebCenter Suite

is an open, and manageable portal platform tha
t integrates
e
nterprise
capabilities into business processes and custom and packaged enterprise applications to create
connections and deliver faster time
-
to
-
value. Its unified, standards
-
based portal framework supports the
creation of all types of portal
s, Web sites, and composite applications and is designed to enable business
users to evolve these applications as their business requirements change.

Redhat JBoss Enterprise Portal Platform
enables organizations to quickly build dynamic websites in a
highly reusable way.

Liferay Portal

is an enterprise web platform for building business solutions that deliver immediate
results and long
-
term value. Get the benefits of packaged applications an
d an enterprise application
framework in a single solution. Liferay ios used by the fortune 500 companies in the world.

GAT
E
LN
This next
-
generation portal framework is an open source project co
-
developed by eXo and Red
Hat / JBoss, and is a major component

of eXo Core Services. Create a meaningful user experience for
Java applications by providing ways for users to interact in forums, and find more credible information in
Answers and FAQs.

Open Text: Vignette Portal

20

OpenText Communities of Practice (form
erly Livelink ECM
-

Communities
of Practice) unites the cross
-
functional users that exist in different teams and projects across an
organization, leveraging the collaborative power of popular Web social networking tools

(Blog, Twitter,
etc)
. Employees with

similar challenges can reach out to one another, weaving new social networks to
share news, ideas and opportunities, establish standards and best practices, and work more effectively
with customers and partners.

Gartner has drafted the following quadrant
for choosing a vendor:


Figure 1. Magic Quadrant for Horizontal Portals



Source: Gartner (September 2010)





D2
:

Community software


Community solutions are designed to build communities and customer loyalty. Most solutions are built
around profiles. Community members profile themselves and identify other persons that share the
same hobby, have the same needs or may even be customers of

the same company.

The benefits for companies are clear: use the community to gain insight into customer profiles, tighten
the relationship with the customers and thus increase brand loyalty, s
cale
the
customer support

capacity by utilizing the
community
, etc.


The best well known examples of community software are dating sites. A person fills in his or her
profiles and looks for persons to get acquainted with. The persons that are members of this community
communicate to each other and share experiences
.



Community Server
by
Telligent

Telligent’s Community Server solution is a community solution that is designed to profile persons,
communicate with relations and build communities. The Telligent solution is one of the leading
community software solution
s.


Telligent’s core is a database of profiles. The aims are:



Gain insights directly from customers to enhance marketing and spur innovation.



Scale your customer support community, reducing costs and speeding response time.



Drive revenue and increase
brand loyalty by connecting satisfied customers with prospects.



Engage in relevant two
-
way conversations with your most influential customers.

The Telligent solution requires persons to profile themselves, visit the site regularly, give feedback and
be p
erceptible for the company’s messages. Therefore, this solution may only be applicable for services
or products that appeals to persons on a high level. It requires a high level of commitment from
individual members and therefore applicable for a limited
number of services and products.


Another down side is that customers’ negative feedback may snowball into negative perception of
potential customers.


More information about this solution can be found at:
http://telligent.com/products/telligent_community/







E
:

The
solutions


In the previous chapters,
the requirements and relevant
platform
s

ha
ve

been identified.

The most
suitable solution is a mix of social media exposure and
setting up a portal to facilitate the work of the
community.



The
required
functionalit
ies


In chapters A and B, we discussed the requirements. The overview below lists the most important ones:



Desired functionality

Relevance





File upload and
down load capabilities

Very high

Graphical capabilities

Moderate

Multi lingual

Very high

Contributor acknowledgement

High

RSS feeds

High

Easy log
-
in capacity

High

Profile database

Very high

Extremely easy content management system

Very high

File rating

High

Comments

Moderate

Poll possibilities

High

Enquiry / reporting

High

Video conferencing

Low

Streaming video

Low

Document flow capabilities

High

E
-
learning

Moderate




In Chapter
D
, the most interesting platform vendors are outlined. Given the above listed requirements
and the available budgets, we have further looked into the portal solutions of
Microsoft and IBM. Next
to these platform vendors,
The Telligent

solution

may also be
v
ery interesting.




When comparing these alternative solutions, the following comparison is fair:


Microsoft SharePoint Server
















Desired functionality

Relevance

Score

Comments










File upload and down load capabilities

Very high

Very

good




Graphical capabilities

Moderate

Moderate

standard templates



Multi lingual

Very high

Moderate

Possible, not standard



Profile database

Very high

Yes

Windows directory



Document flow capabilities

High

Yes




Low price point

Very high

Good

moderate price point




IBM WebSphere
















Desired functionality

Relevance

Score

Comments










File upload and down load capabilities

Very high

Moderate




Graphical capabilities

Moderate

High




Multi lingual

Very high

High




Profile database

Very high

Yes




Document flow capabilities

High

Moderate




Low price point

Very high

Very low

very expensive




Telligent web server
















Desired functionality

Relevance

Score

Comments










File upload and down load
capabilities

Very high

Moderate




Graphical capabilities

Moderate

High




Multi lingual

Very high

High




Profile database

Very high

Very good




Document flow capabilities

High

Moderate




Low price point

Very high

Moderate

expensive







Concluding:

IBM WebSphere is predominantly used by the top finance, banking and insurance
companies.
WebSphere portals often include integrations with mainframe applications. WebS
here
solutions are
often
state of the art solution
s but
unfortunately far too expensive for ESHA.


The Telligent solution is built around community profiles and may include document sharing. The ESHA
solution will be document based and therefore

seems less suitable for ESHA. However, Telligent’s
community app
roach may be an interesting option for the for the Exchange opportunities in due time.


Based upon this table, we should conclude that Microsoft SharePoint Server is the best option
considering that Microsoft SharePoint Server has the lowest price point an
d is built around documents.


As discussed earlier, Microsoft Office SharePoint Server is not a finish product and need ex
tensive
alterations to meet the requirements of ESHA
.


In order to decrease the work that needs to be done to build
the
ESHA solution
, we have looked for
comparable portal solutions.
Several solutions like
www.wortell.nl

and

www.AVS.nl


fit nicely. Given the
ties between ESHA and AVS, it is advised to further explore

the possibilities to build the ESHA solution
on top of the AVS foundations.

P
S
: It is remarkable that AVS has chosen SharePoint because the AVS portal does not make use of the
main benefit of SharePoint:
s
haring
d
ocuments
.



E
2: AVS implementation on Mi
crosoft SharePoint Server 2007.


AVS has implemented a community portal on SharePoint Portal Server. AVS has chosen this platform
because it is relatively easy to use and very suitable for environments in which documents play a vital
role.


This AVS impl
ementation is very interesting because:

-

The AVS portal addresses the same audience

-

AVS has implemented a very user friendly Content Management System

-

AVS has solved several other issues like sign
-
on, RSS and job listing.

-

The AVS implementation is almost
without custom build alterations

-

AVS is associated with ESHA and has extensive knowledge of their solution


The AVS implementation does have the following negative aspects:

-

The AVS implementation does not offer multi
-
lingual capabilities
.

-

The AVS portal look and feel is not very exciting; the home page lay
-
out
could be better
.




AVS Portal implementation
















Desired functionality

Relevance

Score

Comments










File upload and down load capabilities

Very high

Yes




Graphical capabilities

Moderate

Moderate




Multi lingual

Very high

No

SharePoint does offer this

Contributor acknowledgement

High

No




RSS feeds

High

Yes




Easy log
-
in capacity

High

Yes

Custom build by AVS

Profile database

Very high

Yes




Extremely easy content management system

Very high

Yes

Custom build by AVS

File rating

High

Yes




Comments

Moderate

No




Poll possibilities

High

Yes




Enquiry / reporting

High

Yes




Video conferencing

Low

No




Streaming video

Low

No




Document flow capabilities

High

No

SharePoint does offer this

E
-
learning

Moderate

No




Low price point

Very high

Yes









F
:
Costs estimation


Building the portal


Based upon the information we have available, the following steps needs to be undertaken should ESHA
choose to adopt and change the solution that AVS has build upon SharePoint Portal Server:




Document the current AVS portal solution



Document the current AVS content management system



Copy the AVS portal and CMS onto a new host



Decide which sub sites, templates, functionality to re
-
use for ESHA



Delete the functionality that will not be used in the ESHA portal



Change the look and feel i
nto ESHA look and feel



Change and build the initial content in English



Choose and implement Multi Language functionality



Decide on and build log
-
on functionality



Build profile management (active directory implementation) and mailing functionality



Publish r
elevant and available information


Based upon the author’s experience, this may take up to 60
-
70 days. The implementation costs could
total 50.000 to 60.000 Euros (ex VAT).



License costs


AVS has built both the portal and the Content Management System.
It is likely that AVS would want
some kind of compensation for their efforts.
Since AVS has not documented the current AVS portal
solution and the AVS Content management System, it may seem reasonable to share these costs
between AVS and ESHA.


The portal is built on Microsoft SharePoint Server. ESHA may use the Microsoft education licenses. ESHA
needs to license the Exchange Server, an Internet Connector and SharePoint hosting.



Managing the portal and content


The ESHA portal needs to be mana
ged in order to update the content on the portal. Unfortunately, due
to the success of Microsoft SharePoint, these managers are
pricy. A manager t
hat works for 0.5 FTE will
cost

about
5
0.000 Euros

per year
.





Part IV
:
The budget option


G: Building a
community


Building a community is a costly affair. A portal needs to be build, an administrator needs to be hired,
documents need to be translated,
persons will require compensation for their efforts
,

etc.

To cover
the
se

expenses, ESHA needs to attract co
rporate sponsors. However, at this time, there is no real
community and corporate sponsors are more likely to invest in ESHA if a community
has been
established.


This
may
seem like a status quo: corporate sponsors are more likely to invest in the communi
ty if school
leaders actively participate in the community and ESHA can only finance building the community if there
are corporate sponsors.


In order to go ahead with the plans, this low cost alternative has been developed.


Objective 1: establish a port
al at limited costs.

In previous chapters, we have concluded that AVS has a comparable portal
that could serve as a basis
for the
multilingual
ESHA solution
.
However

this
solution
may seem
too costly.




Option A

In order to establish a portal with limited functionality, it may
be

realistic to
just build an English version,
decrease
the number of pages and build the portal on top of the AVS portal. This way, the ESHA site is
technically a part of the AVS portal, ho
wever, visitors will perceive it as the ESHA portal.

This solution
has its pros and cons:


-

+
The ESHA portal can be established at limited costs

-

+ The AVS portal manager builds the ESHA portal as an addition to the AVS portal

-

+ No extra license costs

-

-

Lim
ited functionality

-

-

ESHA become
s

more dependable of AVS



In this option, all the community work is done by the
members
on

Facebook or LinkedIn.

In the ESHA
portal, separate pages deal with the identified issues.
The
se

issue pages will include links to all social
media options for community feedback.

A
ll community work is done by the members on Facebook or
LinkedIn. The issue pages will include links to all social media options for community feedback.



Option B

The sec
ond low cost option is to build a portal using PHP. PHP is an Open Source alternative to the
Microsoft technologies.
The main advantage of this option is that the site will be build from scratch.

This means that the site will be completely tailor
-
made an
d that ESHA can determine what the exact
specification will be.


This solution has its pros and cons:


-

+
The ESHA portal can be established at limited costs

-

+
No dependencies on AVS

-

+ No extra license costs

-

-

Limited functionality




A
ll the community wor
k is done by the members on Facebook or LinkedIn.

In the ESHA portal, separate
pages deal with the identified issues.
The
se

issue pages will include links to all social media options for
community feedback.

A
ll community work is done by the members on
Facebook or LinkedIn. The issue
pages will include links to all social media options for community feedback.


The author of this site has engaged a party that is willing to build the portal at a low price. This partner is
willing to build the portal with l
imited functionality for 10.000 euro.

This solution includes a custom
made CMS system that enables non technical users to easily upload documents on the portal



Objective 2: Build the community using FaceBook or LinkedIn

The ESHA portal is just a part of
the solution. The community part will be established at FaceBook and
LinkedIn. For every issue, a group will be created on Facebook and LinkedIn. These groups will be tied to
the pages at ESHA.org, so it will be very easy to switch between ESHA.
org

and the

social media
platforms.


Both social media platforms are among the largest communities worldwide. These platforms will enable
us to create communities of interested school leaders and generate traffic towards ESHA.org.


The following site is a great example of how social media
can be used:


http://www.schoolleadership20.com/page/school
-
administration
-
and




Objective 3: Increase budget by en
gaging corporate sponsors

ESHA.org should be financi
ally

susta
inable on the long term.
Given the financial situatio
n of ESHA, it
seems inevitable that ESHA will need to
engage companies with sponsorship opportunities. Companies
may decide to sponsor ESHA
because of its attractive community or because of social responsibility.

Sponsorship offerings need to be developed.



Objective 4:
Establish
the ESHA bureau

ESHA depend
s

heavily on AVS. AVS
takes care of a number of activities, including

a
ccounting
, t
he ESHA
magazine
, e
vents
, se
cretarial

work, etc.
In the long run, this dependency may negatively influence ESHA
if for example the current president will step down. In order to grow, ESHA needs to take care of its own
activities.


The ESHA bureau will be
established to decrease the dependencies on AVS. The ESHA bureau will
therefore:

-

Establish and m
anage the communities on LinkIn and FaceBook

-

Manage the ESHA portal

-

Search for available research documents

-

Build relationships with interesting parties

-

Take ca
re of the bookkeeping (including financial reports, billing services, payments, etc)

-

Engage companies for sponsorship

-

Manage the traffic for the ESHA Magazine

-

Report and present activities and results


Given the workload as described above, it is believed
that these activities will at least take 3
-
4

days per
week.


In order to make the portal financially sustainable, the following is proposed:

-

Include advertizing in the ESHA magazine

-

Include advertizing on the ESHA Portal

-

Put ESHA banners on the site of t
he local associations

-

Include ESHA messages in the e
-
mails send to individual school leaders


Further insight is needed into the set up of the ESHA magazine. Who manages the profile database, who
takes care of the desktop publishing and what are the costs
associated with these activities?



Objective 5: The ESHA magazine

ESHA is committed to the issues identified in recent talks with the heads of the local associations. These
issues are the key content parts of all ESHA communications.

A content agenda ne
eds to be developed in order to give the proper attention to these issues. All
media, including the portal, the ESHA magazine, the social media and events should be aligned in order
to maximize the attention to the issues.



At this moment, the
ESHA magaz
ine is
published at
http://www.eshamagazine.com/

and can easily be
down loaded. It may be beneficial to ESHA if this magazine is send to subscribers only. This way, ESHA
will build a community of identified scho
ol leaders.


Further insight is needed into the set up of the ESHA magazine. Who manages the profile database, who
takes care of the desktop publishing and what are the costs associated with these activities?










H:
The ESHA business case


As mentioned in the previous chapters, building a community may be a costly affair.
In order to jump
start the community without huge investments, ESHA may opt to launch a portal with limited
functionality and maximize the use of social media.

This commun
ity will enable ESHA to
engage
corporate sponsors
with a business case. This in turn will
enable ESHA to further invest in the community.


In order to increase the insight in costs associated with these activities, the following overview is
drafted:



Es
tablish and run the ESHA bureau
: Year 1




Estimated costs

Estimated income




Estimated sponsor income


50.000

Fee for attracting sponsors (20%)

10.000





Build

of

the ESHA portal (8 pages).

10.000





The ESHA bureau

5
0.000


Manage the communities on LinkIn and FaceBook

Incl


Manage the ESHA portal (no additions)

Incl


Search for available research documents

Incl


Build relationships with interesting parties

Incl


Build the community

Incl


Take care of the bookkeeping

Incl


Engage companies for sponsorship

Incl


Report and present activities and results

Incl


Hosting the portal

Incl





The ESHA Magazine



traffic / coordination

Incl


maintenance of the site

Incl



Managing the
database of user profiles

Excl


desk top publishing activities

Excl













I:
The next steps



Januar
y

2011
:

-

Discuss the budget option with AVS

-

Decide on the required budgets and cooperation with Fred Verboon

-

The ESHA board meeting:

o

Present the portal plan

o

Explain and demonstrate social media functionalities

o

Decide on the issues: 21
st

century teaching / exchange ?

o

Discuss required budgets and next steps

-

After the board meeting:

o

Implement social media together with the members

o

Set up blogs

o

Set up Facebook

o

Po
st messages on Twitter and Facebook


February 2011:

-

Build and publish the portal
(dead line March 1, 2011)

-

Find content on the issues for the portal

-

Post teasers on the social media networks


March 2011:

-

Engage commercial parties for funding

-

Manage the portal

-

Include banners on local
member
web sites


April


May:

-

Build the community

-

Engage commercial parties