Interview with HansRuedi Keller from Lerngruppen.net

HansRuedi-KellerHansRuedi Keller from Lerngruppen.net had an email interview with us a few weeks ago.

He explains how he built Lerngruppen community using BuddyPress and rtMedia addons. In his own words,

The rtMedia plugin was simply the missing link between connections and content

Below are questions and answers from email interview:

Q. What is your website about?

It’s about Team Collaboration. Lerngruppen.net is the new domain for a project we started with info.ch to let people try BuddyPress in Switzerland. For Lerngruppen (learning groups) we provide a social network in the german speaking part of Europe with tools to collaborate. The service is free and fully independent from organizations or institutions. What we call TOOLBOX is an intelligent alternative to that email-dropbox-combination a lot of people are using.

Bigger private schools give their students access to a Moodle or Ilias installation. And at universities – specially here in Switzerland – they really have everything needed to stay in contact within groups. But that’s definitely not the case for all these smaller educators with only a few classes and e.g. for vocational education and training.

Lerngruppen.net is also a playground for people interested in our commercial BuddyPress based service with subdomains of info.ch – that’s what we call EXTRABOX. Same here: only bigger companies provide Sharepoint or Confluence instances and not everybody is willing or allowed to use cloud services hosted in the US.

Our platform is something like that red Swiss pocket knife introduced in 1891. It’s lightweight, modular and portable. Portable means: every installation has it’s own database – easy to migrate if needed. In our blog we have a nice case study about a book production in Germany. Our «box» was helping scientists and creative people to collect, share and discuss text, graphics and images.

Q. How old is your website? How important was BuddyPress for your website?

We started with one of the first releases of BuddyPress. Since 2009 not only the site, our work is totally based on BuddyPress. In the meantime we have a really good understanding of helping people connect and to work together with open-source based digital tools. Before it was workflow in the graphic arts industry based on non-proprietary, open-standard systems – everything around PostScript and PDF. Now it’s “virtual workflow”, the flow of information between people and within project groups – all based on BuddyPress.

Q. How big is the community of users around your website?

The community is still small, around 100 people. We didn’t had the time to do marketing for Lerngruppen.net – what I said: the service is free and fully independent. There is no funding from investors or something like that. Would say it’s some sort of altruism what we do with Lerngruppen.net itself. It’s our EXTRABOX what we have to promote. The idea was never to have another «Facebook» but to show people the value of “Social Networking in a Box”.

Q. How did you hear about rtMedia plugin?

I can’t remember. We are long time members of that BuddyPress ecosystem. Would say we know all seriously coded and supported plugins for BuddyPress. We tried them all and did a lot of debugging. Some functionality in different plugins is based on our ideas or feature requests from our customer base.

Q. Was purchasing the rtMedia addons a good idea? What were its most useful features?

Yes, it’s always a good idea to spend money for people in the open-source community. We don’t purchase a plugin – we try to help with a little bit money to progress with open-minded solutions.

The rtMedia plugin was simply the missing link between connections and content. With BuddyPress you get connections, with rtMedia you are able to collect and share documents, images, movies and audio files. It’s not a feature, it’s the way rtMedia handles content what we really like!

Q. Did you require support from rtMedia’s team? What was the experience like?

Yes, of course. With Nitun and Ritesh we have the best support quality I’ve ever got in the industry.

Q. Have you customized any features of the plugin? How have you gone about it?

For the document part of rtMedia we did some customization. For our point of view rtMedia is still a little bit to much “gallery”. With BuddyPress and mainly within groups doing professional work images or videos are only part of the story. I know that a list view is under construction at rtCamp – but that’s still missing for us. If it’s Social Media the gallery approach is ok – but if we are talking about a Social Network it’s more kind of document management what they need.

Q. Can you tell us your views on rtMedia project?

rtMedia is simply the most advanced media solution for a BuddyPress based social network.

VISIT LERNGRUPPEN.NET

Thanks HansRuedi for sharing the story behind your community website.

If you using rtMedia for your community, we would love to share your story. You can drop me an email at [email protected].

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