DotNetNuke (DNN) is a powerful, Content Management System (CMS) that allows you to build your own site, and then - with Canopi's extensions - link it to your eLearning platform.
This means you can sell or market your online courses through a sophisticated website that makes it very easy for your customers to register and enrol.
DNN has many features that makes it a very flexible tool for this kind of use. Some of the key features are:
- Multiple Portals
When you install or buy DNN you can set it up with more than one portal. Hey presto! Cheaper and easier installation plus you can own a number of different websites. For example, www.canopi.com.au is an installation of DNN, but we have some other subportals that we use for testing, like http://iwebs.canopi.com.au. It's the same installation of DNN but with multiple 'Front Doors'.
- Skins or Themes
DNN can be themed to meet any web presence you desire. A theme can be purchased off-the-shelf from the DNN store or custom built to your requirements. Most of the off-the-shelf ones can be modified to match your own colour preferences.
- User Account Settings
DNN was created as a membership system by Shaun Walker. Shaun wanted an easy way for clubs in his local sporting organisation to have a website without the complication of having to own and install one themselves. They also needed to be able to edit their own content rather than going back to a web developer. The DNN software has become a huge open source project and is now an enterprise-level CMS.
Within DNN you can set up the user settings any way you like. For example, you can modify the registration page to have only a few fields required for registration or a lot. You can set a person's email address as their username. You can charge for subscriptions and make them monthly or yearly. You can even give people automatic roles when they register, and force verification by email.
In short, just about anything you've ever wanted to do with account management can be done by DNN.
- Pages and Modules
When it comes to pages and modules, DNN has some very nice features. If you login as a site admin you can add a new page and choose where in the menu system it will appear. The skin takes care of how the menu is shown, and how that links from one page to another.
On a new page you can add modules. A module can be a Blog or a Forum (like this one), but the most common one is a Text/HTML Module. Add the module to a region of the page called a Pane and then you're ready to edit your content.
- Roles and Permissions
DNN comes with a number of present roles such as Host, Admin, Registered User and Verified User. From there, you can add a whole lot of other roles if you like. We use one for our customers, unsurprisingly called 'Customers', and then we use the Newsletter feature to send them details of updates to the LMS. Roles can be setup to be paid or free, and even expire after a certain amount of time.
One of the nicer aspects of roles is to make certain menus and pages only visible to particular roles (like Customers), or, as in the case with this forum, you can make the Forum visible to visitors, but people can't post replies until they Register.
So, that's a very brief overview of how DNN works and some of the language that you'll find once you've logged in.