South Dublin Co Council connects with citizens

23 May 2007

More than 100 community groups in South Dublin have signed up to use South Dublin Co Council’s (SDCC) online portal Connect.

Connect Web is a resource that allows SDCC communities to create an online presence: the site creation and hosting is done free of charge and community leaders are trained to update and manage their group.

With help from business and IT company Enovation Solutions, SDCC has rolled Connect Web out along with Connect School, a resource for St Aidan’s Community School.

Gary Mahon, sales director at Enovation, said: “SDCC is at the forefront of e-government initiatives in Ireland and we are delighted to be up there supporting them. It has helped us bring open source technology to a much wider audience, particularly among the local authorities.”

This year Connect has won both an Innovation through Technology award and a Best Local Government award as well as claiming the place of overall winner.

The community portal runs on open source software, allowing users to avail of free facilities for hosting their websites for online SDCC-based groups and associations.

Lorna Maxwell, project manager of Connect, said: “A number of people on the Connect team were familiar with open source products and knew that they worked as well as commercial offerings.

“We also felt that the thinking behind open source was consistent with the ethos of the programme, which is all about opening up technology to users.”

Connect School, which launched on 17 April, works in association with St Aidan’s Community School, and aims to improve student-teacher interaction using the web as a tool.

The software used, an open source e-learning platform called Moodle, allows teacher to easily post up quizzes and tests, monitor their students’ progress and interact with them on the online forum.

Both teachers and first-year students have laptops in St Aidan’s and use Moodle on a daily basis in conjunction with their normal classroom studies.

By Marie Boran