The discussion in this forum led to a workshop I did last week at the DML Conference using a set of 5 Wordpress pre-built sites (2 SPLOTs, a Feed Wordpress demo site, and DS106 Assignment Bank / Daily Create) made available (with Tim's help) to people creating accounts on the Reclaim StateU.org site.
The hope was giving people a ready built site with all plugins, settings, and sample content, they could more quickly explore and modify their own copy.
They appear as options on the Wordpress installer:
In the dog food consuming vein, we hosted the workshop materials there too (that was a static HTML5up template) and Tim says they will leave it on the site as an open resource:
A few observations / notes:
It's a Snapshot Copy. The process was I made the "source sites" as installs within my account there, sent Tim a link, and 3 seconds later it was added to the Installatron. I had worries about what might happen if someone finds the sources and change the content, but what gets added is a snapshot of the source. This does mean if you find some things to change, Tim would have to completely redo what he did.
It copied perfectly Everything came across on the new site, even the secondary hidden user accounts I use on SPLOTS. My hunch is it works just like the Clone Site function I have used before within a Reclaim account, this merely lets you copy from another account. It looks like it does a search and replace on all of the base URLs for the site in the database, including internal links and image embeds. What it seems to do is replace the email address and password for the user id= 0 the admin of the site with what the Installer asks for on the setup. The other account I had also seemed to have its password changed. But everything else- plugins, settings on plugins, all content, menus, everything was cleanly duplicated
One Bottleneck We had 17 people at the same time setting up StateU accounts, and apparently that authentication process is a bottleneck. The site got really slow until all had gotten setup. If I was doing again, I might have people do this ahead of time. After that, the response time was great.
People Can Still Get easily Confused it took a while for people to differentiate what feels natural to experienced users- the different between the StateU "Dashboard" and the Wordpress ones they were creating. I did throw a lot at them for a 6 hour session. Also, uphill was getting them to understand that this was more sandbox and not a place to build out things. And some people that StateU was really a University.
All in all I am very pleased for how it worked to immerse a lot of people into a deeper level of Wordpress, even ones who have been using it for years but mostly as a blogging tool. I don't know what it takes to put into a production environment, I imagine any school running a domains project can do this.
But there is value in giving people more than a blank WP site to start with. Thanks again, Tim / Reclaim.