Course Plan

Prevailing conditions

Time planning

The course is planned for a one week full-time course with a preceding online phase (blended mobility) for students to get to know each other and share business ideas. However, the course can also be used in other course settings, e.g. two lessons weekly etc. If students can access and administrate the shops from home this makes the course concept even more flexible.

Technical setup

You will need one setup of the online shop software per group. See the PrestaClassroom Project for an easy way to set up multiple online shops at once. Here is the requirements for your web server in order to host PrestaShop 1.7.0.3 as stated on the PrestaShop website:
To install PrestaShop on the Internet:
  • A domain name
  • Web server: Apache 1.3, Apache 2.x, Nginx or Microsoft IIS
  • PHP 5.4+
  • MySQL 5.0+ installed with a database created
  • SSH or FTP access (ask your hosting service for your credentials)
OPTIONAL
  • In the PHP configuration ask your provider to set memory_limit to "128M" and upload_max_file_size to "16M"
  • SSL certificate if you plan to process payments internally (not using PayPal for instance)
  • Optional PHP extensions: GD, cURL, SimpleXML, SOAP
  • To improve performances: MemCached, mcrypt PHP extension

Shop Software

There is a wide range of online shop software available (see the following table). As in most educational settings money is scarce, the freely available softwares will probably be more interesting. In our project we have decided to use PrestaShop. Coincidentally two of the project partners LBS Tschuggmall Brixen and Staatliche Berufsschule Bayreuth have come to this decision independently. Both schools have used PrestaShop in projects before and have made good experiences with it. In our opinion the main advantages of PrestaShop are the following:
  • PrestaShop comes pre-configured with a fully working setup so there is no additional setup before you can actually see and work with your shop
  • Students can use the pre-installed data as a starting point for their own shop
  • In general PrestaShop is easy to install on a standard LAMP server software package and also features
  • PrestaShop is very motivating for students to be able to see a quick success of their work
  • PrestaShop is used in professional environments and has 270,000 active merchants (according to their website)
  • PrestaShop is well documented and there are plenty tutorials and other learning materials available
  • PrestaShop is freely available
  • PrestaShop is open-source software
Here is a non-complete overview of other shop software which you might want to consider (latest update 10/2018):

Magento

Pricing
Requirements
  • LAMP server setup
Pros
  • professional-level shop software
  • run by Adobe a major software company
Cons
  • difficult and tedious setup which quite often fails during the installation process
  • quite a few features are missing in the free community edition ([see]((https://magento.com/compare-open-source-and-magento-commerce))) for example management dashboards
  • the initial installation leaves you with a completely empty shop
Sum-Up
Magento has a very long history as a professional-grade shop system. However, the complex installation process makes it less suitable for a educational environment where easy setup is a must.

Oxid e-Shop

Pricing
Requirements
  • LAMP server setup
Pros
  • professional-level shop software
  • freely available open-source software
  • easy setup
  • demo shop data available after clean install
  • good performance
Cons
  • no WYSIWYG HTML-editors in initial install available
Sum-Up
As of 2018 Oxid e-Shop can be really recommended for educational e-commerce setups. It is easy to install and open-source software. Furthermore, Oxid is also distributed for usage with virtual machines (VM) especially the availability as a Docker image might be a very interesting idea for educational setups.

Shopify.com

Pricing
  • Provided as SaaS
  • Shopify can be evaluated for a limited time - afterwards a monthly fee must be paid
Requirements
  • none - just an internet connection and browser is needed
Pros
  • professional-level shop cloud-software
  • easy setup
  • no manual updates of the software necessary
  • good documentation
  • good performance and feature-set
Cons
  • pricing-model makes longer educational projects difficult
Sum-Up
Shopify is one of the leading providers of e-commerce software in Northern America. Their software is very professional. We did contact Shopify and they offer prolonged trials for educational institutions. So for a short-term school project Shopify might be a good option.

Wordpress - WooCommerce

Pricing
Requirements
  • LAMP server setup
  • Wordpress installation
Pros
  • professional-level shop-software/plugin
  • good documentation
  • good performance and feature-set
Cons
  • setup a bit complicated as you need a working Wordpress installation
  • downloading the sofware (Wordpress and WooCommerce) not directly possible on vendor's websites, but only from github.com
Sum-Up
Wordpress is the most often used content-management systems (CMS) for websites and blogs. WooCommerce as a plugin makes selling via your Wordpress site possible. Setup for this option seems a bit complicated.

Gambio

Pricing
Requirements
  • LAMP server setup
Pros
  • professional-level shop-software/plugin
  • easy installation - documentation and FTP programme Filezilla included in the download
  • good documentation
  • good performance and feature-set
Cons
  • no demo shop data available after clean install
Sum-Up
Gambio is also a good choice for educational setups. It is freely available, open-source software with a quick setup. However it lacks good demo data after the initial installation.

Actual Course Plan

  1. 1.
    Self-Assessment: Students fill in the self-assessment sheet in order to evaluate their competences and skills (ideally as an online questionnaire)
  2. 2.
    Business idea: Students create and decide which business model and idea they would like to realize in their shop.
  3. 3.
    Work Phase: In a self-organized setting students set up and administrate their online shop. During the work phase they will have regular meetings with teachers in which they will have to show the progress they made and during which they can also discuss technical, social or organisational issues. Towards the end of the work phase the shops will be tested by teachers or other students acting as customers. The groups will have to make sure that the orders are correctly processed and they will also have to stay in contact with customers and assist them with any problems that might occur.
  4. 4.
    Presentation Phase: At the end of the work phase the students will have to present their business idea and the shop they created in front of the teachers and other students.
  5. 5.
    Evaluation Phase: At the end the outcome of the project will be evaluated. Once again students will have to self-assess their competences. Also teachers will asses the competences of the students. In a short oral feedback both assessments will be compared and discussed. Students can be marked based on the competence sheet.
Last modified 1yr ago