A2Ethics.org

A2Ethics.org is a nonprofit organization dedicated to promoting ethics through education, social networking and collaborative events. Their mission is to give ethics-related ideas and establish an essential place in the many communities they serve. They were established in Ann Arbor in 2008, which is what the “A2” stands for, as a result of the desire of three community leaders to sustain civic commitment and innovation between the generations in the surrounding areas. They have launched numerous ventures, such as the Ethics Economy Initiative, a popular podcast interview series featuring ethics professionals in the state of Michigan. They have also established the Big Ethical Question Slam, which is the only ethics dilemma competition in the world. Moving on, A2Ethics plans to expand on the foundations established by the Moral Compass Project and continue to integrate new approaches to present ideas about ethics to the public in unique and accessible venues. Meanwhile, its initiatives accelerate, and the number of programs and events grow.

Why Drupal was chosen: 

“A2Ethics is extremely pleased with Drupal. Wayne Eaker, owner of Zengenuity, developed the site for us. It is easy to use; people who have seen the site are quite impressed and remark on it; and adding new content is easier than the previous content management system that A2Ethics used. The old management system was very cumbersome and difficult to add content to. Drupal was a natural because Wayne Eaker recommended it. They highly trust the integrity of his expertise and work.” -- Jeanine Delay, President.

The main attraction to Drupal is it’s effectiveness in usability. It’s appeal of organization and ability to adapt easily in any circumstance makes it a great content management system.

Describe the project (goals, requirements and outcome): 

Our group members are students at Oakland University. At OU, we were also accepted into the Applied Business in Technology program, or ATiB. Through this program, we have learned about and have practiced using Drupal. For the winter semester, we have been asked to write a Drupal case study about a Drupal site that is currently serving an organization. After weeks of contacting Drupal developers for help, we heard from Wayne Eaker, owner of Zengenuity. He informed us about a website that would be deserving of a case study. The website was the A2Ethics website, a website for A2Ethics, which is a nonprofit organization based in Ann Arbor. We talked to Jeanine Delay, the head of A2Ethics, and told her about our project and asked if she would be interested in a case study on the A2Ethics site. She was willing to let us do the case study on A2Ethics, and then we were able to learn more about what A2Ethics does and what their goals are.

The main goal for the website is to serve as an informational resource for events and programs. The website advertises the events and serves as an archive for A2Ethics’ programs. So, for example, A2Ethics signature event is the Big Ethical Question Slam. There is currently a YouTube video on the site to showcase the latest event. This obviously offers individuals who attended the Big Ethical Question Slam an opportunity to remember the evening, and it also serves as a recruiting tool for next year, when A2Ethics starts looking for teams to participate.

The importance and influence of the website continues to evolve. When A2Ethics first formed, they thought that the website would draw people to their programs. However, they quickly learned that recruiting and retaining members to the site was beyond their current capacities. They believe that face to face interaction with supporters is their future, as they are not interested in blogging and sending out missives everyday about different ethics topics. However, they do like to use twitter to create collaborative relationships with groups whose goals are similar to A2Ethics. They will also increase their use of video as they determine its value for growing their supporters' base.

One of the key components for the A2Ethics site is their podcasts. They are very important for one principal reason: to create a potential research archive about the ethics of work across different professions. Their goal is to obtain a grant to examine the ethics of the workplace. To do that, they need a wide range of interviews with people in different occupations. The podcasts are also important to build an audience for them.

It would be impossible for the website alone to help drive and create supports for A2Ethics. For a small, local company like them to draw the attention of people on the internet is extremely difficult, if not impossible, to do. The website is essential to A2Ethics as they build a support base through their events and programs, as it will give the people a chance to learn more about who A2Ethics is and what they do.

Modules/Themes/Distributions
Why these modules/theme/distribution were chosen: 

Nodeque

The nodequeue is a module that allows the user to place nodes in any order they want to. The nodes are listed on the screen and the user simply drags and moves the nodes around in the order they want. The A2Ethics site uses nodequeue for the pictures listed on the home page. However, the site also uses the views slideshow to go along with nodequeue for the pictures on the homepage. The nodequeue allows the pictures to be put in whatever order they want, and the view slideshow makes the pictures run as a slideshow.

Mediaelement js

One of the biggest features of the A2Ethics website is the podcasts. Many people who visit the also listen to the podcasts. To allow the podcasts to show up on the site, the mediaelement js module, as well as the views module, is used. The views contain the podcast series that A2Ethics want. The mediaelement js allows the podcasts to run right on the site, instead of opening up a different link. Podcasts are uploaded to the site, and the module makes the podcast go straight to the player on the site.

FileField Podcaster

Another feature related to the podcasts is the FileField View. This is important to A2Ethics users because when new podcasts are uploaded to the website, they are also automatically uploaded to iTunes. This improves the efficiency of the site for offering two convenient ways for the users to access the podcasts, and helping out the administrators where they don’t have to constantly spend time logging into iTunes and performing the task manually. This is able to work through an RSS file enclosure, and followers can be updated via notifications when a new podcast is uploaded, the same as any of their other subscriptions on iTunes.

Geofield

This is a module for storing geographic data in Drupal 7. The A2Ethics site supports OpenLayers mapping, where an interactive map is enabled to appear on the page that allows users to enter points of interest using the latitude/longitude widget. The map features are imported using Geocode from another field. In this case, the Google Geocoder is chosen, and so the Google Maps overlay is displayed on the screen. A2Ethics using this feature to plots points based on Ethics Center locations. For example, they have separate pages to show maps for Ann Arbor, Michigan, US, and World Ethnics Centers. Once any of the points are clicked, an information window is displayed with the Location, Year Founded, Offerings, Community Service, Contact, and Website headings. This information is included using the Well Known Text (WKT) data input, a supplemental text box formatted for map points.

Meta tags

This is an important module for search engine optimization. This device allows A2Ethics to choose specific words that users may search on any popular search engine and find the site and perhaps even explicit sections of the site. If A2Ethics attempts try new methods to increase web traffic, then they may alter their meta tags to a keyword that has been trending. For example, if A2Ethics wants to draw more attention to its community event “Ethics Without Borders”, it will include meta tags as a part of its description such as “education”, “civic participation”, and “water justice”. Lastly, A2Ethics will use meta tags within their own site using the search bar in the upper right corner. Every keyword the viewer enters will connect them to a search result and page that has the most relevance. This association is performed with the assistance of meta tags.

Project team: 

Zengenuity helps individuals and organizations build engaging web sites and effective online strategies. Led by Wayne Eaker, they provide complete solutions that include: web design and development, search engine optimization (SEO), e-commerce, analytics, optimization, training and support. They help to build complete Drupal site, along with planning an optimizing current sites, as well as offering thorough training sessions. The site stresses a program where simplicity and ingenuity are combined to a complete effective service.

A2Ethics podcast on itunes
A2Ethics map