Jennifer Kim, Undergraduate Duke Student
- Has taken 4 classes with blogs, all in english
- 3 successful, 1 not
Why blogs don’t work
- Blogs fall into a black hold
- Blogs are not relevant to class and have no structure
- There are unrealistic expectations
How blogs can work
- Get people involved, RESPOND!
- There is proper incentive
- Provide an easy mechanism
Showed effective uses of blogs:
- Weekly blog post with three questions and ask people to respond. Students often responded to each other, too.
- Didn’t like the use of blog tools in Blackboard.
James Groom, University of Mary Washington (Keynote)
- 2 screens: one showing the Twitter feed, and the other with his PowerPoint
- Not in the field of research, in the field of recon: throwing stuff against the wall and seeing what works.
- UMW Blogs: An educational publishing platform
- Came about because of WordPress MU (WFU uses this) Free software, the cost comes in people to work with users.
- Started with 3 classes. Now wide adoption.
- Focusing on integration of blog with content across the web.
- Unlike Blackboard, blogs is open, online, and seamlessly deals with all kinds of different resources.
- Syndicated-Orientation Architecture: RSS
- Showed a “magic trick” of pulling in lots of RSS feeds into a blog
- This allows students to own their content (Blackboard, we have all the control)
- This also allows students to create their own portfolio
- This also allows you to have identity of yourself as well as your identity as a member of your own institution. But when you leave, you can take your content with you.
This is the blog before feeds were associated:
This is after feeds were added to it:
You can see it now, here.
- UMW lets people use their own vanity URLs with their blog service. So professors (etc) are able to create dynamic websites pulling their information in from a number of places.
- Talked a bit about formatting for mobile devices.
- This web brings ups all kinds of interesting questions about copyright, fair use, creative commons. These are the types of things that should be explored and decided at universities. (I might even argue in university libraries…)
- Clubs make good use of these blogs: syndication includes google calendar, flickr photos, videos, etc. It makes it easy to host the content while allowing students to use what they want.
- (Side benefit: as Groom noticed everyone was creating their own calendars, he was able to aggregate all the calendars into one master University one)
- Another type of open education, because the content is out there.
- Towards the end of the talk, the topic switched from education to information management. Again, this is why I think librarians should be leaders in this area.
- UMW documented their system in a public way, so other universities have been able to follow their work.
Plugins UMW use:
From where I’m sitting, the main themes of this talk seemed to be:
- Ownership is important, we should allow students to own their content.
- We should focus our energy on easy aggregation (instead of shoe-horning folks into a one-system-fits-all approach).
- Open Source allows you to take advantage of the work of coders. UMW didn’t have to code the syndication feature or the mobile phone theme… they could use what was already out there.
- New web is focused on mobile: both in terms of mobile devices and mobile data.
- We should rethink what blogs are. Blogs, sure, but also eporfolios, club sites, travel journals, content management systems, exhibit sites, etc. Freedom to reimagine what blogs can be. Tells users to find good uses and share back with his unit. Then they can go out and promote it.
- Building a new system: it’s not about a person, it’s about a community. The web enables us to collaborate in entirely new ways.
All good stuff!
Every so often I go through and clean up my web presence a bit. I know I don’t hit every place I’m online, but I try to at least clean up the things at my domain, Facebook, and maybe LinkedIn. It had been a while since I had taken the time to look at my CV site, and with all the talk about professional involvement at MPOW recently, I decided it was time to make sure it reflected what I’ve been up to. So here is what it looks like now:
I’m still using WordPress to run it, and the new theme is a modified version of Upstart Blogger’s Futurosity. I really like it. Whereas before I had several pages for each of the main categories which I would just edit each time I did something new, now I have a post for each individual item. This allows me to use categories to define the type of work and tags to define what the work was about. Now I can browse by type of work, when work was done, and what the work was about. Very cool when I’m trying to figure out what I’ve done instructionally in the last few years or what my projects dealing with emerging technology have been about. In all honesty, a whole blog for a CV is probably overkill, but the librarian geek in me really gets a kick out of the ability to navigate what I’ve done and what I’m doing by various metadata.