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Blogging Best Practices for the Department and Classroom Dan Wong
Overview Introduction to the 300JayStreet.com Review the WordPress interface How to use blogs in the classroom
Blog vs Forum Blog has one author, and many people commenting Based on CMS the software is a CMS e.g., WordPress, Blogger, TypePad In a forum anyone starts a discussion, and anyone can chime in E.g., http://www.thephotoforum.com/forum/http://www.thephotoforum.com/forum/ Often requires registration Both have moderators
Blogs Don’t Need to Look Like Blogs Many sites use blog software as a CMS so that the site doesn’t look like your typical blog site http://wordpress.org/showcase/
WordPress WP has established itself as a robust content management system used by many of the Internets most established websites WordPress can be hosted by WordPress.com for free. It allows up to 3GB worth of data WordPress is an open source CMS
Blogger Owned by Google Hosted on a subdomain, e.g., yourblog.blogspot.com Private urls don’t use private hosts, so your data is still hosted by blogger Images are hosted thru Picasa, videos are hosted thru Google videos, i.e., they are forced into the public domain
300JayStreet.com 300JayStreet.com is a password protected site created to act as an online staff room Instructional staff are welcome to write posts, make comments, and communicate with the department at large, or a subsection of the department (e.g., course leaders and educators, committee members, lecturers teaching similar courses.) Students are not welcome on the site
Pages vs Posts Pages are “static” documents (web pages) that have content that is current When the content of the page is updated, the previous content is deleted Posts are “articles” or “time-sensitive” content. Posts get organized in a chronological order, and they are open for readers to make comments Posts are also organized by “category” and “tag”
Categories vs Tags Categories and tags are an organizational structure that connects posts with similar content Categories should be thought of as a “table of contents” Tags should be thought of as “index” terms
300JayStreet Page and Categories/Tag Structure Pages are limited to ADGA policy, organization, and best-practices that apply to all the instructional staff Categories are organized by degree, curriculum, and module/track Tags are organized and limited to specific courses, rather than by topic or subject Those writing posts should associate existing categories/tags to their posts No new categories/tags should be added
Post-Writing Best Practices Suggestions for post topics – News related to ADGA curriculum and syllabi – Current syllabi for a specific course – Sample lessons, homework examples, outstanding student work – Discussions of how to improve a course, the curriculum, departmental workflow Images, videos, pdfs, and other documents can be uploaded and linked in the post for download by the readers
Other Features Search using keywords to find posts on a given topic Event calendar: roll over/click to see upcoming events, like meetings, students shows, lectures, etc. Add links to websites in the resources section for sites relevant to ADGA
300JayStreet Access 300JayStreet.com is a password protected site This allows for open discussion among the instructional staff, that cannot be seen by students or public Users of 300JayStreet must initially register and wait for approval Once a user is approved, they will be given different level of access dependant on familiarity of WordPress and the site’s mission Levels are Editor, Author, and Contributor Editors have the ability to delete/approve posts and comments Authors can write posts, but cannot delete posts/comments written by others Contributors can write comments, but not posts
WordPress Dashboard The Dashboard (and site) can only be accessed by approved users The Dashboard can be accessed via the Site Admin link under the Meta section Editors, authors, and contributors should limit their contributions to the Posts, Media, Links, and Pages area of the Dashboard (so as to not disturb the site’s structure.) Comments are added to a post via the post pages (rather than the Dashboard interface.)
.com vs.org Wordpress.org is the site which describes the open-source CMS Wordpress.com is where the free blog site is available
Setting Up WordPress Free Blog Must set up an account on wordpress.com Site will be a subdomain of wordpress.com e.g., yoursite.wordpress.com Features include – 3GB of memory – Some limited theme options – Sidebar widgets like tag cloud, pages, categories, archives, etc. – Public or limited private site Easy transition to self-hosted site where you own and manage the database
Self-hosted WordPress-driven Site Need to purchase a domain name and hosting services (ISP) which costs approx. $40/year Access to hundreds of themes (design templates) including magazine/newspaper- style designs Control of design and styling of site Access and easy implementation to many plugins and widgets
Using a Blog for Teaching Examples – http://adgaintroweb.com/main/ http://adgaintroweb.com/main/ – http://www.dan-wong.com http://www.dan-wong.com Educators can communicate with students easily via a blog site Upload files, documents, instructions, lessons, updates in multiple formats (doc, pdf, jpg, video) Expand the lesson/lecture beyond the classroom Students can look back to past semesters to get an idea of what has been taught Easy deletion Offer course notes to absent students Visit the blog in class to direct students to class materials Verify syllabi, and class assignments, projects and instructions
Web Feeds Blogs have feeds to which users can subscribe Pull technology, that allows a user easy access to the latest posts on a blog It gives subscribers easy access to recent blog posts without having to visit the site A feed readers is client software or a Web application which aggregates syndicated web content
Feedburner Owned by Google It is a way of distributing feeds to those who subscribe to it All categories and subcategories on WordPress have individual feeds Feedburner can take the pull technology, and convert it into push technology By creating a category for a given course section, and implementing Feedburner, you can push your latest posts to anyone who subscribes to it, i.e., students who are required to subscribe Example: http://www.dan-wong.com/email-updates Ehttp://www.dan-wong.com/email-updates
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