Our CILC Blogs setup borrows heavily from UMW Blogs, a community publishing platform at the University of Mary Washington that’s been running since 2007. To help get your creative juices flowing, here are ten ideas for using a platform like this:
|1. Traditional Blogging||5. News||9. Creating New Web Applications|
|2. Courses||6. Collaboration||10. Presentations|
|3. E-Portfolios||7. Publications|
|4. Websites||8. Multimedia|
(based on “Ten Ways to use UMW Blogs,” originally created by DTLT staff)
As the name suggests, CILC Blogs can be used as a good, old-fashioned blog.
You can easily share your opinions, generate discourse, and interact with others using the best blogging software out there.
In the same vein as the personal blog, but with an international perspective. Many students blog their experiences overseas during semesters or years abroad. Some, like Jennifer Davis, even blog about experiences abroad after graduation, such as the Peace Corps.
- Em in Asia is a blog started by Fulbright grant-winning UMW student Emily Potosky who has been regularly blogging about her adventures teaching in South Korea for more than two years.
- Andi Livi Smith’s Preservation Abroad features posts from the Historic Preservation Summer study in Paris, France.
- Jennifer Davis’ Trifles and Treasures is a blog kept by a UMW Alum who has been living in Africa since her graduation 5 years ago.
- UMW Abroad aggregates posts from a wide range of study abroad students.
If your interests lie in music, art, literature, or film, you might decide that what you really want is a space to share your reviews and observations.
- Stuff for Starving Students (technology)
- Anglo-Audiophile: The Reviews (music)
- Uncle Lumpy’s Down-Home Art Blog and Pancake Emporium (art)
There is more than one way to skin a course with CILC Blogs. Below are two examples:
A Group Blog
This blog is for the professor who wants to have the class blogging together as a group on one blog. This is probably the easiest to implement, given the Add Users widget, which allows students who already have a blog or username to simply sign up for the blog with their e-mail address.
- Prof Steve Volk’s Dirty Wars Avatars Project (students blogged as individuals living in the Southern Cone during the 1970s; their true identities were suppressed from public view)
- Prof Maya Solovieva’s Russian 306 blog
- Prof. Mara Scanlon’s Modern Poetry group blog
- Prof. Krystyn Moon’s American Consumerism
- Prof. Steve Gallik’s Histology Lab Blog
An Aggregated Course Blog
If many distributed posts are relevant to a certain subject or topic, they can be aggregated into one course blog (or “mother blog”) for a running stream of the latest work from various students within the class. This option allows students to own the work they do for a variety of classes in their own digital notebook.
- Prof. Melanie Szulczewski’s Examining Global Environmental Problems
- Prof. Rosemary Jesionowski’s Art in the Age of Technological Reproduction
- Barbara Sawhill’s HISP 203 blog (alas, this theme no longer works with our current iteration of wordpress)
CILC Blogs is an ideal way for students to create a portfolio of class projects, or even a personal portfolio. Such a portfolio could conveniently go on a résumé or C.V.
The flexibility of WordPress can be used to create powerful static websites as well, without using external applications like Dreamweaver. Below are a few examples of the types of sites you can create with CILC Blogs.
CILC Blogs can be used for class projects or individual research.
Faculty have even started to use it as a quick and easy way to create their own homepage to publish information about their scholarship, teaching, publications, etc.
Blogs are a great way for student groups to stay connected and share information with themselves and the community. Student organizations use their blogs to display important club information, news, student resources, and multimedia.
- Student Government Association (SGA)
- UMW’s radio station WMWC
- Oberlin’s radiostation WOBC
- UMW Performing Arts Club
Blogging is a popular way of sharing information with others. Using a blog to keep your community up-to-date has becoming increasingly more popular over the last decade.
- The Oberlin Review
- The Bullet (UMW student-run newspaper)
- Eagle Eye (UMW faculty and staff newsletter)
CILC Blogs offers an excellent platform for creating virtual meeting spaces for completing group projects, and makes collaboration easier. There are many examples of using blogs as such a space, where multiple users can quickly share with one another.
CILC Blogs reduces some of the technical and monetary challenges of creating high-quality online journals, magazines, zines, and numerous other publications. The work of Mike McCarthy’s and Claudia Emerson’s students have been doing provide an excellent example of this possibility, which has really only just begun to be explored.
- UMW’s Bi-annual Literary Magazine Aubade
- Over 30 examples of Literary Journals created by UMW students over the past 5 years
CILC Blogs allow people to share their personal multimedia, such as audio and video.
WordPress is flexible enough that advanced users can utilize themes and hacks to create their own social networking tools. Fragment is one example already discussed under the collaboration section. Fragment allows users to give short “shout-outs” in an expressive space, using the Prologue theme that is a Twitter knock-off.
Additionally, Professor Marie McAllister is creating an audio sharing site focused on Eighteenth-Century Poetry. The site leaves very few traces of a blog; in fact, it is using RSS to aggregate poems by specific authors on a page. Each of these links leads the visitor to a post that has the audio. Moreover, the audio comes from a combination of sources, such as the public domain audio files at Librivox, as well as poems recorded by professors and students more locally. So far the site has over 175 audio poems.
- Eighteenth-Century Poetry audio sharing site
- Fragment: A Twitter like interface for WordPress
- Prof. Jessie Fillerup’s Fredericksburg Musicians’ Marketplace
Given how attractive a blog on CILC Blogs can be- and all the features it affords you- why not use it to create a presentation for a conference that can serve at the same time as a resource for references, ideas, and concepts long after the presentation is over? It has been done pretty effectively already.
- Jim Groom’s Duke CIT presentation
- Don’t Call it a Blog presentation at ACCS 2008
- Steve Greenlaw’s Augmenting Teaching and Learning with Social Software
- Jami Bryan’s “Boring to Blogging” presentation at Faculty Academy 2008
- Barbara Sawhill’s “Flipping Your Assessment Practices” presentation at NERALLT 2013