Posted by: Eileen McMahon | March 1, 2011

Edublogs Comes to UMass Boston!

Our Blog Network at UMass Boston has been upgraded, with new software and a sign-on system that works with our email names and passwords.  The network runs on a WordPress platform (the same platform that we’ve been using for this newsletter), but with some specific features oriented toward educational purposes.  All prior UMass Boston blogs have been converted to the Edublogs network.   You can create your own blog at  http://blogs.umb.edu/

A blog is shorthand for “web log.” It offers an online chronological collection of  commentary, images, and links. On the UMass Boston blog network, students, staff, and faculty can create up to eight different blogs.  There are more than 25 themes/templates available and some can be customized.  Different privacy settings allow you to determine whether the blog will be seen only by people who are members (e.g. your students), by other signed-in users at Umass Boston, or by the larger public, and you can likewise determine who can be an author on your blog.  Even with fully public settings, you can screen comments, so that they won’t appear on your blog without your approval.

Other things you’ll want to know about creating a blog

  • You can name your blog whatever you want.
  • You can import data previous blogs, and Twitter accounts or other RSS feeds.
  • You can create link lists of websites important to you or your organization.
  • You can embed audio files such as podcasts, and Youtube videos.
  • You can easily insert images in a variety of formats, including pngs and jpegs, into posts.
  • You can post and share Microsoft docx and xlsx, as well as Adobe pdf files.
  • You can cut and paste from Microsoft Word, while preserving formatting.
  • You can also create forums using the ‘Forums’ tab on your administrative dashboard. In practice, these are identical to Web chat forums. For example, users must post to the forum under a topic thread, which structures the content and enhances readability.

Blogs are widely used in academic settings for a range of purposes: for reflective journals by students; as vehicles for faculty to communicate with students; as a way to communicate with academic peers–a conference web site, a special projects page–or a place for administrators to communicate with the community.  This issue of the newsletter will focus on a variety of ways in which blogs are being used in the academic world and may offer you some ideas for your own.

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