What do universities need to support weblogs?

A rare and welcome victory on the professional front. A project proposal submitted with partners at BCIT and UVic Distance Ed was awarded with significant funding from BCCampus’ Online Program Development Fund. (We should also have a private sector partner that I’m very excited about, but I’ll hold off announcing that until the deal is completed.)

What did we propose to do? Nothing less than creating and sharing a framework for social software applications for BC’s higher education institutions. In less grandiose terms, we have proposed to create a set of policy recommendations, tutorials, templates, and multimedia resources that can be reused by a school that wants to support weblogging and wiki use (and possibly other social software tools) for its own community. We also hope to foster a community-centered model for sharing expertise amongst practitioners attempting to develop their own projects.

We intend the project to be platform-agnostic: we will definitely be using Movable Type and Drupal, but do our best to ensure that resources we create are not tied in with any one system. If possible, we might partner with mini-projects using tools such as WordPress, ELGG, or even Blogger.

I could go into more detail about our proposal, but will refrain for two reasons. 1) Our award, while substantial, was less than we asked for, so we need to reevaluate and scale down our objectives. And more importantly, 2) it’s very likely that our peers in the educational weblogging community have some great ideas we have not considered.

I am pleased we got this award, but I don’t feel much of a proprietary sense of pride. In large part, we got funded because webloggers around the world have been demonstrating proof of concept in myriad ways. In fact, if you are reading this weblog, there’s a decent chance that your efforts contributed to the success of the proposal (THANKS!). So what are your ideas how our project could support the successful adoption of weblogs and wikis by educators and students? What would be most useful? Where are the needs most pressing?

I should note that while we are charged to make our work available to BC institutions, we intend to be as public with our process and products as possible. We will be licensing our materials via Creative Commons, and we hope our work will prove helpful beyond our provincial borders.

It’s going to be a hell of a lot of work, but I think it’s also going to be a lot of fun.

About Brian

I am a Strategist and Discoordinator with UBC's Centre for Teaching, Learning and Technology. My main blogging space is Abject Learning, and I sporadically update a short bio with publications and presentations over there as well...
This entry was posted in Abject Learning, Webloggia, wikis. Bookmark the permalink.

10 Responses to What do universities need to support weblogs?

  1. Excellent news, Brian! Congrats!

    I’d love to talk about what you’ve got planned, once things slow down a little bit 🙂

  2. Brian … good work. Its great to see traction in this space. I can tell you that we have worked hard to begin the basic educational eforts to drive adoption. Looking to adoption and diffusion of innovation lit to see how to climb the curb is always a solid approach. When we were “selling” the use of our Online IST courseware 4-5 years ago, I focused on the platform as a product and built a massive marketing and support plan. I then worked hard to gain adoption by a hand picked segment of our audiences — faculty and students.

    If its about technology, its the wrong approach (IMHO) … I would focus on the features/benefits of why it is important to embrace these technologies. I am happy to see you are focusing on the how and why — not just, “this is cool technology, jump on board.” Great work … I’d also love to discuss more as things settle down.

  3. Josie Fraser says:

    Well done! I’m really pleased for you and I’m sure as excited as the rest of the community about your project and outcomes. Fantastic.

    Although can you change your tag back to blamb now please Brian, it’s a really good nickname. brlamb isn’t any where near as superhero-y.

  4. James Farmer says:

    Good work Brian, the day (if it ever comes) I can say the same for my place will be a happy one indeed!

    Good lordy, where to start on your question though… um, MT for weblogs is a good idea… they need to be blogs they ‘always’ have with categories for different courses… they need to tie in aggregators… so much stuff.

    We should definitely Skype: jamesnfarmer

  5. Bravo, Brian and team. Good luck. We’ll follow your progress/

  6. Congratulations, Brian et al. Good to see your hard work becoming the foundation for bigger ventures.

  7. Great news! I look forward to details as your vision unfolds.

  8. Seb says:

    Whoa, congratulations Brian!! It would be great to have a phone conference + group chat about this question sometime.

  9. randy says:

    We at the U of Alberta are very envious of your progress, and offer congratulations on this news. Here, we remain without any blog support on campus. To use blogs, we need to do it ourselves. 🙁

  10. Congrats on getting blogs into the institutional mainstream. At Spring Arbor University, we are slowly beginning to see the light related to blogs, wikis, and podcasts. We have quite a way to go to catch up with you good folks.

    I’ll be very interested to see how folks connect blogging to particular learning outcomes.

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