In the CTL we have opportunities of trying out new services for the purpose of experimentation and growth for new methods of instruction. While we have had a blog before, currently, this blog is the first official blog hosted on the same website as our main page. Thanks to Martin Lehner, and James Bowles, our website is able to support more dynamic content than in the past. Anything PHP based is now a thing of reality, whereas before it was harder to support on our server. However, we aren’t quite there yet in terms of supporting a broad campus-wide instructional blogging community. In the interim, if anyone wants to do blogging for themselves or collaboratively with your students or co-workers, there are many free alternatives.
Edublogs is a popular one, as it supports much of the same functionality as the blog you see here; as is for the CTL Blogcast, WordPress is its platform of choice and the WordPress community is a large and well-supported one. Beyond that, WebCT has a journaling feature built into their platform and is available for any class that has a WebCT course made available to it (online or on-campus). While not a true blogging platform in my opinion, it gets students involved in the activity of journaling their progress in learning or just personal musings related to course content. Other free alternatives are Xanga.com, and blogger.com, (which Google owns). Of course to compete, the other major competitors in the web search and portal markets have their offerings:
The list could go on and on…but my point is that these venues provide the EXPERIENCE of blogging for free. The real trick is implementing this in a class, and providing assessment through these free services. Until the college has a supported platform for any student, department, employee, etc. to easily create a weblog provided they keep it filled with meaningful content that accomplishes its intended goal for education (that of learning in our case), it is advisable to point others in one of these directions.
Someday in the future with enough of an initiative and appropriate guidance and resources I could see a college-branded multiuser blogging service appear on campus that appeals to the social networking communities that our students bring with them to class.