Welcome to the new University of Lincoln blogs. We’ve been experimenting with blogs at the university since May 2008 and are now pleased to offer blogs to departments, staff and students to support their research, teaching and learning.
What should I know about the university blogs?
- This is a service provided by EDEU. We’ll do our best to support you but you should try to support yourself, as you would with many other services on the Internet.
- The blogs are provided to support research, teaching and learning. We have some Community Guidelines, which you must abide by. Blogs can be set up for departmental, team, project, group or individual use.
- The blogs use the popular and cutting-edge WordPress software. Using WordPress competently is increasingly a skill required by employers.
- The University of Lincoln blogs also uses BuddyPress. This creates a social network, similar to Facebook or Twitter. The information you add to your profile is publicly viewable.
- Blogs are publicly visible by default but can be made private if you wish. Go to the Settings >> Privacy options in your blog Dashboard.
- Anyone with a university email address can join and participate in our social network and have one or more blogs. You can invite non-university members at your discretion.
- You can connect your university blog to other services such as Blackboard, YouTube, Flickr, Facebook, Twitter, etc. If this is important to you, consider activating the Jetpack plugin.
- The blogs can be used to support a variety of tasks, such as textual analysis, or an on-going project or reflective journal.
- They are an excellent method of communicating with colleagues and peers both inside and outside the university and are designed to help get your message across.
- CERD are keen to work with teaching staff who wish to incorporate the blogs into their courses and can visit classes to discuss the blogs with students, too.
Why are you providing blogs to students and staff?
There is good evidence which shows that a blog can be an effective educational and pedagogical resource for both staff and students. (Contact us if you want to be directed to research in this area). WordPress, which is the blogging software we use, is one of the most widely used and modern web publishing platforms in use today. We see WordPress as more than just ‘blogging’. It’s a tool that makes both individual and collaborative web publishing very easy. It can be used as a reflective research diary or a way to reach and involve others with similar interests. And because it’s so extensible and uses widely recognised Internet standards, it’s also a good tool for developing web skills that are increasingly needed in both education and business. By using WordPress, you’ll have the opportunity to develop the skills of writing and expressing yourself in the public sphere, knowing that search engines and loyal readers will pick up what you’ve written just minutes later. You’ll develop diplomatic skills when moderating and responding to the comments of people you may never meet face-to-face and have access to a web-based tool which can help organise your thoughts and research and be accessible from almost anywhere via a laptop or mobile phone.
Why should I register for a university blog when I can get a blog from WordPress.com, Blogger and TypePad?
Staff in EDEU, are keen to promote the use of any blogging platform as a useful and convenient way of collaborative working and reflective writing. We’re keen to work with you to ensure that the university blogs are an effective tool for you while you’re at the University and will listen when you have a genuine question about how to use and extend WordPress to suit your work. You might also use the university blogs because you want to help create and be part of an online community at the University of Lincoln.
What kind of support do you provide for staff and students?
We encourage you to help yourself and, where possible, help others in the university community. This blog post outlines a variety of ways of doing this.
We appreciate that some questions can only be answered on a one-to-one basis and if you’re thinking of using the blogs as part of a course requirement, you might want our help planning this. Feel free to email EDEU. In particular, if you’d like us to visit your class and provide a one hour overview of WordPress, we’d be very happy to do so.
Is there a policy for use of the blogs?
The university regulations, including the use of information systems, also apply to the use of the blogs. However, as with many online communities, we’ve developed a set of Community Guidelines – a code of conduct – that we expect all users of the university blogs to follow.
Do you monitor the content on the blogs? How can I monitor what my students are writing for assessment purposes?
Yes, we monitor what you’re writing on the blogs because we’re genuinely interested in your work. Really! There’s nothing secret about how we monitor your content. We read blog posts via the site-wide RSS news feed. If you have a site that is closed to registered members only, it won’t appear on this feed. Only public content appears in the news feed.
We don’t monitor comments across every blog. Each blog administrator can control how they moderate comments left on their blogs and we trust everyone will ensure that all content, including comments, adheres to the Community Guidelines, which you agree to whenever you sign in. You are responsible for content, including comments on your blog. Comments for each blog can also be subscribed to via RSS news feeds, if you prefer. You’ll find links to the RSS feeds for both posts and comments on the front page of every blog.
What will happen to my blog if/when I leave the University? Will all that work be lost?
No, you can easily export your blog and take it with you to import into another blogging platform. Just look under the Tools panel in your Dashboard. Of course, the URLs to your blog will change as you will no longer be using the http://blogs.lincoln.ac.uk address.
Can I use a different domain name rather than blogs.lincoln.ac.uk?
Yes. If you own a domain name you can probably do this yourself by reading these instructions.
I use other social web applications such as Facebook, Twitter and Delicious. Is there a way to connect my blog to them?
Yes. We think it’s important that the university blogs integrate with other web applications you are using. We provide a number of plugins to help with this and are always interested in receiving your suggestions.
Can I have more than one blog? I’d like a blog for my own work and a blog to share with a colleague.
Yes, you can add any member of the university to a blog and assign them a role (i.e. Administrator, Author, Editor, etc.) Click here for more information on using blogs for collaboration. If you want to share a blog with a colleague who is not a member of the university, this is also possible.
Can I change the look of my blog?
Yes, we provide a number of ‘themes’ which can radically alter the look of your blog. Click on ‘Appearance’ in your blog Dashboard to try them out. If none of the themes are suitable for your needs, we’d be happy to consider installing any of the themes at wordpress.org