Using Edublogs/WordPress for Department Websites

As many users of this blog platform know, we are hosted by Edublogs, but our platform is the open source application WordPress. This article from the Professor Hacker blog at the Chronicle for Higher Education, discusses the usefulness of a WordPress site for departmental web presence beyond the traditional format. Read on for more information —

Hacking an Alternative Department Site with WordPress
May 20, 2010, 10:00 am
By Jeffrey W. McClurken

From ProfHacker/Chronicle of Higher Education…

The department website, standardized across an institution, has become a common feature of the digital landscape of higher education. Although it is possible to create something useful with a great deal of work, passionate advocates, and skilled people, in most cases the static, limited department site, often with a single gatekeeper or two, restricted formatting options, and limited multimedia usage doesn’t do a good job of meeting the main goals of a department site.

These sites should, at a minimum, allow faculty of a department to share disciplinary resources, practical announcements, and student/faculty accomplishments with current students. These sites should also increase interaction with the faculty of the department (preferably by doing more than just including email addresses/phone numbers/office hours). Ideally these sites should facilitate communications with alumni and advertise the department to prospective students, the school, and the outside world.

One Potential Solution: WordPress

As you may have noticed, we here at ProfHacker like WordPress. No really; we really, really like WordPress.

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BCC Blogs now with 25 Active Sites

While social media giants like Twitter and Facebook dominate in the media, here in academia there is a growing acceptance of open source software and the “read-write web,” where authors can easily create their own content without knowing complex coding. An interesting site to visit is on the WordPress pages, where the creative ways that colleges are using this platform are featured:

colleges using wordpress

http://wordpress.org/showcase/tag/college/

Berkshire CC is in the middle of this trend by continuing to expand its use of WordPress (hosted by Edublogs) to support a whole host of helpful sites concerning projects, courses, academic departments, and other activities. Welcome to our newer Bloggers and readers; let us know who we can make this platform work for you!

MyBCC Portal launched today!

Students, staff, and faculty are now able to access email, WebAdvisor, Moodle, and events, calendars, and task lists via a single sign-on BCC Portal. If you have a Webadvisor password (and you may need to update it first), you can sign on to the portal at http://portal.berkshirecc.edu. If you are a new or returning student, go to the BCC Website (http://www.berkshirecc.edu), and click on MyBCC for further information on logging into the Portal.

BCC Adopts Turn It In

BCC has adopted Turn It In, a plagiarism detection and writing education tool. The software is integrated with our Moodle platform for seamless creation of TII assignments directly in Moodle. Also, instructors can request a TII account outside of Moodle, and use the “Quick Submit” tool to check the originality of student papers. A blog has been set up, and includes information, tutorials, and workshop on TII:

Turn It In Central http://blogs.berkshirecc.edu/turnitin

BCC Sites are Growing!

On September 30th, BCC will mark the end of its five-year Title III grant, which has focused on Developmental Education and student success and retention strategies. As part of the grant, BCC started this WordPress platform (hosted by Edublogs) and sponsored a number of faculty and staff sites. What a great response! We have 20+ sites here now, with a wealth of valuable information for the entire BCC community, and in some cases, far beyond. We will continue to develop this platform, with a focus on class blogs and department websites. Thank you for you help! We [heart] WordPress!

Video/Photo release form

Dear F/S Webmeisters:

I have created a google form that you can use to capture releases when you are using an image for your site. This is especially important if you are capturing BCC students in photos or videos. Please email them this link and have them fill out the form; the record of their agreement will be filed in Google. Thanks! Dori

Here’s the link:
http://bit.ly/awZgE1