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Graduate Seminar Blog

Graduate students in a seminar I taught this fall on the topic of environmental literature and media participated in a course blog (wordpress hosted) that proved quite successful as a space of public writing and interactive dialogue.  I would like to extend this course blog into an ongoing forum for graduate students working, broadly, in environmental literature, media, and cultural studies. With this in mind, I would welcome comments or suggestions for refining its structure or content. I also hope to use a similar blog fomat in a lower-division course next term and am reflecting on how to develop an assignment sequence / course structure that will produce both strong individual writings and meaningful conversations among students.


4 Responses

  1. You might want to check with Andrew Bonamici (bonamici@uoregon.edu) about whether/when UO might buy a wordpressMU license. I think it’s in the works, but don’t have details. If/when it goes through, I think everyone here could adopt/access multiuser blogs (as opposed to the 35-author limit we currently have on this site).

  2. Dear Allison, et al.:

    Robert is correct that we have a small group evaluating alternatives for a campuswide WordPress MU service. Sara Stubbs, Sean Sharp and I have had an initial meeting; Ron Bramhall from LCB and others from the e-portfolio group are also keenly interested in this effort. I am firmly convinced that a service like this could quickly transform student and faculty web publishing and interaction in the ways you suggest.

    What’s next? I wish I could assure you that we will have a campuswide service launched in time for Winter term 2010. It is possible, but depending on the direction we go (e.g., a local install versus a contracted hosted service) there could be some layers of contractual & policy review to jump through first. In the meantime, let’s brainstorm about ways you could continue using wordpress.com as a stop-gap, with a plan to migrate those blogs to a uoregon service as soon as it is available.

    Hope this helps for now,


  3. Thank you, both, for these responses to my query. The plans for a WordPress MU service sound exciting and timely. I am particularly interested in how to make web publishing––and collaborative authorship––successful in lower-division courses that involve large groups of students from extremely diverse majors, backgrounds, etc. I’ve considered for the winter forming student working groups of 5-6 students who would share a single user “avatar” on the course blog and would collaborate on their web-based writing and multi-media analysis of course materials. While this poses certain challenges from the standpoint of evaluation and accountability, the experiment may prove productive (I hope).

  4. Allison- I’ve used wikis in undergrad classes for collaborative authorship projects. For one thing, individual students do not need to “share” an avatar/account, which makes figuring out who did what a lot easier (it’s all time/date stamped with their login ID!). There are plenty of free services out there (Wikispaces is the one I have used), and you can make the wiki as public or private as you’d like…

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