Wednesday, March 26, 2008

Bowling Green State University goes Web 2.0

As any reader of my blog knows, I have written about the important role I believe web 2.0 will play in academia. (See Web 2.0 and Higher Ed, Blogging in academia, Blogging Academia, and the Stanford Blog Directory,and University 2.0)

Not being one to just sit idly by and talk about the important role web 2.0 will play in academia, I decided to put words into actions and design a weblog and podcast system for Bowling Green State University. I built the system on the technological framework of WordressMU with many personal customizations. The system is in perpetual Beta so we can test new features, collect feedback, and continue to refine it. There are so many creative ways to use this system (See our About page for some examples). Below are several real life examples of ways the BGSU community is already stretching the creative boundaries of the system:

One English instructor at BGSU, Amanda McGuire Rzicznek, is using the system to podcast her lectures and blog her writing tips, news, and announcements (see her English 111 blog & English 112 blog). She is also having each of her students create their own weblogs on the system, which they use for reflective writing, collaboration, and feedback (see one of her students blogs here).

My office, COBL, is using our COBL@BGSU weblog as a web 2.0 portal to communicate our services to the university and to display our distance learning Resources, Announcements, Newsletters, Podcast, and Photo Gallery. The nice thing about our weblog page is that it is very dynamic and enables email subscription, RSS feeds, Podcast Feeds, and lots of other things the tech junkies of the world love). Plus anyone with admin rights can update the site without having to know any HTML. One of our instructional designers, Michael Kudela, is a huge flickr fan so we can even manage our photo gallery from his personal Flickr account. Now that is cool!

Did I mention that I built this system using all open source tools? Yeah. That's pretty cool too.

Sports and Recreation is a huge part of the BGSU culture. If you ever go to an intramural flag football game at BGSU, you would think you were at the superbowl. Well, the sports and rec people at the university saw the potential of a community blog for their users and contacted me to help them get it set up. It required a little more programming and customizing, but in the end they will have a community of sports rec bloggers. I can see the bragging rights go up even more with this outlet. Their community weblog will be launching soon so I look forward to seeing how that community uses the web 2.0 environment. Check out the Rec Sports Wire to see what they are doing.

The MBA department is using their weblog to give current students the opportunity to share the ins and outs of their daily life so if you’ve ever wanted to know what’s it like to be a graduate student, you’ll want to check it out at - BGSU MBA

The benefits of blogs and podcasts are far reaching and are transforming the way people interact and learn from each other. BGSU faculty, staff, and students can all reap benefits from blogging and podcasting.

Thanks to Connie Molnar and Dr. Bruce Edwards, my bosses at IDEAL, for allowing me to dream, innovate, and design this system for BGSU. They are both great leaders and visionaries at BGSU.


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