As I mentioned in an earlier post, I’ve been involved in teaching some first year under-graduate students at Ravensbourne over the last few weeks. This has taken the form of the introduction to and production of WordPress websites.
Part of this project was linked in with the Mozilla Festival which took place at Ravensbourne over the weekend. Students were asked to prepare WordPress sites ready to use and for filling with content over the course of the festival. It was heartening to see the multi-disiplinary groups of students firstly grapple with the new software and concept of content management systems and then steam ahead with innovative ways of using it. Some implementing live feeds and others procured sponsorship and deals with local businesses.
Each team chose a different subject to cover and during the weekend they filmed interviews, edited videos, wrote articles and constantly updated their site with content from the festival. I went along on the Saturday to observe and take in the festival. The project was a very good example of collaboration, networking, pooling skills and resource as well as learning how to work as a team.
Their sites are available here to view:
Ravezilla: audio and video innovation
Children and Education
I’ve been using WordPress since my MA in 2007. It had nothing to do with my studies apart from the fact that it was open-source software and a subject I was covering in one of the modules. I was intrigued to know more about it. I’ve since built and worked on about 10 sites and used it as part of the case study for the Social Media book chapter I’ve just completed. Indeed this diary uses WordPress. It’s so customisable and can be used, amongst other things, to collaborate online and as a content management system. It’s a good example of a data mashup in that it takes data from many different sources and integrates it one site.
It is now being used widely at Ravensbourne College as a way of getting content creation students quickly up and running and using a website to collaborate and create content as a team. This gives them the opportunity to get going, creating content without the need to spend weeks designing and coding a website. Over the last three days I’ve been teaching first year students how to use it. But first I gave them two lectures. The first was an introduction to the Internet and Web and the definitions and practices of Web 2.0. It’s surprising how many don’t know the difference between the Internet and the Web. The second (below) is intended as a bit of background before using WordPress. It describes open-source software and gives examples and definitions.
I spent three days with them and generally there was a very positive response to the use of it.
When I decided to write regular diary entries for this blog in September 2009 I was unsure how it would evolve. Initially I thought I might keep it anonymous and that the design would be very minimal without any links to my other sites and pages. With this in mind I purchased a very reasonably priced hosting deal and the url myphddiary.co.uk.
Here I am, two years later, with my anonymity purposely exposed and all manner of links and plugins that link to my other web activities. My two year deal with the hosting company is up and I’m being asked by them to renew. However, when the pricing came through I baulked at the price. It had been hiked up dramatically. These companies know that when they’ve got you signed up and with lots of your data stored with them it’s difficult and time consuming for most people to leave. This is where the software I use for this diary comes in handy. WordPress has a very useful export feature that enables a file to be downloaded to your desktop and installed on another site. So I thought “why pay for two hosting companies when I already have one”. I’ve still got plenty of bandwidth and a database that can support both sites. It was a fairly easy installation that puts picture and link into every blog. It’s exactly them same as it was before except for the url.
So, as you can see, the new home of Tim Riley’s PhD Diary has now been integrated into my website with the suffix /phddiary. Here it will stay until I’ve finished my studies. Then who knows what will become of it!