Thoughts on culture, education, and having been a Canadian in the US
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Key reference points

Steve, Holly, John and I had a productive meeting yesterday about getting my course blogs off the ground.

Here are some of the links that we keep going back to in our discussions. I’m putting them here now so that we have a central spot to go back to as we get my course blogs off the ground.

The person whose work to which I keep returning is Liz Lawley. She’s done some great work on a series of templates that allow MT to function very effectively as a form of courseware.

Three great examples of her courseware in action are here, here, and here.

I did begin to play around with blogs for my courses last year and you can see my early attempts here.

To use this medium effectively, I also want to begin to blog more regularly myself and want to use MT to create a blog versatile and rich enough to be of use to myself and others. This site, scribblingwoman, from Miriam Jones at UNB is a great example of what an academic blog can do in my own discipline. Scroll down her site and look at all the resources that are listed in the right and left columns. I’d like to create a blog that can do something similar in the field of Canadian literature studies, as well as something which can also connect to my work on Northwest Passages.

Given that, aside from basic HTML, I not of much use in the design dept, I’m hoping that CTL will be able to help me:

a) design and implement an effective template/stylesheet up and running for my personal blog
b) use either Liz Lawley’s templates (which for the last week or so have been unavailable for download from her site) or another effective approach to get course blogs up for my current English 86 classes and probably my senior seminar on Michael Ondaatje

c)troubleshoot and get the hang of MT and what I’ll need to do to eventually do a lot of these things myself.

My goal in doing all this is that we can get a working model together for other parties at UVM (and, to some degree, elsewhere) of how blogs can be excellent tools to use in the literature classroom. Thanks to the great help I’ve received so far from CTL, I think we’re well on our way to making this all happen very soon.


1 steve cavrak { 09.16.04 at 9:34 am }

The proposed template is pretty attractive … the tab format resembles the format used in Microsoft’s “note taking” product … OneNote on Windows, Office 2004 on Macintosh. Click Here for Demo.
They have been handing out 60 day “free trials” of the Windows version at campus functions, maybe even at the book store. “Turn your computer into a super notebook. Improve how you do research, find notes you took last semester, share notes with classmates, and more easily reuse information with OneNote 2003.”

2 Paul Martin { 09.16.04 at 10:53 am }

I agree. Actually, I should probably see if I can upgrade to 2004. Does UVM have a license for that yet? I’ve been toying with grabbing the free demo of Office 2004, which I think goes for 30 days.
The tab format works so well in these blogs that I’m hesitant to even bother trying something else. For my Ondaatje seminar, which is small and for which I would only use the blog on a limited basis, the basic MT format will likely work fine.