Wednesday, May 15, 2013

Using and maintaining the weblogs

I'll be honest with you: I've retired, so it's really up to CESL what to do with these weblogs. In their heydey they were wonderful, colorful, interesting and alive; people from the public read and appreciated them, and commented; our students interacted with them and with each other. People put pictures up and they documented our times, much like Facebook does now.

I don't want to delete them altogether, for that very reason: they document those times, and they are interesting. In order to keep them alive, I have to basically shut them off to spammers, who would like to comment on every single one of them, and yet still make it so you can scroll through them and find good things, or look at pictures of those eras.

The following is a guideline if you (someone from CESL) would like to actively use them, change them, or even delete them. I will make my arguments for using them first. But even if you choose to leave them around and not use them, they will serve as a kind of scrapbook of the era, namely 2000-2010. The ought decade. Please do. I'm still attached to them sentimentally.

We put lots of things on them: student work, congratulations to graduates, whole research papers with abstracts, links to student weblogs which had student writing, etc. The purpose was not only to share with each other and with the program, but also to share and interact with the public, and actually publish important work. I always believed that having a real audience elevated a piece of work, and made issues like plagiarism more pertinent. I won't belabor the point, but the weblogs were wonderful for this; I still consider them a success.

I'll say another thing about SIU classes actually publishing things for public benefit. Yes, I have trouble with the porn-spammers who could come in and, as a comment, leave a link to some porn site. I think SIU should avoid any connection with such people, and have worked hard to keep these guys off our sites; hopefully I've been successful. I need your continuous vigilance, though; I can't do it alone. One time I let a student put our class movie up on YouTube on his ID, then I couldn't clear it of comments that I didn't approve of; I think we in CESL must constantly either not allow comments or make them so we read them before they actually appear. I believe I have successfully done this on all our weblogs, but I'm not sure. It is better to delete the weblog, then let commenters comment freely and not be able to monitor. That's the main reason I've set up this guide.

CESL weblogs are set up on three different IDs: cesl07@hotmail (teachers), cesl06@yahoo (newstalk & miscellaneous), and ceslstudents@yahoo (main one, with alumni, etc.) The passwords for all three are the same, a well-known building all one word. Virtually any weblog, you can scroll down to the saluki, click on it, and learn how to get into it. Recently Google has become more sensitive, though, and required my cell-number for verification; I gave it to them, and now you may have trouble getting in. If you do, let me know and I'll transfer the account; I really don't mind. If it lets you log in, choose the weblog you want to publish in and publish away. I trust any CESL employee to do what is best for CESL here; I always have, and have never been let down.

Inside the "Settings" settings you'll see where you can control who comments, control who can post, control the template, control the title of the blog, etc. It's yours now to do as you wish.