Even if one doesn’t buy into the idea that blogging=street cred, a good number of folks are thinking about moving away from using a full-blown CMS such as Blackboard, Moodle, or Angel and using blogs to manage their courses instead.
For those who are considering that route, what are some of the tools that come in handy, especially if you’re teaching multiple courses? We’ve written about a number of these tools already here at ProfHacker; consider this a “round-up” post of sorts.
A blogging platform. There are a lot of options out there, both free and paid. Among the most common are Blogger, WordPress (which can be hosted at WordPress.com or on your own domain), WordPress MU, and TypePad. If you’re looking at running WordPress on your own domain, you’ll need to decide whether to choose standard WordPress or WordPress MU.
A hosting service. Though there are good free blogging options out there, paying to host your blog on your own domain gives you a lot more control. (For example, WordPress.com, for security reasons, doesn’t allow users to install their own plugins, which can be rather limiting, depending on what you’re trying to do.) If you think that setting up your own domain might be for you, you’ll want to check out Julie’s thoughts about web hosting.
A blogging client. If you manage multiple blogs that often get the same information posted to them (for instance, I often post things, such as departmental announcements or announcements of campus events, that are the same for all classes), a blogging client can save you a good deal of time and effort. Both desktop and mobile clients are available.
An RSS reader. Jason’s written before about the wonders of RSS. One of the best ways to keep up with multiple news feeds is to use an RSS reader, or “feed reader.” It can really help to streamline your reading. I use Google Reader myself, but there are plenty of other options, both for the desktop and for the web browser.
Here’s my setup:
- Hosting: 1and1 (1and1 doesn’t support one-click install for software such as WordPress, so if you’re not comfortable installing manually, you might want to consider a different host).
- Blogging platform: In the process of moving from WordPress to WordPress MU.
- Blogging clients: Ecto, wpToGo (Android).
- RSS reader: Google Reader.
What other tools and/or setups are people using for managing their course blogs? Are there any blogging practices readers find particularly helpful? Let us know in the comments!
The image in this post is by Flickr user Gideon Burton and is CC-licensed.