On Wed, 4 Jul 2007, Andy Powell wrote:
> 2) why do you want to host this at all when all of your staff and
> students can simply go to blogger (or whatever) for free?
I'm particularly interested in other people's views on this one.
In considering expanding services to student residences some time ago, we
pondered whether or not we should offer a local instant messaging service,
Jabber-driven for example. We decided (as I gather other sites have) that
there was probably no point: those who wanted to IM already had such
facilities from the external providers, and wouldn't want to be hassled
with another local-only one. We also thought about providing blog space
on a small-scale, and couldn't really justify the effort.
In terms of staff it may be different; but it depends on the motivation
for providing it in the first place. If it is just for staff to idly
chat, then maybe you're better leaving them to it with a third party
service. If the intention is to provide a mechanism of imparting
information, even in an informal fashion, to colleagues ("here's what I'm
up to ...", "here's what I discovered recently..."), then perhaps
providing a locally-controlled locally-authenticated environment is
attractive. But again, I would consider that the most enthusiastic
bloggers are probably already doing it, and maybe don't want another site.
FoI may also be a consideration. Information posted on a local blogging
system will probably be 'held'. Information posted on third-party blogs
will probably not be.
I think, traditionally, much HE thinking has been to want to re-implement
services locally that grow into acceptance on the Internet. But maybe
that just isn't necessary sometimes. On the other hand, maybe policy,
legal, privacy and security concerns make local implementation of a
technology more attractive than using dubious third-party services,
balanced against the costs and support implications, of course.
A story. I dealt with an academic who was grumbling because mail from
Google Docs (invitations I think) were not arriving. Turns out their
mails were syntactically invalid in some way, and we were refusing them
(we are quite strict on that). It is a problem they had had before and
fixed, but it had crept in again. Anyway, said academic was not happy,
and said that he had designed his teaching around the ability of his
student group to be able to collaborate in Google Docs, and now he was
stuck. I suggested that basing his teaching on a beta application, whose
terms and conditions say it could be withdrawn at any time, and which say
that they are not bound to fix any problems, was probably not too wise a
I guess this illustrates that some academics will do what they want
anyway, without taking appropriate advice, and that if there is a new
technology out there they will try and use it. When there are funky new
technologies, there are pressures on IT departments and technical
implementors to reproduce them locally, but this can have many
implications of resourcing amongst others. Contrariwise, the state of
Internet network connectivity is such that there isn't much difference
between access a WAN service and a LAN service to the end user, and we are
largely confident in the general reliability of network connectivity these
days. This can be positive and negative.
> Head of Development, Eduserv Foundation
> [log in to unmask]
> +44 (0)1225 474319
> > -----Original Message-----
> > From: Managing an institutional web site
> > [mailto:[log in to unmask]] On Behalf Of McConnell, Mike
> > Sent: 04 July 2007 15:33
> > To: [log in to unmask]
> > Subject: Query re blogging platforms for staff/students
> > Hi folks,
> > Does anyone (other than Warwick) have any experience of
> > large-scale roll-outs of blogging software to staff and/or students?
> > We'd like to provide such a facility and are fairly confident
> > we don't want to provide a discrete installation of, say,
> > Wordpress to each user, for various reasons including:
> > - authentication
> > - spam control
> > - file space
> > - ease of updates/changes to the software
> > I'd be interested to hear from anyone who has provided such a
> > service - what tools did you choose, and why?
> > I will summarise useful responses back to the list.
> > Kind regards,
> > Mike
> > -----------------
> > Mike McConnell
> > Web Team
> > University of Aberdeen
> > [log in to unmask]
> > http://www.abdn.ac.uk/web/ <http://www.abdn.ac.uk/web/>
> > Directorate of Information Technology
> > Edward Wright Building
> > Dunbar Street
> > Aberdeen
> > AB24 3QY
> > Tel: +44 (0)1224 27 2602
> > Fax: +44 (0)1224 27 3372
> > ------------------------------------------
. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
Jethro R Binks
Computing Officer, IT Services
University Of Strathclyde, Glasgow, UK