Setting up a community blog: The learning curve

Part of being a PhD student on a university funded scholarship is that I get assigned different “jobs” as part of my responsibilities and duties of the funding I receive.  While at times it’s a little heavy considering I have a PhD to do, one of the things I’ve found really useful is learning how use Web 2.0 tools to set up and (hopefully) provide the postgraduate research (PGR) community with a useful space.

The first thing I had to do was an audit of what the School of Education was currently using and what was the process of getting information online.  This involved talking to all the interested parties (students, lecturers, web designers, web moderators etc.) in my school and then getting information from others on the faculty level.  I did this to find out how things were working and what was being used before I jumped in.

There’s a lot more navigating and negotiating to this than you think!  But I thought it was best to get a sense of what was going on and the perspectives of different people before moving forward.

From these discussions I thought that perhaps going back and clarifying the purpose of each online tool was something that needed to be done and thus, discussion about how best to use the university website and how to adapt it to purpose are ongoing.

Thus, the emergence of using an external blog was discussed and I began setting it up via WordPress to see, practically, what I needed to consider in order to make it usable for the PGR community (as opposed to being a personal space).

Some of the things that came out of this was:

Why:  What are the specific reasons PGRs would need to visit the blog?

Focus: How can this blog meet those reasons?

Layout:  What do I need to do to make it easy for people to find what they’re looking for?

Wording: What type of discourse am I using?

This is an ongoing process that involves quite a lot of people and it’s a strange balance of trying to meet the needs of all within the practicalities of the blog itself.

More on this as I continue on this particular journey!  For now, have a look on the beta site…

Thanks for reading and please leave a comment

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.