Creating A Course Website Through Umass Blogs

You can create an easy course website through UMass Blogs. And you don't need web development skills or Dreamweaver. Your own blog site is already set up through OIT. You can also set up additional blogs for free by logging into SPIRE as an instructor, going to "My OIT" and creating a course account.

UMass Blogs

http://blogs.umass.edu

The UMass Blogs provide pre-established themes that make your course blog look professional without a lot of work on your part. And because many of these themes allow you to create tabs, your blog can have multiple pages, just like a regular website. Once your page is set up, posting to it is not really that different from sending emails.

  • Post announcements (impending due dates, class cancellations, reminders)
  • Link to websites you'd like your students to check out.
  • Create a course calendar with readings and assignments.
  • Post your syllabus.
  • Post or link to images, videos, and podcasts.
  • Give students a space to respond to course readings, class discussions, or the blog itself.
  • Give your teaching and your class public visibility.
  • Share your teaching experiences with other instructors.

Public vs Private

UMass Blogs (unlike SPARK, which is password protected) are public—anyone inside or outside of UMass can view them. This has both advantages and disadvantages. Because it is a public forum, students may feel motivated to do their best work. Since they don't have to log in, they may visit your site more often. And because it's a webpage (unlike SPARK), it looks more visually appealing. On the other hand, its public nature means that you need to be more concerned about student privacy issues and copyright.

You can set visibility options on UMass Blogs to limit what communities will have access to your blog.


More Info

UMass Blogs
http://blogs.umass.edu

UMass Blog Directory
http://blogs.umass.edu/directory

Example Course Blogs
http://blogs.umass.edu/jfan
http://blogs.umass.edu/anthro397mm-ekrause-2
http://blogs.umass.edu/acctg222
http://blogs.umass.edu/ewbumass

OIT Workshops on Setting Up a Course Blog
http://www.oit.umass.edu/academic/workshops/index.html

Help
http://blogs.umass.edu/get-help

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