It’s orientation week….

If we could give everyone a bottle of ‘Rookie Orientation Sauce’ we’d do it now!

Welcome to (almost) semester start. Everyone can access their WebCT courses from today, and new students in particular are very, very welcome.

Please let us know if you have any worries or questions about semester start – we need to make sure everyone is on the right courses and that no-one is lost or struggling, so please give one of the programme team a shout if you’re having problems.

Here’s to a happy and successful semester!

A glitch when logging in.

update 13 September: the glitch is fixed!

hi everyone! I wanted to describe the main glitch we’re experiencing with the new site at the moment, and explain the workarounds until we can get it fixed.

The glitch is that sometimes when you log in using the ‘login with EASE’ link on the home page, you end up at a blank page. We haven’t yet been able to solve this, but there are 2 workarounds.

1. when you get the blank page, just navigate back to the main page of the site, and you’ll find yourself logged in and ready to go. If you navigate back using the ‘back’ button on your browser you may need to hit the refresh/reload button to see your logged in state.

2. before you log into the site, log in to EASE separately. When you then click the ‘login with EASE’ link on the home page, it will log you in without the blank page.

We will fix the problem as soon as we possibly can – in the meantime, thanks for your patience.

Jen

e-books

I’m just about to embark on the programme and wondered about purchasing an Amazon Kindle

I’ve asked colleagues at my institution (De Montfort University) about compatability issues with our electronic resources – and the answer that came back was ‘probably better to stick with an iPad‘.

There’s a recent article on e-books at: http://www.insidehighered.com/news/2010/08/31/ebooks

Any views, experiences or advice from the programme team or other students?

A Word about WordPress

It’s really great to see the Programme embracing WordPress at last! I’ve been pottering through the MSc since 2006, and we’ve had a white-knuckle ride through many different approaches to blogging, social networking, and similar online fun – from early ‘dark’ blogging, through Elgg/Eduspaces, and even feu Google Wave (not to mention, of course, FB and SL).

WordPress Buttons and Stickers by Nikolay Bachiyski on Flickr (CC:BY)

During all this time I’ve had a strong belief that WordPress was one-to-watch: it’s free-and-open-source, has a rapid and dynamic development cycle, a huge community of creative users, and an effective architecture supporting all kinds of third-party themes and plugins. I’ve tried out other blog platforms, including Blogger (which has much to recommend it) but what always impressed about WordPress was that with little, if any, programming know-how, you can still be immensely creative, whether you choose to download and host it yourself from WordPress.org, or use hosted options at WordPress.com or Edublogs. (A friend of mine who is definitely creative but definitely not a Web developer has created several impressive sites with it.) I’m really surprised whenever I discover people have chosen other blogging platforms, but generally not surprised to learn their experience is disappointing: I’ve had very poor reports from major institutions who have chosen solutions based on TypePad or Drupal.

WordPress has gone from strength-to-strength, as I’ve mentioned elsewhere, and has an ecosystem all its own. When podcasting was the next-big-thing, plugins emerged to turn it into a podcasting application. Another plugin, ScholarPress, ventured to turn it into a VLE. One theme turned it into a convincing Twitter-like micro-blogging platform. There are plugins and themes to make it work with Iphones and other mobile platforms. Not all of them are perfect, but they all signal the huge potential of WP: essentially, wherever blogging is somewhere at the heart of requirements, WordPress has got to be considered.

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