Well, the point has finally arrived where I get to blog for work! One of our academic schools is concerned by their low student support results from the most recent student survey, and have approached the Learning Centre asking what we can do to help.

A large percentage of their students are part time (almost 70%!) so one of the problems in the past has been that they are unable to visit the Learning Centre very regularly so aren’t fully aware of our services. This is particularly true for those students who work full time and only come into the University in the evenings when our services are limited.

We’re hoping to embed some information skills sessions into their new modules when they revalidate next year, but in the meantime I’ve been set the task of improving the support by setting up a blog and will hopefully be improving the subject web pages and VLE support also.

Blogging for the Learning Centre is very different from my personal blogging, I’m using it more as a sort of noticeboard at the moment to make sure students are aware of the different services we can offer but hopefully in the future it will grow to be a place used for feedback and discussion via comments too.

I’ve chosen to use WordPress again, and have hosted it on their web space. I have to say I’m very impressed with just how easy it is to get started. It was relatively easy using their software on your own hosting but for beginners, WordPress’s own hosting package is great. I am also addicted to checking the stats which are built in, hopefully I’ll get over that soon! Big thumbs up to WordPress though, I’ll definitely be recommending it to beginners who want to start blogging.

  • This sounds really good. I know some of the teams at Warwick use blogs to great effect in communicating with students. Some of the subject teams do it and it has also been implemented by other areas, and even to support specific bits of software.

    Good luck with this!

    K

  • Jo Alcock

    Thanks Katharine!

    I’m really enjoying it so far. It seems to be gradually getting more visits but it’s difficult to get to those who really need it as they’re probably the people who don’t visit the Learning Centres and don’t use the subject pages.

    I’ll be promoting it at any sessions I do with SEBE students but that’s not likely to be many. 🙁

    Jo.

  • I think Warwick promotes them by getting links on departmental web pages (contacting page administrators or departmental secretaries) and by emailing whole courses of students.
    I dont know if either of those things would help?
    K
    x

  • Jo Alcock

    Thanks Katharine, it’s great to hear how others publicise these sort of things.

    I’ve got a link from the Learning Centre subject pages for the school, but it would definitely be good if I could get a link from the school pages too.

    Some enthusiast members of academic staff have said they will tell their students and one offered to e-mail the whole school (I’m not sure if that has been done yet). Unfortunately, I know from experience that many students don’t bother to read their e-mails however even if a couple did and found it useful then it would be worth it.