MultiUser Blogging for PGSIT

I’m not sure, but I think I’ve posted about the Blogs@SI project we have going on at Penn State in the Solutions Institute (I have too many blogs). It’s been a successful pilot test of something we think will have big impact on the teaching and learning landscape in the next year or so. We are planning an aggressive rollout starting in the fall of a production environment that will give many faculty, staff, and students access to create their own spaces. The technology we are using is Drupal — a great multi user blog toolset, but an even better web content management environment.With all that said, what really has me excited is the implementation of the Blogs@PGSIT on the same (yet slightly updated) foundation. Let’s back up … PGSIT is really the Pennsylvania Governor’s School for Information Technology. It’s a PA Department of Education funded program that runs every summer on our campus under my supervision (and by supervision I mean I am the PI … the program director and her staff really run the thing) for five weeks. We bring the Commonwealth of PA’s best and brightest high school rising juniors to campus and put them through the paces in every way possible — solving big time problems, impacting the community, visiting great locations, and learning about all things IT.

This is the last year for the program at PSU … state funding and other factors have limited what we can do going forward. It doesn’t really matter though — this will be our best program ever … and that is saying a lot! With that in mind, we wanted to create something that would expose the amazing things going on in the program to the larger world … in the past, its been us seeing the greatness and having trouble explaining why the entire Institute gives up five weeks of summer, without pay, to lead this group of kids. This is how the Blogs@PGSIT came about — we wanted to share what was going on inside with you all on the outside. This is an invitation to this community to peek in, take a look around, and let us know what you think. The space is built around collaboration and we invite comments and feedback.

I’ve spent the better part of the last three weeks planning my course — a strange and twisted version of our introductory IST course. I am calling it Web 2.0: The Read/Write Evolution and I’m planning it all online in the light of day. I just sort of feel like a course that is about the next generation of tools to create community should invite the community’s perspective. So, do us all a favor and drop by during the next five weeks. There will podcasts, blog posts, reflection, and so much more going on. Hey, here’s to grand experiments! As my old hero, Bob Ross always used to say, “The worst thing that can happen is wonderful.” Amen.

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