I was having a conversation with a colleague of mine last night about the PSU Blog project and we started to consider a strange concept — not branding it a blog service at all. I have recently been talking to people about the notion that more and more students are showing up on campus with personal blogs and are not making the jump out of that space and into University-provided environments. It got us thinking about what a blog really is under the surface … a personal content management system.
Fast forward to this morning and I had the opportunity to sit down with Glenn Johnson from the Dutton eEducation Institute to talk about ePortfolios with a group from Elmira College. Glenn is Penn State’s project manager for our ePortfolio project. You can see some of his work by visiting the Institute’s ePortfolio research site. Glenn showed us some of his data (1, 2) that showed how students are actually beginning to use the 1 GB of space the Univeristy allots us for academic work.
Why do I bring this up? In my mind the power behind common blogging tools can/should/will empower students to store and manage their portfolios. Should they have to care about html and web design? I guess if they want to, but in my mind once you get over the html stuff a personal content management system (like WordPress or MT) is the key to tracking and exposing their intellectual development. All of my notebooks from undergrad were lost in a flooded garage … all my work from grad school is locked in Zip disks labeled “stuff” … how do I take a look back? I have been blogging for several years now and have the unique ability to look back and see where I have been to help inform where I am going. I wish I had access to my thinking from 10-15 years ago.
So, when is a blog not a blog? When you brand it as a personal content management system. Think of the power then … you want to blog, publish, take notes, turn in papers, or do anything in an e-model? The personal content managent system can do it and it can do it so it is stored, managed, searchable, accessible, and easy. There is more to come in this space as I explore what it would mean to pitch this idea this way … anyone have thoughts?