UCC gives blogs to all students

UCC Student’s Union Communications Officer Kris Mcelhinney left a comment on my blog recently and mentioned that UCC now has blogs for any student that wants one. The new student email system has a blog option so that when you log in to your mail you can enable your blog.

With something like 15,000 students, that’s a potentially very large influx come October to the Irish Blog O’Sphere. Can IrishBlogs.ie and Planet.Journals.ie handle it?

University College Cork (University of the year again) has a strong tradition of web innovation. It was the first Irish College to have a website, which was also 9th in the world and also as I mentioned before UCC Interactive TV has audio and video podcasts of lectures and special events.

I asked Kris would there be any censorship of these blogs if they are critical of UCC or any faculties, he responded:

just as a student must follow rules with regard the sending emails from their student account it is expected that they will follow the same rules of good practise in their use of these new facilities.

I’d love to see every university encourage blogging and even give classes on it. It’s a very good way of learning how to communicate and improve your writing skills and with universities meant to be hotbeds of research and new thinking it might be a great way of sharing knowledge with a worldwide audience.

18 Responses to “UCC gives blogs to all students”

  1. Playing the devil’s advocate, I wonder if some of the electronic things done by Irish third level produce value for money.

    If students already are on Bebo or MySpace, aren’t they blogging already? Do they need to inflict an IT burden on the university in the form of server space, network bandwidth usage and specialist support with the addition of student blogs?

    If students have free email accounts, do they really need a university mail account? Should tax money be put into maintaining canteens, libraries, and lecture halls instead of subsidising a four-year temporary e-mail account?

  2. I’m disappointed they didn’t go for WPMU but it’s probably not on their radar because it can be downloaded for free. That’s a pity because of all the advantages WordPress has.
    From a quick look at one or two blogs, it does appear that they have rss feeds and comments, but don’t have trackbacks or pingbacks. The URLs aren’t great either unfortunately. Hopefully these issues will be rectified in time.

    Another advantage of WordPress is that students would be able to export their blog posts and comments at the end of their time at college should they wish to hold on to several years worth of time and effort!

    I must get in touch with the CIT ..

  3. Mark Dowling says:

    /me waits for the first “fascist university censors student blogs” post to slashdot…

  4. adam says:

    You’d think they’d use blog software developed by someone local like. Not that it’d be the first time UCC made stupid IT decisions…

  5. EWI says:

    It’s a very good way of learning how to communicate and improve your writing skills

    I’d like to see a list of academics whose writing has improved through blogging, Mr. Mulley.


  6. Damien says:

    It is a pity that WP was not used.

  7. Gavin says:

    I tried a test blog back in November, http://student.ucc.ie/blogs/gavinsblog/, I go along with Donncha, it is underwhelming.

  8. Holy Shmoly! says:

    UCC students blogging

    Damien Mulley has the scoop about the latest development at University College Cork. All students will be given blogs!
    While that’s great news for blogging in Ireland, I’m disappointed that they didn’t choose WordPress Mu. I had a q…

  9. […] Damien links to the list of blogs on UCC’s servers. I have to agree with Damien, and I would love to see more students blogging, it would be an interesting way of interacting with other students and, indeed, lecturers. […]

  10. dt says:

    Looks like the blogs have caused some problems already. See here http://student.ucc.ie/blogs/cogdisred/index_06_03.htm

    “I used to have a link here for my ‘real’ blog that’s been up and running over a year but someone from my class used material from it to cause trouble among my classmates so I deleted it…so… NOTHING TO SEE HERE…sorry. “

  11. John Murphy says:

    Hi all

    I’m the one responsible for creating the blogs-for-students
    facility to which Damien alluded above. It’s been in place
    at UCC since last October. Alas, I’d have to admit that
    it wasn’t part of any Grand Plan – it just happened to be a
    free ‘added extra’ in a mail system called Surgemail that
    I installed back then. I merely activated the feature and
    waited to see how things would pan out. I didn’t publicise
    it all that much either, apart from making mention of it in
    passing in one or two mailshots to the students.

    (Somebody above dropped the c-word (censorship) – I did in
    fact point out to students that all content is covered by
    the UCC AUP but that otherwise they’re free to experiment
    with the feature as they please! Seems not unreasonable)

    So far only a few students have used this particular blogging
    tool – possibly because those ‘in the know’ about WebLogging
    would be aware of far, far better blogging tools & sites –
    and those uninterested may not have the spare time anyway…

    The abovementioned Surgemail has several add-ons, of which,
    being realistic, I think the calendar tool is the one most
    likely to be of PRACTICAL, day-to-day use to students,
    far more so than the Blog feature.

    Nevertheless, I hope I don’t come across as being a wee bit
    negative about blogging – in fact I’m all for anything that
    ‘hones’ inter-personal communication & writing skills and
    even more so if it helps, as somebody said above, in
    “shareing knowledge with a worldwide audience”.
    (Hmmm, how come you don’t hear the term Global Village
    being bandied about quite so much any more?)

    IMHO, Blogging is Great – for those with the spare time 🙂

    Trouble is, one has to be conscious of the demands on
    students time and of the difficulty that they experience
    in finding the hours (& spare workstations!) to fit in blogs,
    wikis, personal email, mailing lists, instant messaging,
    and so on.

    I guess what we now have is a sort of technological free
    market – with the result that individual students opt for
    a minimal – and unpredictable – combination of what is
    easiest to use, what’s enjoyable to use (bebo?), what’s
    fashionable with their pals (bebo!), what’s good for
    a spot of chatting-up (any of the IM tools and
    of course Bebo!) and last but maybe not least,
    what’s useful to them academically.

    Should ‘corporate-entity-UCC’ be pushing the blog concept?
    I honestly don’t know. Is it something that will stand
    the test of time or will blogs & wikis converge?
    I don’t know. The crystal ball looks very cloudy
    from where I’m sitting 🙂

    As an example, back in 1994 I think we were the first of
    the dot ie universities to provide email accounts for EVERY
    registered student on campus. Result: by the end of that
    academic year there were only about 1K of them actually
    accessing their accounts more than once-weekly and roughly
    only 3K at least once in total during that entire year.
    Poor salesmanship on our part? Perhaps – but more than
    likely it was simply Right tool, Wrong timing!

    Admittedly, email HAS stood the test of time ever since then.
    However, try a Google search for “EMail is for Old People”
    and you’ll find lots of comments going back over two years
    that provides lots of food for thought on that front!
    Will some pundit claim before long that “Blogging’s for Oldies?”
    Who knows? Not I anway.

    BTW: Read about SurgeBlog at http://netwinsite.com/surgeblog

    John Murphy

  12. John Murphy says:

    Ouch, sorry about the extraneous linefeeds in the previous post!

  13. […] University College Cork is providing their students with their own blogs. With about 15,000 students the aim of the college blogs seems to be to encourage learning through communication. That means more students will be sharing views, ranting and mucking around in the Blogosphere. Great stuff. University College Cork (University of the year again) has a strong tradition of web innovation. It was the first Irish College to have a website, which was also 9th in the world and also as I mentioned before UCC Interactive TV has audio and video podcasts of lectures and special events. […]

  14. Roger says:

    Can irishblogs.ie handle it? In the run-up to the launch (which we hope will be in the middle of next week) of our Irish search engine, Scrudu we’ve greatly improved our feed fetcher – for our new Irish Blogs search which will be on Scrudu – so it should be able to handle a multiple of times what we are working with at the moment. We’ve also strucutured it as a feed server with a xml-rpc interface – so we don’t have to get irishblogs.ie, corkblogs.com, dublinblogs.com all separately.

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  16. Barry says:

    Hi all you Bloggers and fans of Gavin Sheridan (award winning Blogger) and defender of free speech. Well have I got news for you. Gavin has become a right pain (and not just in the arse) lately and has introduced some serious censorship on his publicinquiry.eu website. He simply could not deal with all the negative comment that was being posted in response to his, and Anthony’s (the brother) headline pieces. Our Gav was at his wits end with all the criticism (from The Crewser, Dalkey Observer and others) that he introduced a device known as “your comment is awaiting moderation�
    This is a euphemism for Editorial Censorship.

    It gives old Gav some breathing space and a chance to filter out any negative comment.

    Can this be the same Gav who has been blogging since 2002 finally adopting some of the tactics used by the Chinese rulers to keep their peasants at bay. Surely not.

    Maybe it has something to do with the fact that the items which Gav and Anto are putting up as headline pieces are so threadbare and indefensible that the fans who used to enjoy this type of thing are getting bored and are not leaping to his defence anymore.

    Anyway its really sad to see this great Blogger adopt such extreme tactics to prevent people responding to his views.

    Censorship, they say is the last refuge of the vanquished.

    It does not auger well for the street cred of this famed Blogger.

  17. […] Damien Mulley has the scoop about the latest development at University College Cork. All students will be given blogs! […]