McGill Guide: Blogs.mcgill.ca

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http://kb.mcgill.ca/kb/article?ArticleId=1813&source=Article&c=12&cid=2
This service uses a multisite platform of the popular blogging CMS, WordPress. It is open to groups of faculty or students – ie units, research groups, clubs, etc. – but is not open to individuals. It is primarily geared towards production of ongoing content – blog entries etc detailing events, research, or issues related to the group’s activities. It is a bit more flexible than the WMS; users can request inclusion of WordPress Plugins as well as customized templates or themes for their blogs, for a fee. A set of pre-defined themes and plugins is offered. It is not clear from the ICS documentation how users are handled for the Blogs – ie whether blog editors can control access for others, and whether or not blog authors can use non-mcgill accounts etc.

There are currently c. 30 blogs. Most are administrative; some are research, of which few are updated on a frequent (ie weekly) basis. Latest posts in many date from 2009-2011.

Some issues to consider:
User management not clear.
Unlike McGill’s WMS, blogs have a disclaimer noting that the University doesn’t endorse views on Blogs.
Publicity – the system is not well utilized. This raises questions of sustainability. Also, it is more frequently used by administrative units than other groups.

Benefits:
A wordpress blog environment, easy to craft updates for ongoing subjects / topics.
Great for publicity.
Fewer restrictions on content, though still fall within normal McGill Guidelines. Authors can voice personal opinions etc.
You can embed videos (Vimeo / Youtube) from other accounts.

Drawbacks:
Customizable themes and templates still within McGill ‘Branding’.
Custom CSS?
Fees for custom plugins etc. Must be adaptable to entire MU install of WordPress (this means anything you request must work for the WHOLE system, not just your blog).
Some menu layout possible, though more restrictive than normal WordPress.

Ideally for:
Publicity about research or group activities. Less structured than the WMS.

Audiences:
Publicity, groups, and public facing audiences.