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February 22, 2010

What is a blog?

Blogs are still quite misunderstood by many, probably due to the original usage of blogs. When most people hear "blog", they think of reading someone's online diary that contains all their challenges, activities, and reflections on life. This is only one usage of blogs that exist today.

Lets start from scratch...

From the Oxford English Dictionary (available online to the Case community):

  • Weblog was the original term and appeared in 1997 as it relates to the history of blogs.
  • Weblog is "a frequently updated web site consisting of personal observations, excerpts from other sources, etc., typically run by a single person, and usually with hyperlinks to other sites; an online journal or diary".
  • Blog is the shorten version of weblog and appeared in 1999.
When I teach about blogging, I often define blogs using the following common traits:
  • website,
  • organized by dated entries,
  • contains an archives functionality,
  • provides a RSS feed (RSS feeds will be explored in future Learning 2.0 @ CWRU blog entries.),
  • and contains many entries with links out to elsewhere on the web.
Of course these common traits may be manipulated by the creator, but these represent the typical blog and its functionality. In addition blogs contain other traits such as:
  • managed by a software application that can be installed on your own server or hosted by one of many web providers,
  • little or no web programming knowledge needed depending on the choices made by the creator,
  • and blog entries can be organized by categories or tags (Tagging will be explored in future Learning 2.0 @ CWRU blog entries.).
In the future, we will explore why to use a blog, how to create a blog, and many examples of blogs in action.


February 01, 2010

Resources To Expand Knowledge

Since the primary audience of this blog is the Case Western Reserve University community, I will highlight resources available to you to supplement your desire to learn more about web 2.0 tools and practices. I will also be providing plenty of free resources for everyone else as well.

You are know asking yourself "what are some of those wonderful resources". Which is a very good question.

CaseLearns is a great method to get some hands on expertise in various web-related skills and resources. The CaseLearns program is designed to provide instruction for the Case Western Reserve University community members on how to find, use and present information and information technologies. All CaseLearns classes are open to current Case Western Reserve University’s faculty, students, staff, emeriti faculty, alumni, Senior Scholars, and CIM conservatory faculty and students. Non-Case registrants will be charged $100 per class if seats are available. Certain classes will be highlighted as the tools are presented in the blog, but some highlights include:

  • Basics of blogging
  • Understanding RSS feeds
  • Google Apps: an introduction
  • Basics of wikis
  • Multimedia Authoring
  • Audio recording & editing
  • Introduction to digital video
  • Digital images
  • Dreamweaver CS4

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Safari Books Online provides over 40 publishers and over 8000 online books to Case users as of today. It is the primary source for anyone looking to learn more computers, software, programming, Internet, information technology, etc. Books can even be discovered on e-business, security, and IT management. Just remember you must be on Case's wired network or have VPN logged-in on your computer to gain access since most library-provided resources are authenticated by IP addresses and do not require passwords.

And last but not not least, you best resource is people. The Case community has very talented and dedicated faculty, staff, students, and colleagues that are leading the way in web 2.0 tools and services. Some examples include the Kelvin Smith Library staff that understand information resources and management, the staff of Information Technology Services that are pushing the campus technology to be the best and an example to other organizations, the staff of Case Help assisting in all your computer needs, and many others. As the blog grows various departments and people will be introduced that you can consult for your web 2.0 needs. I will also invite some of the experts to be guest writers on the Learning 2.0 @ CWRU blog.