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Free LJ Woes

Livejournals ads on free accounts just got exponentially more annoying. That's not going to affect me for my personal blog - I have a paid account - but it does affect my choices about what I ask my students to use. I would use Dreamwidth, but for the necessity to send invites; this gets problematical with classes of 28, sometimes several in a term :(

Anyone else using blogs in the classroom? Any suggestions?

Comments

( 15 comments — Leave a comment )
noveldevice
Oct. 26th, 2010 05:07 pm (UTC)
Is it time to go to IT and ask them to set you up some kind of dedicated service on the college servers? They can use the LJ architecture, or one of the other big blog architectures--I know that that is possible.
intertext
Oct. 26th, 2010 05:15 pm (UTC)
Oh, I've been doing that for YEARS. Literally. Quite apart from the ads, there are privacy issues that would make it much better for us to use a college-branded instance of WP or some such. There is a Wordpress instance on a dedicated server which has been running as a pilot project for the past year. For faculty websites only. God alone knows when or if they'll roll it out to students.
noveldevice
Oct. 26th, 2010 05:16 pm (UTC)
Can you pitch it as a vital classroom tool as well as a really valuable learning experience for students who will probably have to have public (ie appropriate) blogging skills in their professional skillset?
intertext
Oct. 26th, 2010 05:26 pm (UTC)
um, yes. I've been doing that for years.

I've run workshops.

I've talked to admin.

I've begged IT

You don't know my college.

The only faint hope is that we have a new Dean in A&S who blogs himself (on wordpress). I might be able to get him behind me.

Edited at 2010-10-26 05:27 pm (UTC)
noveldevice
Oct. 26th, 2010 05:38 pm (UTC)
I'm sorry, I didn't mean to imply you hadn't been doing all you could.

I wish that universities actually had a bit more flexibility in their response to changing technologies. It seems like mostly what they do is hold off on everything with legs for as long as possible, if not forever, while jumping on the stuff that's just a flash in the pan and hanging on until the product literally disappears from the market and the last engineer capable of maintaining it has died of old age.
intertext
Oct. 26th, 2010 06:10 pm (UTC)
To be fair to the IT folks, I think they want to help but they are underfunded and overworked (so, what else is new). They are terrified of anything that will increase the need for support, so tend to be SLOOOOW and CAAAREFUUUL about rolling anything out.

I just heard via DW that DW actually has a group invite, where one code can be used for multiple accounts. My immediate problem may be solved :)
heleninwales
Oct. 27th, 2010 07:57 am (UTC)
It did occur to me after posting that because they're still a small organisation and thus possibly more inclined to be helpful, the DW people might be amenable to giving blocks of invite codes to teachers to use with their students.

I hope the group invite option solves your problem.
heleninwales
Oct. 26th, 2010 05:18 pm (UTC)
Do you need the interactivity of a system like LJ or DW? By that I mean the ability to have friends lists?

Otherwise there is Blogspot, which I'm not keen on because you can't set the privacy like you can on LJ/DW. There are also the free Wordpress accounts.

However, if it's part of the course requirements, as noveldevice says, the best bet is to ask your IT people to set up a system of blogs on the college servers. I've just set up a Wordpress blog on my own website and as I understand it, you can have multiple blogs if you want.

Another alternative is Moodle the VLE system that many colleges use. I've just had a look at my Moodle account on our local college's system and that does automatically give each student a blog. It's likely that your college aleady has some kind of VLE (also called an LMS), so you may have blogs easily available.
intertext
Oct. 26th, 2010 05:24 pm (UTC)
We have an LMS called Desire to Learn. It has a blogging tool, but it sucks. For one thing the absolute URL's it generates are long and counter-intuitive. For another, my reading list just dumps every blog into my inbox with no filtering.

I chose LJ for its friends lists and for its ease of use.
semyaza
Oct. 26th, 2010 07:36 pm (UTC)
I wouldn't be surprised if I had 28 invite codes. You could probably get as many as you need as often as you need them.
owlfish
Oct. 26th, 2010 11:18 pm (UTC)
DW invite codes are not a problem. They regularly mention in the updates that if you need large batches, you can ask support directly for them and they will provide.
owlfish
Oct. 26th, 2010 11:21 pm (UTC)
And if you're looking to move over a community of people, or start a roleplaying game, you can contact us at accounts@dreamwidth.org or by opening a Support request in the Account Payments category -- we can create a "bulk" or "promo" invite code that will allow multiple accounts to be created with one code, and we're happy to give them out to anyone who needs them. We've done them in the past for roleplaying games, communities, conventions, conferences -- any time you're going to be talking up Dreamwidth to a lot of people, either in person or online, and don't want to make people type in those huge long strings of letters and numbers to join.
intertext
Oct. 27th, 2010 12:37 am (UTC)
Thank you! That's great to know. I think, failing a college blogging system, I may put students in DW next term. The new video ads on the free accounts are a real pain.
green_knight
Oct. 27th, 2010 03:22 pm (UTC)
Others have reccommended the DW batch invite codes. I am so glad I don't need to see LJ adverts, but as this point I would not reccommd them to anyone.

(However, you can change to basic accounts, which reduces the amount of adverts. You don't get the option when you first create the account, but IMHO it's worth losing a few icons to not spam your friends with adverts.
rahaeli
Oct. 29th, 2010 08:41 am (UTC)
Hey -- I'm here via search (I'm [staff profile] denise over on Dreamwidth, the co-owner) and I just wanted to repeat what the commenter up above said: we are happy to give out promo codes to teachers who are using DW in the classroom, and if there's anything else we can do for you to make things easier, we will totally see what we can do! I think it's awesome to see people using DW in the classroom, and it's the kind of thing we really, really, really want to facilitate.

Just email accounts@dreamwidth.org or open a support request in the Account Payments category. I will do whatever I can do for you!
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