In a wonderful use of trackbacks, Mena Trott’s asking us to tell them how we use Moveable Type. Here’s how I use it – mostly for teaching, but also in my personal blog.

I have a personal installation with four blogs on it, only one of which is active. One is jill/txt, my personal blog, two of the others were for classes I taught in previous semesters, the last was just a test site. There are twenty-five users, none of which are active so I suppose I could delete them. Most of these had, at various times, access to the now-dormant teaching blogs. A few others I gave accounts so they could try out Moveable Type without actually installing it.

I also have an installation running with something like 70-80 users, around 60 of which are active. There’s a course blog for this semester’s web design and web aesthetics class, and individual blogs for each of the 54 students. There’s also a course blog for the class I taught last semester, which is dormant apart from the occasional comment on an old post. Most of the students from last semester have stopped blogging, but a few are still at it, so I don’t want to delete their blogs. A few students requested group blogs for group projects, which I gave them. Running an installation for that many students works flawlessly except that it was an utter pain to set up the individual accounts and blogs and connect them, and administering

Last spring I had each of 28 students in that year’s web design and web aesthetics class install their own version of Moveable Type. That was ambitious, but once done, they “owned” their means of production, and were capable of installing that kind of software, which was great.

In addition I’ve set up a few Moveable Type installations for other people, or to let someone test the system, or for the student representatives and so on. I don’t have access to these any more.
I don’t know how much the university would pay for Moveable Type. I doubt that I would have been able to integrate blogging into my teaching if it’d been costly for the university, at least not as a very junior faculty member – I snuck blogging in easily in part because I didn’t have to fight the budgets. There’s not a lot of money around for software, at least not in the humanities.

1 Comment

  1. ClÈment Laberge

    Hi Jill,

    Sounds a lot like our usage of MT with children 10 to 12 years old (and great to know that SixApart are actualy looking for those type of uses…). For your information:

    First description (sept 2003):
    http://carnets.ixmedia.com/mario/archives/002425.html

    No new description up to now (for sure at the end of the classes), but people can see the childrens work there:

    http://cyberportfolio.ixmedia.com

    It wont be easy to find a good alternative to MT… we are working on that, but the “internal coherence ” (is that ok?) of the tool is unique I think… and for learning, that’s a big difference!

    P.S. Others classes are actually working with a similar model in New-Brunswick (Canada), as you can see there:

    http://cahm.elg.ca/portfolios/

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