via John Robb
From Gavin Brown, the webmaster at Villa Julie College:
“We are using it (Manila) to publish our academic departments as non-blogged, traditional websites. To that end, we have built a Manila site for each academic department, with a department faculty member as direct editor.
The revolutionary aspect of it is that we are getting our own faculty to do the publishing, directly in Manila. This may not sound like a big deal, but if you know much about colleges, then you may know that getting the faculty to use anything technology-ish is tremendously difficult. Many college websites have poor quality academic department areas due, at least in part, to lack of participation by the faculty.
Manila has enabled us to overcome this hurdle, and has gotten even our most technology-shy faculty to start getting on their websites and build real content. And because they see their own handiwork immediately, they have much more pride and investment in it.”
John says “This brings up an interesting point. It may be that in order to get people used to the idea of weblogging, they should start with a small traditional site that they can easily edit in a browser. Manila provides that with an “Edit this Page” button on every page the assigned editor has control over. As they get used to the experience, they would likely see the benefit to adding a weblog to their site.”
I’ve been thinking more about this as more and more teachers are asking me to set them up with Manila sites. A couple have even just plunged in a made sites without my help. Villa Julie has created some starting templates for their departments, and if we ever get to that point, those basic templates are going to be key. If I ever get the time, I need to play more with that idea.
I’ve also got to write some documentation on what posting is and what it is supposed to accomplish. Joe is doing a good job of getting his kids talking about history in words. My group is adding comments to the latest Bees site at a pretty good clip as well. But mine at least lack a depth that I think I assumed they would get to.
There is a longer post brewing here about the obstacles of implementation by staff and how to nurture community.