Blogs@Baruch Semester in Review: Part Four, Extra-Curricular Blogging

The Baruch College community has begun to see Blogs@Baruch not just as a blogging platform or substitute course management system, but also as powerful tool for meeting a wide range of self-publishing needs.

Screen shot 2009-12-17 at 12.30.35 PMA variety of constituencies at the College have begun using the system for a range of internal and external communication. We have some fantastic librarians at the Newman Library, and they’re using Blogs@Baruch for a Reference Blog, an Idea Lab, and a Graduate Research Blog. They’ve also begun using CommentPress to discuss a Library Planning document. The Institute shares many interests and goals with the College’s librarians, and we have so much to learn from them. I’m particularly interested in collaborating with them to explore the role of technology and self-publishing in cultivating digital literacies among our students. This semester’s conversations were a great start.

Screen shot 2009-12-17 at 12.29.08 PMThe Baruch College Honors Program has begun using Blogs@Baruch this semester for a number of projects. They’re now hosting their homepage on the site, taking advantage of WordPress’ elegant content management features, and offering the staff an easy way to stay in contact with students (current and prospective). Also, first year Baruch Scholars have been given their own blogs to cultivate over their careers here, and their posts aggregate here. This is envisioned as a kind-of low stakes eportfolio project: give the students the space, and encourage (but don’t require) them to explore it. Another interesting Honors publishing initiative is the Change For Kids blog, where students working as reading tutors in a number of New York City elementary schools are blogging about their experiences, taking advantage of the opportunity to collaboratively reflect on and work through the challenges of working with children. Kudos to the Baruch Honors Program!

Frank Fletcher, the Executive Director of the Graduate Programs at the Zicklin School of Business, has been spearheading the business school’s move towards self-publishing. Frank has been encouraging his colleagues in Zicklin to explore a variety of initiatives on Blogs@Baruch over the past six months, and is now publishing to Lexington 24:25, where he’ll highlights developments in the MBA program and “identify emerging needs and trends in management education.” We look forward to supporting Zicklin, particularly in their efforts to connect Baruch students with potential employers and alumni.

Screen shot 2009-12-17 at 12.27.53 PMThree journals are now hosted on Blogs@Baruch. Lexington Universal Circuit: A Journal of Economics and Politics is edited and authored by Baruch undergrads, launched last month (see details here), and we look forward to seeing that project continue to evolve. Dollars & Sense, which used to publish the selected journalism of Baruch students once a year as a beautiful (but costly to produce) magazine, now publishes on a rolling basis, for free, using Blogs@Baruch. While I myself miss the bound hard copy version, and see this transition as a microcosm of the larger troubles facing journalism, I’m happy that the faculty members who oversee the project– Josh Mills and Andrea Gabor– see the opportunities that are made available by self-publishing. For instance, student work produced in the fall doesn’t need to wait until the spring for publication; a wider range of work can be featured; and it’s now easier to share the work of our students with a much broader audience. Finally, iMagazine, the journal of student writing overseen by the Baruch College Writing Center, is in the process of migrating to Blogs@Baruch; stay tuned for a launch early next calendar year at this url.

There are other ongoing initiatives: the journalism department is using Blogs@Baruch to plan a new The East 20s, a food news site being created by the Department of Journalism and the Writing Professions at Baruch, and to serve the multimedia reporting of its students. The Baruch College Teaching Blog remains active. And, well, we can even include as a Blogs@Baruch initiative; our fellows have simply been killing it this semester.

These are just a few of the most exciting non course-based uses of Blogs@Baruch; there are others in the planning stages that promise to take advantage of the power of this publishing platform to create unique opportunities for members of the Baruch community to interact with each other and audiences beyond the campus. One is our plan to support selected student bloggers who’ll be tasked with chronicling their lives at the College for a broader audience. I’ve often said that we have the most interesting students in the world, but few of them know just how interesting they are. Blogs@Baruch, by providing multiple paths into the work our students and faculty are doing, makes the case more powerfully than I ever could.