For today’s daily posting I decided to look into how students at Mary Washington are using blogging. I started by looking through blogs run by friends of mine who attend the university. Since I work at the Digital Knowledge Center a few of the blogs that I looked towards belonged to my fellow tutor friends. Mainly I also looked at their blogs because I knew that they had blogs and used them with varying frequency.
Visually I was surprised that of the ten plus student blogs I looked into none of them had repeating themes. The exception of course was that I had a friend who had not yet set up her website other then installing WordPress. Therefore this blog had zero content and was loaded with the new default WordPress theme. Otherwise the themes and presentation of content covered a range of visually pleasing and interesting presentations. Oddly out of the small sample group I looked into none of the students were using scroll themes, which quite a few of the academic blogs had used. Here is a look at what Kutoof (a DKC tutor) did with her home page.
Also as a cool example on how websites are always changing here are two examples of different home pages that Chelsea set up. The first is a theme she was using earlier this week with the second being her new and current theme.
For each of the students I looked at their top level domains. I only looked at their subdomains if their main domain linked directly to those sites. I tried to explore sites to their full extent and get most that I could out of each site. Many of the student sites are set up as a space that represents who the student is and what work they have done. Usually there are links to academic work, often with resume/CV, and an about page. Each presents aspects that the student is proud about their skills. Quite a few also included a brief statement at the end of their about page referencing that they were still in the progress of building their site.
However not all the sites were set up in this way. Some sites like Stephanie Buckler’s Conversing Topics are less about presenting a resume site or personal site. Instead in Stephanie’s case she uses her site as a place that explores both her academic assignments but also topics she is passionate about. The site focuses more on topics then herself or a resume.
Overall each of the blogs I looked into the students paid close attention to how they represented their sites. I was impressed by the quality of the content that my friends and fellow peers were creating in shaping their digital identities. The variety and individuality in each site was great to see and made me want to go back into my own site and improve it.