WordPress Now Available to Faculty and Staff

Isn’t it about time you got a better website? I have exciting news for WOU’s faculty and staff. WOU is now making WordPress, the best website management tool on the market, available for anyone who wants it for a personal, work-related site. It makes creating and updating a website super easy — almost as easy as Microsoft Word! Toolbars, drag-and-drop, the whole enchilada.

No Dreamweaver, no saving to a “P” drive, and certainly no clunky HMTL. Just type and hit the publish button.

Whether you want to create pages for your courses, blog about your research, or post pictures of the giant sequoia, WordPress will make it a snap.

Interested? Drop me a line and I’ll create a WordPress site for you. It won’t replace any existing website you have until you’re ready, so you’re free to take it for a test drive. I’m also happy to schedule one-on-one training session in your office or here in the Technology Resource Center (HL 124), and I’ll be available to assist you as you customize and improve your site. I can also help you move over existing content.

By some estimates, over two billion people worldwide now have Internet access. You can reach them literally with the click of a button. Maintaining a personal website is not only easy, it’s also good for WOU’s outreach and marketing efforts, which benefits from all those beautiful pictures of the giant sequoia you’ll share with the world.

Still not convinced?  Check out a few of these videos on the benefits of using WordPress (you can ignore anything about installing Worpdress, which you won’t need to do):

And if you’re thinking of using WordPress in a non-WOU capacity, here’s a longer video that will walk you through the entire process:

If you’re ready to make the jump to WordPress, drop me a line.

The Technology Resource Center – Drop-In Tutoring Hours

The Technology Resource Center – Drop-In Tutoring Hours

Modeled on the popular Writing Center and Math Center, the TRC now offers drop-in technology tutoring hours for students needing help with technology-related class assignments.  Need pointers on creating a digital movie?  Tips on designing a website?  Advice on configuring an Excel chart?  No appointment needed!  Stop by HL 124 during open tutoring hours when a Student Technology Assistant is available to answer your questions.

Fall 2013 Drop-In Technology Tutoring Hours

Monday 11 am – 2 pm
Tuesday 3 pm – 8 pm
Wednesday 11 am – 2 pm
Thursday 3 pm – 8 pm

 What is the TRC?

Located in the northwest corner of the first floor of Hamersly Library (HL 124), the Technology Resource Center offers students, faculty, and staff an array of specialized equipment in a comfortable and friendly environment — whether for digital video or audio production, desktop design, website creation, media conversion, scanning, or CD/DVD duplication.  All equipment is available for self-service all the hours the library is open.  For more information, check out our website at http://www.wou.edu/trc.

The library also offers digital cameras, camcorders, and other equipment for short-term checkout, now handled at the library’s front checkout desk.

For Faculty and Staff:

Faculty and staff needing technology training may also wish to contact Scott Carter, the library’s instructional technologist. In addition to overseeing the TRC, Scott provides one-on-one and group training on a variety of topics (Microsoft Office, Web design, digital video, desktop design, etc), as well as collaborates in the production of multimedia solutions — video, audio, print, etc.  He’s also available to provide hands-on training sessions for classes with technology-related assignments, either in the library’s HL 108 or another computer lab on campus.

The TRC Now Located in Hamersly Library

We’ve moved!

Big changes have come to the Technology Resource Center.  At the end of August, a decision was made to move the entire Technology Resource Center operation into Hamersly Library, including myself.  We’re located in the northwest corner of the first floor.  My own office is just outside the TRC, in HL 123.  The general purpose of the TRC should remain much the same — to empower faculty, students, and staff in the use of technology, whether it be editing a digital video, creating an effective PowerPoint presentation, or even creating an ebook.  Basically, we see ourselves as the link between technology and learning, in whatever form or process that technology or learning entails.

However, because we’re part of the library, we’ll have the support of the greater library infrastructure behind us, which will mean our equipment will be available far more hours than before.  Although the equipment will be available for self-service during all the hours the library is open, training and tutoring will be available during posted hours, or by making an appointment by emailing us at trc@wou.edu.  Stay tuned for more details on this front as we get things worked out.

The equipment for checkout — digital cameras, laptops, and other devices — is now handled at the library front desk.  This ensures that the equipment is available far more hours than they were when housed at the old TRC location.

As for me, my role as an instructional technologist here at WOU will also evolve, though the central purpose will remain the same:  to help our WOU community use technology tools to improve teaching, learning, and productivity.  The last few years, most of my time was swallowed up supporting Moodle, which in five years has seen its use on campus grow from about 70 course shells to 420 in spring term.  Partly because of this, we’ve changed to a Moodle Support Team approach, in which the Division of Extended Programs will play a much more central role.  Basically, what this means is that if you want the fastest response to any Moodle issue, please email moodle@wou.edu or call the support line at 503-838-9300.  The appropriate person (and it still very well may be me) will respond as fast as possible.

The hope is that by alleviating me of being the sole support person on the user side for Moodle, it will also free me up to focus on other growing needs, namely assisting in the creation and distribution of information in all its forms, whether that be websites, ebooks, digital video, or something else.  The nature of libraries in the twenty-first century is evolving, from being a repository of information to being a conduit to it.  I hope to play my own part in assisting Hamersly Library — and WOU in general — as it adapts to the needs of a wired world.

Website Update in Progress

I’ve recently switched to using WordPress as my website management tool, so things may be a bit spotty around here at the moment.  I’ve used WordPress a lot with other wordpress-logo-680x400projects, so it shouldn’t take too long for me to get comfortable with it, but please be patient as I spruce things up a bit.  I plan to make this site a lot more robust as a resource for the WOU community.

I’m also working with University Computing to work out some of the bugs before we begin doing training on this powerful and easy CMS (content management system).  It’s by far the best website and blogging tool out there.

How to Create Your Moodle Course

imagesThe Moodle Level I course for instructors using Moodle at Western Oregon University is now an open course, meaning anyone with network access at WOU can enter it without needing a password.  Rather than updating the written instructions here, I’ll simply direct you to that course here.

However, I have also updated the brief video tutorial, and since some faculty members have said it’s difficult to watch the video within Moodle while also using Moodle, I’ve placed it here as well:

Link to Getting Started with Moodle Video

Note:  There’s a bit of a bug embedding video right now, but the above link should play just fine.