The President of the University of Washington, Mark Emmert, is going to China on Monday. At the same time a group of UW faculty are heading out on a bus to tour the state of Washington on the annual UW Faculty Field Tour. Both Mark and the Field Tour want to record and communicate their experiences by blogging along the way. How cool is that? What better way for these highly articulate folks to communicate directly with people who are interested?
I’ve worked with Gina Hills and Harry Hayward, my colleagues in UW Media Relations, to get these blogs set up and going. Mark’s blog is at http://www.presblog.washington.edu, and the Field Tour blog is at http://depts.washington.edu/fldtour/wordpress/.
For those interested in the technical details, these blogs are set up on the web servers that the UW provides for faculty, departments, and courses. The blogs are using the popular open source WordPress blogging software, with MySQL as the database. We’ve used UW NetID for authenticating blog authors. Instructions for how to do this are available on the web.
While the instructions make it easy enough for your garden variety Unix geek to get up and running with a blog, it’s clear to me from setting these two blogs up that it’s not anywhere near easy enough for your average staff or faculty person to get blogging on our infrastructure – and it’s also clear to me that the demand for blogs at the UW is increasing rapidly, so we’ll have see if we can’t figure out some ways to make the setup process easier for folks.
In the meantime, it will be interesting to read what Mark and the faculty on the Field Tour post from their travels!