Information Services – IT Services

 

Blogs

The blogs.kent service is primarily for University staff and teams, to promote and enhance their work. Staff and research postgraduates can apply for a blog.

All blogs:

  • are interactive: in-built functionality allows readers to comment on posts or tweet your article (comments can be open or approved, and certain words can be filtered)
  • offer usage statistics: find out how many people are reading it
  • can be updated on a smartphone, tablet or PC
  • created at http://blogs.kent.ac.uk/myblogname. The name you choose is subject to approval, and has to be unique.
  • See how others do it: visit blogs.kent for a list of all University blogs.

Choose your blog type

Standard (unofficial) blog

  • will not be the official voice of the University
  • no Kent logo
  • disclaimer: The views expressed are not necessarily those of the University

Official Kent blog

  • is the official voice of the University
  • has a Kent logo and some custom styling (eg, banner images and colours).

News feed or staff profile snippet blog

Displays blog content within your own website via an RSS feed and snippet.

Custom-made blog

Fully designed to your requirements (costed on application).

Apply for a blog

You will need to read and abide by the blogs.kent conditions of use:

Get started using your blog

We will email you with login details - you can log in and start posting immediately. The software that we use, Wordpress, is fairly intuitive:

  • you can pick from a range of templates (if appropriate).
  • different templates offer different personalisation options.

No design skills are needed, and there is lots of online help and tips about how Wordpress works - see below.

What is appropriate to write?

Be aware of the public nature of blogs, the association of Kent blogs with the University, and the implications for what should be posted:

Writing guidelines

  • Internal University issues should not be aired on a public blog. It is not a substitute for using the University’s structures of governance or its grievance and complaints procedures.
  • Attacks. Blogs should not be used to mount a public attack on a person (rather than a position), whether or not that person is a member of the University as this will either infringe the Regulations either in terms of abuse or bringing the university into disrepute.
  • Privacy. Blogs should not be used in a way which makes public what should be the private activities of another person. For example, it would be wrong for staff to comment in a blog about something said by a student who was identifiable; even if only identifiable by the student themselves.
  • ‘To publicise and to enhance the activities of the university and the academic life of its members’. This is the purpose under which the Kent blog service is provided. ‘University activity’ and ‘academic life’ are open-ended and flexible concepts. There is no need to agonise about where their boundaries should be drawn but some individual judgment is needed about what it is appropriate to post to a university blog and what should go elsewhere. To give a couple of indicative examples, it seems entirely sensible for a member of staff to blog about a particular interest in film even if not attached to Film; but less sensible for someone to use a Kent blog to upload home videos only of interest to their family abroad. It would be good to have a Kent blog about coaching a University sports team; less good to have a blog about a sports interest unconnected to the University.
  • Tiredness and emotion. As with email, it is obviously foolish to go public with your thoughts on any blog when tired and emotional; you need to be fresh.

Comments and moderating your blog

Dialogue with readers is a central part of blogging and Kent blogs have a built in comments facility. Each blogger can decide whether they wish every comment to be approved by themselves before being posted or for the first comment only to be approved - all users have to register to comment.

Unwelcome comments can be a real problem in blogging. Mostly the problem is
spam, especially pornographic links and adverts; there is no reason why people
should not post comments which disagree strongly with the blogger or express
controversial views.

However, each blogger is responsible for keeping a regular eye on all comments
which have been made on her or his blog, and for removing any which infringe the University’s regulations or blog.kent conditions of use.

There is a button alongside each post and comment giving the opportunity to ‘Report this post’ if a reader thinks it should not have been posted. ‘Report this post’ emails the owner of the blog and the Information Services Quality and Standards team.

In most instances, which usually need investigation or clarification, the IS Quality and Standards will discuss the post/comment with the Blog owner and suspected breach will be handled according to the University’s usual procedures. The Procedures necessarily include wide investigatory powers and provision for disciplinary action in serious cases – but their normal emphasis is on advice and guidance and (if necessary) warning.

Bloggers are expected to regularly check the comments on their blog themselves and respond to ‘report this post’ emails and to immediately remove any post or comment that obviously contravenes IS regulations or the Blog conditions of use. If such posts have not been removed when an investigation begins the IS Quality and Standards team may have to remove them in cases or emergency or urgency and will notify the blogger.

 

Using Wordpress: training and support

Wordpress, the blog software that we use, is pretty intuitive and offers online support (bear in mind that not all of the features and options are available for Kent blogs):

Contact us for support and advice about blogging at Kent

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Last Updated: 12/11/2014