Monday, August 29, 2005

Class Projects: Blogs, Wiki and News Reader

Project Logistics.

Each student is required to create a 'blog' around a specific topic to which you are passionate. Examples can include: your favourite sports team; your favourite band; etc. You need to get my approval for your blog theme (via E-mail). Once your blog is set up E-mail me your blog URL. I will then link to your blog from this blog.More on how to set up your blog. This must be completed by September 7.

Each student is also required to set up an account on Bloglines, in order to manage blog and news subscriptions. Your account needs to be established by September 7. The account needs to be made 'public'. Once public, e-mail me the URL. More on how to do this. This needs to be accomplished by September 14.

Each student will participate in a team and will be responsible for one chapter of work for our class wiki. Your first wiki entry needs to be accomplished by September 14.

Project Scope.
You are required to accomplish the following throughout the course of the semester with your blog:

  1. Set up your blog and your bloglines subscriptions (Wednesday September 7)

  2. Create an introductory post, which includes a hyperlink to an outside resource (the University of Delaware for example). How to create a hyperlink (Wednesday September 7)

  3. A second introductory post that explains the purpose of the blog, being a part of a course project and focused on a particular theme. This post should include a link to this blog. (Monday September 12)

  4. Minimum of one post per week throughout the semester.

  5. Minimum of two posts referencing and commenting on posts from other blogs related to the same (or similar) topic. These posts would include the ‘permalink’ of the post to which you are referencing.

  6. You are required to 'comment' 6 times throughout the semester on blogs of other students in the class. All student blogs will be listed on this site. You should plan to comment on blogs with topics of particular interest to you. You should subscribe to those blogs (via bloglines) and list them on your blog.

    Comments are to be thoughtful responses to the entries posted by the blogger. Each blogger is also responsible for responding to the comments posted by classmates (and others who may comment). If you comment on blogs outside of this class I will ask you to provide me the URLs of the blogs at the end of the course so I can review your comments. Please keep a record of where you comment (specifically the permalinks of the specific entries will be useful). These outside comments can be used as part of the 6 comment requirement (you should add these blog links to your template and subscribe to the blogs).

  7. Your blog should include links, in the template, to each of the class blogs which you choose to comment. You also need to link to your wiki chapter, and other relevant resources. The following illustrates how to add links to your template.

  8. Extra credit 1: If you find your blog is in any of the following search engines (google, technorati or feedster), by the last day of class (December 1) e-mail me the URL. This is worth an additional 1% to your grade.

  9. Extra credit 2: Take your current template and edit it to reflect the class template. More details regarding this assignment will be forthcoming. This is worth an additional 1% to your grade.


  1. You will be assigned a team, which will comprise three students. Each team will be assigned a chapter from the text, your team's charge is to become the 'expert' for that chapter.

  2. Each team will have a 'space' on our class wiki: Your team will be responsible for all the content on your space (i.e. for Chapter One, your wiki is at You will also be responsible for the individual pages you create from the chapter page. Each of your pages should include a link back to the initial chapter page and your team mates additional pages. Quick tips to get started.

  3. You must read your chapter thoroughly before beginning this assignment.

  4. You need to make your first wiki entry, an introduction of you and your group members, a links to each of your blogs, and each of your individual chapter pages (each team member will create your own chapter space to host the article summaries you create). This will be under the heading 'Team Introduction'. The total word count for the introduction of all team members should be 200 words, + / - 10 %. (wednesday, September 14)

  5. Each team member needs to create an additional page, which will host the article summaries of that team member (instructions).

  6. Each team member is required to identify three articles from the web that are relevant to the chapter he / she is assigned. For each article, you should link to the article, write a brief summary of the article, which also cites the chapter material you are referencing and the relevance to the material of the article selected. This should include page numbers from the book. At least one of these 'article summaries' must be created before the chapter is to be discussed in class. The exception for this is for those assigned Chapters 1, 2 , 3 and 4. Each student's first article summary must be posted before Wednesday, October 5. Each student's second article summary must be posted before Wednesday, November 2. Each student's final article summary must be posted before Wednesday, November 23. Each student's set of article summaries should be hosted on one page as indicated #5.

  7. Each team member must contribute to four article summaries created by fellow team members. This is in terms of adding additional insights and examples that further illustrate the topic that is being addressed. This contribution must be added within 10 days of the most recent update for that article summary. To do this, you will edit your class mate's individual chapter page to add your insights.

  8. Each team member is responsible for the overall quality of his / her original entry and the final entry for each article summary and the overall individual chapter page. This will be in terms of the insights that are offered, the number of contributions, and writing style.

  9. Each team will present their wiki space, by selecting three article summaries to present, during the team presentations at the end of the semester. Each presentation will contain 3 slides: one for each 'article summary'. Each team member must select one of his / her own 'articles summaries' to present. The presentation should include a summary of the chapter topic; the content of the article selected; the intersection of the two; and the evolution of the 'article summary' through the semester. Content from these presentations will be included on the final exam.

  10. Each team should meet once the team is formed to create some 'rules' in terms of how they will 'design' and 'behave' within their wiki space. While this project can be completed online and individually for the most part, it will be important to establish some ground rules to begin. Each 'space' should begin with the introduction of the 'authors', this should then be followed by each of the article summaries on the individual pages of team members.

  11. Extra credit: Create an account on Make a sustained contribution to an entry. E-mail me upon completion and I will add 1% to your grade. Include in the e-amil your account name and the entry to which you contributed. Note: it makes best sense to work on an entry that is aligned with your blog theme.

News Reader
You are required to accomplish the following throughout the course of the semester with your bloglines account (how to do this):

  1. Set up your bloglines account; add this class blog to your account (wednesday september 7)

  2. Make your bloglines account public and e-mail me the URL (wednesday september 14)

  3. Add a minimum of five classmates' blogs to your bloglines account (monday september 19)
  4. Add additional marketing and technology related resources to your bloglines account (monday september 26)

Sunday, August 28, 2005

Uploading Images to your Blog

Basil on deck
Originally uploaded by alexbr.
To upload images to your blog: Basically what you need is somewhere to store your pictures online, and then link to them. You could do this on your Delaware account (if you have this set up) etc.

One alternative is to sign up for an account on flickr, store your images there and then blog them from there to your blog. This is exactly what I am doing now with a picture of my dog (Basil).

If you want to add an image to the template that is a little more complicated (i.e. the flickr solution seems designed to only allow for images in an entry). Anyway, you can go to the flickr page where your image is displayed, 'view source' and find the url of the image (ending in .jpg) and then include the code needed to add an image in your html in the template. (which is <img src="graphic.jpg"> ).

Thursday, August 25, 2005

Adding Blogs to your Bloglines Account and making it Public

Adding blogs to your account
Once you have set up your account on bloglines:

  1. click on the 'my feeds' tab.
  2. click on 'Add'
  3. key in the URL of the blog to which you are subscribing, click subscribe
  4. click ... again, you are now subscribed

You are required to subscribe five of your classmates' blogs. These are blogs that are related to your interests, and blogs you plan to comment etc. You are also required to subscribe to this blog and other marketing / technology related resources.

You will subscribe to the RSS feed of each blog. Blogger blogs automatically have such a feed. The URL of the feed will be in the format: (for example, this class' feed is

Make your subscriptions public
To make your subscriptions public (required for this project and allows me, and others, to see your subscriptions):

  1. click the 'share' tab
  2. click the hyperlinked 'profile' (second sentence)
  3. click 'blog settings' (horizontal nav.)
  4. key in a username (note if this does not work, try a different username)
  5. click 'yes' for show my blog
  6. save changes

your url for your public subscriptions will be:

How to create your blog

Setting up the Blog

You are required to use as your blog platform as it is free, easy and hosted. You are also required to select 'dots dark', a template designed by Douglas Bowman, for your blog.

How to set up your blog?

  1. Sign up for an account on
  2. Create the URL and name for your blog (you can change the name later, the URL is permanent)
  3. Select the template 'dots dark'. You need to scroll down the page to find the template
  4. Start posting (i.e. it really was that simple to create the blog).

How to edit the template

What is the 'template'
Your 'template' is essentially the code used to display your blog. While a blog is pretty simple to set up and add entries, to actually add links to the left column (for more permanence etc.) does require you to know a little bit about html and the code used in the template. To get you started a couple of quick tips that will make editing your template pretty straight forward.

  1. Log into
  2. Access your class blog
  3. Click on the 'Template' Link.
  4. Scroll down (or use the search function) until you find the 'code'

    <h2 class="sidebar-title">Previous Posts</h2>

  5. Copy and paste this line directly above the line so you now have:
    <h2 class="sidebar-title">Previous Posts</h2>

    <h2 class="sidebar-title">Previous Posts</h2>

  6. Edit out 'Previous Posts' from the new instance, and replace it with 'Class Blogs'

    thus you now have:

    <h2 class="sidebar-title">Class Blogs</h2>

    <h2 class="sidebar-title">Previous Posts</h2>

  7. On the next line below this new heading add in the appropriate link for each of your team members' blogs.

    For example:

    <A HREF="">title of the blog</A>

  8. Note you can come back and do this multiple times (i.e. try it when you have your first class member blog to include, then return when you have the others etc.). You can also repeat this process and create another header (i.e. 'Related Blogs' to list other blogs from the blogosphere that have similar themes to your blog etc.

Creating a Link w/ HTML

Your blog entries should include relevant links. Your blog template also needs to include links.

How do you hyperlink to another web resource ?


To include a link to this Site from your blog, simply change this blog reference from:

  • Information Technology Applications in Marketing (My favourite Class)


  • <A HREF="">Information Technology Applications in Marketing (My favourite Class)</A>

    Note: It is not important to know what <A HREF means, nor do you need to remember, whenever you need to create a hyperlink, you can simply view source on a document that contains a hyperlink ... and that is why writing html is not complex!

    Note: when creating a 'post' for your blog select: edit HTML option (just above / right of the text box window).

    Any questions ? Use the comments area.

  • Blogs, News Readers and a Wiki ... Why ?

    Why are we blogging?

    As I am sure you can see, this class relies pretty heavily on the successful use of blogging and the class wiki.

    We are using blogs for this class for three important reasons. Firstly, we are using blogs to introduce you to one of the more recent ‘innovations’ of the web. Blogging has become very popular. Many recent articles on blogging do suggest that it is becoming a powerful marketing tool. Many of these articles are linked to our course blog (under the header ‘Articles on Blogging’). Articles include ‘Chief Humanising Officer’, which highlights Scobleizer blogging for Microsoft and ‘Blogs will Change Your Business’, the title being relatively self explanatory. It is clear this is a new medium that is changing the way we communicate with our customers and the way customers are able to communicate with each other. The book ‘Cluetrain Manifesto’ was the first book to explore this phenomena (pre-blogging) and blogging is now showing how true the cluetrain really can be!

    We are also using blogs to intruduce you to HTML and CSS in a 'safe' environment.

    Finally we are blogging to increase the communications among students within the class.

    Why a news aggregator, why bloglines and why make it public?

    It is true you can read blogs and other sites by simply visiting those sites. We do this everyday as we browse the web. The advantage of using a news aggregator, such as bloglines, only manifests when you have multiple web-sites that you want to keep up with, sites that update their content regularly. Without a news aggregator it will be up to you to visit each site, individually, and determine if there is new content there for you to read. Many such visits may be simply a waste of your valuable time if the site has not been updated since your last visit. Subscribing to these sites, via your news aggregator, such as bloglines, allows you to easily determine when a site has been updated with new content, and thus you only need to make the visit when you determine it is appropriate.

    Bloglines itself is the most popular web-based news aggregator, a site you can use from any PC as long as you have an internet connection (useful if traveling and using cybercafes for example). Other features of bloglines that are useful include the ability to mark an entry as ‘new’, it thus remains to be viewed at a later time. This is great for sites that update rapidly (think of, a site you may want to check quickly, yet have little time to read important entries. You can return at a more convenient time to read the entry, continue to save it, or trash it at that point.

    Bloglines also allows you to make your subscriptions public, for others to view. This is an important part of your class project (that I can see which resources you are subscribed) and thus required.

    Why a wiki?
    The wiki serves as a medium for each student to contribute to a shared resource this class can build over the course of this semester. The wiki allows us to leverage the shared knowledge of your classmates, as well as draw from more recent examples that illustrate concepts that the book explores. The project will also allow us to learn how to work in an environment where our work can be easily edited by others, and how we can edit others' work to make it more insightful.

    Be confident!

    The hardest aspect of the projects is getting started and the presumption of complexity. I assure you this project is wonderful for those new to web-site development (i.e. no HTML knowledge) so don’t be intimidated by the tasks, embrace the idea that this will be a great way to get your feet wet in developing your first web project!