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Retweets of the Week — May 27- June 2, 2013

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This week WordPress, which powers blogs on the CUNY Academic Commons, celebrated it’s 10th anniversary — Happy Birthday WordPress! The Commons development team also pushed out Commons 1.4.29, a maintenance release with a number of plugin and theme updates. While we’re on the subject of plugins, community facilitator @scottvoth recently wrote about a bunch of the new WordPress plugins available to Commons bloggers including: Google Fonts, Pinterest Pinboard Widget, and Twitter Mentions as Comments. I just enabled the last one on this blog and I’m super interested to see what it looks like (so I’ll have to tweet this on the @cunycommons). For more information about different plugins available for blogs on the Commons check out the Commons Codex, which has detailed instructions for 40 of the 219 plugins available on the Commons. If there is a plugin you are interested in learning more about that is not yet listed please let us know!

Our top retweeted tweet this week is to a post by @cirasella on the Mina Rees Library blog about how to use Google Scholar better. It’s a great read… and you should.

And now, the rewteets of the week…

This edition of retweets of the week was brought to you by the referendum of No Confidence in Pathways. 😛

Favorites of the Week: The EdTech Edition

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Hello CUNYs and happy MLK day!  While most of you are enjoying some well deserved time off to relax and prepare for the upcoming semester, some of you have been quite busy on the Commons (which, of course, I love because it gives me something to write about!) OK, on to my favorites of the week… While major media outlets have been focusing on the vitriol of politics and “the man with the golden voice”, this week I’d like to focus on educational technology related postings, updates, and threads on the Commons.  

My first favorite of 2011 is the latest post from Alevtina Verovetskaya’s  Reading Log.  

Aptly titled January 6, this post highlights a terrific article from latest issue of Clarion (the newspaper of the PSC) entitled, “Meet the new academic superstars: Faculty librarians ideal guides for info age”. After seeing this post, I searched through my recently delivered mail to find the Jan. ’11 Issue. This highly informative article discusses (among other things) how academic librarians, like Jill Cirasella @cirasella from Brooklyn College, routinely assist faculty with scholarly work, noting:    

“Their expect knowledge of specialized databases, public documents, historical archives, online search stategies, and library resources at CUNY… can make them ideal partners for other faculty members’ research projects.”  

The article also highlights the impact of applied research at CUNY. For instance, Maura Smale and Mariana Regaldo are in the middle of a three year study on the scholarly habits of students at six CUNY campuses and, as a result of their initial findings, have already reconfigured the study areas at City Tech’s library to support additional privacy for students. What I really liked about this article was the overall theme of sharing and collaboration which, according to Cirasella, “are what  librarians are all about”.  

After coming to terms with the fact that newspapers do not have a long shelve life in my home (due to my compulsory nature to over-recycle), I had to figure out another way to keep this article handy for future reading and reflection. Lightbulb! I decided that this would be a great addition to the iBooks on my iPad. To save this document to my iPad, I navigated to Jan. ’11 issue of Clarion (http://www.psc-cuny.org/Clarion/ClarionJanuary2011.pdf), which opened as a PDF document, then selected “open in iBooks” on the upper-right side of the screen. Now I can access this issue anytime without having to be online. (*This works on any iPad, iPhone, or iPod touch running the iBooks application.) 


While we’re on the topic of libarians, I wanted to share an update posted in the CUNY Games Network  by City Tech’s librarian Maura Smale @msmale.  

CUNY Games Network  

Hosted by Christopher Jason Smith and the CUNY Games Network Steering Committee, this full-day tabletop games event will be held at LaGuardia Community College on Friday, January 21st and is open to all CUNYs. While this very first tabletop game event will primarily feature mainstream games such as Battlestar Galactica, Magic the Gathering, and Diplomacy,  Maura notes that a few educational games are likely to be thrown into the mix. Those who attend will also be given a  short tour of the ”Games Library” created at LaGuardia to help CUNY faculty examine games for research purposes. If you’d like to stop by for a couple of hours or intend to particpate throughout the day, please try to email cunygamesadmin@googlegroups.com with your name to help the CUNY Games Steering Committee keep a headcount. 


Speaking of  committees, according to an update posted by Adam Wandt @awandt on the  Academic Technology Research and Development Group (a new subcommittee of the CUNY Committee on Academic Technology), Skunkworks will hold their first meeting on January 20th at 10am via Elluminate.  

skunkworks Established by CUNY faculty and staff, its mission is to research, test, and recommend new technologies from the perspective of classroom needs and pedagogical effectiveness. I signed up as a volunteer shortly after Chandra Hanke, Phil Pecorino, and Adam Wandt presented “CUNY CAT Academic Technology Research and Development Group: The ‘Skunkworks'” at the 9th annual CUNY IT Conference. I’m really excited about testing new technologies and sharing our results with the CUNY community and cannot wait to use Elluminate for the first time at our first meeting! 


 My next favorite this week stays with the theme of “collaboration”. Daniel Bachhuber @danielbachhuber posted an update that he is searching for other CUNYs to work on WordPress as a learning management system. 

 Most of you probably already know my thoughts on Blackboard, so I think it’s really important for CUNY to explore additional options for learning management systems. Since many CUNY students are already familiar with WordPress through course blogs or blogs that they’ve created on their own, it seems that WordPress would be a viable platform to consider as an LMS. If you’re interested in exploring the pros and cons of WordPress as an LMS, I’m sure Daniel would be happy to hear from you! 


 Speaking of WordPress, my last favorite this week is a forum thread from the WordPress HELP!!! group. 

After Giulia Guarnieri @giulia started the forum thread “Help with my new blog” asking general questions about how to configure the WP-Creativix 1.5.5 theme on her blog, Scott Voth @scottvoth gave some great instructions on how to use CSS to give Giulia the look and feel that she was going for. I thought it was really cool that Scott has a “sandbox” blog dedicated to testing out new themes and features on WordPress and have since done the same. (*This blog’s theme is Magatheme 1.0.4.)

Well that’s it for this week, but please keep those updates, posts, and forum threads coming!

How To: Add a new user to your blog

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Want to add a user to your blog? No problem, just follow these 5 steps…

1. Log into the Dashboard of your blog.

2. Navigate to the Users tab located in the left navigation bar of your Dashboard and select ‘Add New’. (The Users tab is located between the Plugins and Tools tabs).

3. Enter the member’s username (this can be found on their profile page).

*Please note- Only Commons members can be added to a blog.

4. Enter the member’s email address.

5. Set the role of the new user to: Administrator, Editor, Author, Contributor or Subscriber.

A bit about the WPMU member roles:

  • Administrator – Somebody who has access to all the administration features.
  • Editor – Somebody who can publish posts, manage posts as well as manage other people’s posts, etc.
  • Author – Somebody who can publish and manage their own posts.
  • Contributor – Somebody who can write and manage their posts but not publish posts.
  • Subscriber – Somebody who can read comments/comment/receive news letters, etc.

That person will be sent an email asking them to click a link confirming the invite.

*New users will not need a new username or password to log into the blog — once they log into the Commons they will have access to the blog under ‘My Blogs’ on the top navigation bar.

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