I just started a blog at work to communicate with my distance students and faculty. For a long time people kept telling me “we have a really old version of WebCT so you can’t have blogs in it.” And realistically I knew I wouldn’t be able to get the distance learners to leave WebCT just so they could read about the latest databases or what resources we recommend. So I let it go and focused on other things like creating tutorials and redesigning the library pages in WebCT.

For some reason on Saturday it occurred to me that I could syndicate the RSS feed of the blog in WebCT using JavaScript (see Feed2JS to see how you can do the same). So now the three most recent stories on my library news blog swankily appear on the new library pages I recently redesigned. I put the news blog on all of the pages that list our databases — the library-related pages folks are most likely to use in WebCT. Yippee! I know this should have occurred to me sooner, but I can be a bit dense sometimes. Before this, I really had no way to communicate directly with students except by e-mails to individual students. Now any time I find something the students might be interested in, I can just post it on my WordPress blog and it will appear in WebCT. Woo hoo!

Picture of my new blog!
(click for larger).

The great thing about where I work is that people are REALLY impressed by stuff like this. :) And even better is that I can think about this on Saturday and have a blog up and running and in WebCT by Sunday afternoon (yes, Sunday. I really need to get a life). There’s something to be said for being able to make simple decisions like this without a committee.