We have been working on a new project to bring the power of WordPress to faculty websites. We launched Blogs@UCI in the summer of 2009 as a pilot project. The pilot lasted one year while we evaluated the service to see if it was valuable to the university. It took off slowly but steadily and became a useful tool to many on campus. After the year was up, we took it out of the pilot phase and continue to improve it to suit the growing campus need to easily get content online.
One way that the service and WordPress have both evolved is the use of a blogging tool to create small websites. With a simple configuration change, WordPress becomes an efficient content management system (CMS) for small websites.
Some of the schools were interested in using Blogs@UCI to host faculty websites. However, the faculty did not like the domain including the term “blogs”. They wanted something more formal and more website specific.
We decided to roll out a separate version of WordPress multi-site and configure it so the home page was a Page instead of a listing of recent Posts, in the blog format. We also created templates with common pages for both personal faculty websites and lab websites. This would speed up the configuration for faculty who could use these pre-configured pages and add more as needed.
The Beta version of this service is now live and available to all UCI faculty to try out. We will evaluate how the service is being used and make changes based on the feedback we receive.