Blogging in the Womb

There has been an explosion of blogging over at Professor Mara Scanlon‘s class on Women and Modernism, nicknamed The Womb (Women of Modernism Blog). The class has been tackling texts from various female authors during the era of modernism. From Virginia Woolf’s Mrs Dalloway to Gertrude Stein’s Tender Buttons there is a dirth of musings, analyis and downright insanity occuring in “The Womb”. The students aren’t just fufilling requirements but taking free blogging to another level. For example they have initiated GynoPod where they post songs that they connect back to the class in some meaningful (or ridiculous way). The blogging for the class is out of control, in the most spectacular way, it is definitely a space to be watched.

Food for Thought

This spring semester Professor Kelli Slunt is teaching a Freshman Seminar on Food Chemistry. The class explores a wide array of questions from organic foods to edible packaging and even discussing the feared High Fructose Cornsyrup questions, the class seems to cover just about every food chemistry question. In addition, the stream of content is continuously flowing on the blog making it an even richer source of contemporary information of food chemistry.

One of the ideas addressed on the blog a few weeks ago is molecular gastronomy. One of the current movements in dining and food preparation is this idea of molecular gastronomy and one of the students posted a good overview video of what it is and demonstration of how a restaurant is doing it. Something to chew on:

Recent UMW Blogs Outages

First and foremost, DTLT wants to apologize sincerely for any inconveniences recent UMW Blogs outages have caused. We have taken, and are continuing to take, steps to identify and fix the problems that seem to be causing these outages.

As of today, we have decided to disable a sitewide plugin that we installed last fall called BuddyPress. We added it to the site because we were interested in the social networking capabilities that it might allow us to build on top of the UMW Blogs platform. However, at this time, we are concerned that it may be contributing to the performance issues we have been seeing.

The good news is that the removal of this plugin should cause very little inconvenience. We have contacted the handful of users who are currently experimenting with the system, and the removal should have little impact on them.

The most widespread change you will notice due to this removal is the disappearance of the gray toolbar that used to appear whenever you were logged into UMW Blogs. This toolbar provided quick access to a list of your blogs as well as a logout button. We know that some users may have been relying on this interface, so we want to provide the following information about alternative ways to complete these tasks.

Accessing a List of Your Blogs
Whenever you are on the dashboard (or backend) of your blog, you should see a sidebar menu item labeled “Dashboard.” If you click on it, the menu will expand to reveal an item labeled “My Blogs.” Clicking this link will show you a list of all the blogs on which you are currently a user.

Logging Out
On most blogs, you should be able to find a “Logout” link in the sidebar or menu of the site. However, if you can’t find one, you can always logout of the system by going to the UMW Blogs home page and clicking the “Logout” link at the top of the right-hand sidebar.

If you are concerned about any other implications resulting from the removal of Buddypress, feel free to contact any member of DTLT.

UPDATE (2/18): Avatars on UMW Blogs

Another feature of BuddyPress that some UMW Blogs users may have been taking advantage of was the ability to upload and display avatars. It is still possible to associate your account with an avatar using the free Gravatar service.

If you have a blog on UMW Blogs and would like users’ avatars to be displayed, go to your “Appearance” menu and choose “Gravatars.” Simply toggle the option on and save. Now, if a user has a Gravatar set up, it will appear when they leave a comment on your blog.

If you are a user and would like to have your avatar appear whenever a blog enables this option, simple visit and set up an avatar. For this to work, the Gravatar must be associated with the email address that you use with your UMW Blogs account.

Apacalypsnow at UMW

Professor Jackie Gallagher’s Natural Hazards course got some real time experience with the hazardous conditions we’ve all been living through for the last four or five days here in Fredericskburg.  Check out the recent posts about the snow damage on campus as well as how the latest storms have forced the Geography’s faculty to abandon Annex B in fear of the roof collapsing.