unsw blogs - under the dashboard

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Slides for a worskhop for UNSW staff held on 11 May 2009


  • 1.


  • Welcome and Introductions
  • Wordpress MU: Background and Tech Specs
  • UNSW Blogs Overview
  • UNSW Blogs Policies: Publishing and Management
  • Bangs and Whistles: Plugins on UNSW Blogs
  • (Very) Quick Overview of Template Design for Wordpress
  • Future Development on UNSW Blogs
  • Questions and Discussion

3. UNSW Blogs Overview

  • UNSW Blogs Platform established as part of the TELT Pilot project
  • Allows for the setup and management of multiple blogs for staff use at UNSW
  • Running on the Wordpress Multi-User 2.7.1 platform
  • Customised templates which include University Branding
  • Added functionality including Podcasting &Vodcasting, Web 2.0 tools and social networking (via plugins)
  • http://blogs.unsw.edu.au

4. Wordpress MU:Technical Requirements

  • To run WordPress MU you need webhosting which provides:
      • PHP version 4.3 or greater
      • MySQL version 4.0 or greater
      • Apache mod_rewrite
  • UNSW Blogs is running version 2.7.1 which was released in March 2009.

5. Wordpress MU:Background & Tech Specs

  • Flavours of Wordpress!
    • Wordpress:Supports one weblog per installation, open source, easy to self-host
    • WordPress Multi-User:(WordPress MU, a.k.a. WPMU) allowssimultaneous blogs to exist within one installation and managed via one site admin dashboard
    • Other related products includeLyceum(which was designed for enterprise use and has a normalised database structure ) andBuddyPress -a plug-in extension of WPMU that is adding missing community features

6. UNSW Blogs Terms of Use & Publishing Policies

  • The Terms of Use and Guidelines Publishing on the UNSW Blogs platform are currently under development
  • The Terms of Use and Guidelines should allow for flexibility and sharing, as well as ensuring that relevant university polices are met.
  • Consideration should be given to policies for both professional and personal use of online tools such as blog, wikis and social software

7. Existing Policies to Consider

  • TAFE NSW Sydney Institutes Terms of Use and Guidelines for the myLearning Platform (Wikis and blogs)See: http://termsofuse.sydneyinstitute.wikispaces.net/
  • BBC Guidelines for Online Publishing See:http://www.bbc.co.uk/guidelines/editorialguidelines/
  • BBC Guidelines for Personal Use of Online and Social Media Sites See: http://www.bbc.co.uk/guidelines/editorialguidelines/advice/personalweb/index.shtml

8. TAFE NSW Sydney Institute Guidelines

  • See: http://termsofuse.sydneyinstitute.wikispaces.net/

9. Theme Design for Wordpress

  • Wordpress Themes allow for detailed customisation of both the platform at an administration/corporate level, but can also be used to enable a high level of user customisation.
  • Wordpress themes consist of php files and css. (style.css, header.php, page.php etc)
  • Resources for those interested in developing Wordpress Themes is available @ http://wordpress.org/extend/themes/

10. UNSW Blog Themes

  • A small collection of UNSW Blog Themes have been developed and more are on the way!
  • Themes have been designed to meet UNSW Branding obligations, but still allow for a level of user customisation and personalisation
  • Themes are designed for use with a wide range of plugins, plus widgetised to allow for extensive sidebar and content customisation.

11. Themes: Course Blog Theme 12. Themes: UNSW Blogs -Simple 13. Template Design

  • Relatively simple process:
    • Create style.css, header.php, page.php etc
    • A huge range of Wordpress Themes freely available which can be used as the basis for development
    • Source code for UNSW templates can be made available for the geeks in the UNSW Blogs Community in a sandbox environment.


  • A wide range of plugins have been installed to extend the UNSW Blogs Platform.A list of Plugins installed on the platform is provided @http://blogs.unsw.edu.au/unsw-blogs-platform-features/
  • In general, most standard Wordpress Plugins work with WPMU, however there are some exceptions. Additionally some plugins require extra customisation to work on the WPMU platform securely.
  • Plugins can be activated and deactivated on a per-blog basis.
  • "mu-plugins" are generally administrative, and are enabled by default (security features, statistics, user management, tag and category management)

15. PLUGINS: Google Analytics

  • Allows for statistics tracking at both site admin and user level.
  • Plugins in to Googles freely available analytics tools

16. PLUGINS:LifeStream

  • Allows users to create a stream of all of their online activity via RSS and a range of social networking sites including Facebook, Flickr, mySpace etc.
  • Great way to mashup a group of sites

17. Scaleability & Integration

  • Wordpress MU creates new database tables for each blog
    • Enables improved Plugin compatibility
    • Takes advantage of existing OS-level and MySQL query caches
    • Enables segmented user data which allows for multi-site platforms and blog farms
  • Authentication: Allows for integration via LDAP enabled directory services
    • OpenLDAP, Apache Directory, Microsoft Active Directory, Novell eDirectory, Sun Java System Directory Server etc

18. Ongoing Developmenton UNSW Blogs

  • Ongoing development of templates to support various faculties and projects eg. Faculty based templates (branding) and team or project based templates (TELT blog)
  • Ongoing testing and development of WPMU Plugins to support customised content and social networking/communication

19. Future Developmenton UNSW Blogs

  • Recommended Strategies for future development:
  • Pilot and testing of of additional and complimentary tools including BuddyPress a WPMU based social networking platform ( http://buddypress.org/ )
  • Exploration and testing of tools to support and enhance multimedia delivery (youtube integration, media servers, complimentay software to support image galleries)

20. Questions and Discussion!

  • Note: We will publish these slides on the TELT Blog shortly and encourage you to continue the discussion online!


  • UNSW Blogs:http://blogs.unsw.edu.au
  • TELT WIKI Blogging Resources:
  • Wordpress MU: http://mu.wordpress.org
  • Jo Kays Website: http://jokay.com.au

22. Contact Jo!

  • Jo Kay, Freelance Virtual Worlds, Web Design, eLearning & Facilitation
    • Blog:http:// jokay.com.au
    • Wiki:http:// jokay.wikispaces.com
    • Portfolio Site:http:// jaspercat.net
    • Email:[email_address]
    • Twitter:http:// twitter.com /jokay
    • Islands of jokaydia:http:// jokaydia.com
    • Mob: 0405179622


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