A Complete Site Redesign: We've spent the last few months working on a major overhaul of the Writing@CSU site. Much remains to be done, including work on our help system, but we've updated the look and feel of the site, provided easier-to-use navigation tools (the new breadcrumbs menu on every page in the site, and updated or added several new tools. You'll find a nice collection of top-level pages that orient you to the site's contents (which can be useful on a site with more than 35,000 pages), and the designs of our writing guides, teaching guides, and activities have undergone a major change and should be much easier to use.
Updated ePortfolios, Blogs, and Wikis: We've revised the ePortfolios, blogs, and wikis so that they look better, and are much easier to manage. The ePortfolios and Blogs have new headers, the ability to choose banners, and a wide range of other customization tools. The layout templates for pages in the ePortfolios are simpler, but allow more flexibility in design for writers. The Blog has a completely new look and a wide range of new customization options, including new headers and new page layout templates. Our wiki tools also benefit from similar improvements.
A New Wiki: We've created a new tool that allows any group of writers to create a full-featured Wiki. The Wikis include file sharing spaces, calendars, discussion forums, email tools, chat, and the ability to share blogs and ePortfolios with other members of the group. The wikis replace our Co-ops tool. You can still use your old Co-ops, but you won't be able to create new ones.
Improved Class Pages: The Writing Studio's class tools are clearer and easier to use. In addition to improved management of the tools in the class pages, you can also take advantage of new email tools, improved handling of shared blogs and ePortfolios, better wikis (for the class as a whole and for groups), and improved customization options. For instance, you can easily upload your school's logo and display it on your page, and any logos you upload will be available to other instructors.
Open Access Initiatives: With the completion of the bulk of this major redesign, we're looking at ways to make the materials and tools on this site easier to access. We are launching a project to create a stand-alone version of the Writing Studio that can be installed on servers at other educational institutions. We are also launching development of what we are modestly calling "The World's Largest Open Access Textbook." In our writing guides and activities alone, this site has more than 14,000 pages of instructional content. Many teachers, in fact, use the materials on this site in place of a textbook. We believe it would be useful to the writing community to launch a major effort to take stock of what's available on this site, expand and improve it, and turn this useful instructional material into an open-access textbook. If you are interested in participating in either of these projects, please contact Mike Palmquist at Mike.Palmquist@ColoState.edu.
Site Access Stats: 2009 is the first year that visits to our site exceeded 5 million. Account holders on our system (24,000 were active in 2009) logged into the Writing Studio an average of 43 times in 2009. In total, accounts holders in the Studio represent more than 1500 educational institutions world-wide.