We've begun our summer 2006 renovations by taking on a number of challenges. We're planning to simplify the way we organize resources on our site. By the end of the summer, you'll find our resources categorized as either guides, activities, or links. We're also working hard on a new set of collaborative tools and are making it possible to customize the look and feel of both Writing Studio classpages (an instructor option) and the entire Writing@CSU site.
Our first major upgrade to the site is simplifying the Working Bibliography and Notes tool. We've broken this tool into two tools: Your Sources and Your Source Notes. You'll find it easier to navigate these tools. You'll also find that they work well together. We released the new versions of these tools on June 3rd. We're planning to expand the number of source types available through the Studio as the summer progresses.
We're in the midst of making some significant upgrades to the Studio. We've just released the Writing Studio Co-ops, a new Your Work page, and customization tools for the site. These are all part of our effort to make the Writing@CSU site and the Writing Studio easier to use, more functional, and more attractive.
The Writing Co-ops are collaborative workspaces that can be created by any writer with a Studio account. The idea to create the Co-ops emerged from discussions in Mike Palmquist's spring 2006 graduate seminar on computers and writing. We entered the summer with the intent to come up with ways to help writers collaborate more effectively -- and without necessarily needing to be part of a writing class. The overall idea for the Co-ops and a large number of the Co-ops' features were suggested by Aaron Leff, who created a thoughtful and thorough plan for implementing them, but several other members of the class also contributed to the idea, including Mark Hussey and Chandra Brown. The Co-ops are something of an experiment in anarchy. Anyone can create a Co-op; any member can add other members; any member can manage the Co-op; and anyone can kick anyone else out. We hope you'll check out this new tool. If you do, let us know what you think.
The Your Work pages have been expanded significantly to support collaboration and to simplify access to work you've saved in the Studio. From this page, you can
view and manage personal folders,
create and manage shared folders (a new type of folder that allows writers to share their work with others -- the person who shares a folder maintains control over it, so the sharing can be temporary),
view your blogs,
view your classes,
view your Co-ops,
see who has asked you for feedback on their writing,
and see who you've asked for feedback on your writing
You can customize the look and feel of the site now. You can choose a color scheme, select fonts, and decide how large or small you'd like text to appear. These settings will affect how the site appears after you login to the Studio. We've also added Skins for the Classes and Co-ops, so you can choose how these pages appear as well.
You can also update your account more easily. We've added tools that allow you to control whether you receive our email announcements. You can also delete your account. You'll find these tools on the Update Account pages.
We're continuing to work on several other aspects of the site, including our Writing Activities, Guides, Blogs, and Writing Tools. When we're done working with the Blogs, you'll be able to publish them, share them with a class or a Co-op, or share them with other writers on an individual basis. We'll let you know when these new features are in place.
We've completed work on the latest versions of the Blogs. You can now publish them (to a new location: http://writing.colostate.edu/blogs/), share them with a class or a Co-op, and share them with other writers on an individual basis. Blogs that other writers have shared with you show up on the Your Work page. You can use that page to remove access to Blogs you no longer wish to view.