Academics go by a different timeline than the rest of the world. Our year does not start on January 1, but rather on the first day of the Fall semester. There is a different feel to Virginia Commonwealth University today with smiling students jossling between buildings and classrooms. I threw the switch on my online class, and already a quarter of the students have peeked in!
I am also typing this just to try out Zemanta, after seeing a couple of tweets from Darren Draper. It is advertised as a blogging tool that “saves you time, brings more traffic and makes your posts beautiful.” Not sure much can be done to beautify my posts…but I see the rationale. If – while you were drafting – an “intelligent agent”understood what you are blogging about and suggested pictures, links, articles and tags – it would – as the advertisement suggests – make your posts more “vibrant.” In other words, while you craft your post, Zemanta analyzes the text and recommends additional content you can use to spice it up. Since I belong to the category of “I could use all the help I can get,” this seems like a useful tool.
And in my first drive it seems pretty easy to use. I downloaded the Firefox Add-On and it loaded into the sidebar of my Edublog dashboard. As I type and save, it updates suggested Creative Commons pictures (which is where I pulled the image of our mascot above), and also gives me suggested links, such as the VCU, Zemanta, Creative Commons, and Edublog links above. It did not suggest a link for Darren, so it is not foolproof.
But even with that, it really does speed up the blogging process in embedding links, so I will continue to test drive it for awhile. I need to work on the picture side. It seems to only let me put one suggested picture in. If I selected a second picture, it replaces the first. Might be operator error. But I can upload a second picture manually, as I just did with the logo to the left.
Be interested in how others have used it, and any tips on better use.