Bridging Gaps Between Theory and Practice, Online and In-Person

Imagine you’re teaching a high-enrollment course, full of valuable conceptual information. The logical way to get students to connect the dots between theory and practice would be to introduce compelling case studies—but how do you keep up with new and interesting cases to satisfy the learning needs of hundreds of students each semester? Add in the fact that a quarter of your students are online, and it seems like a daunting challenge.

U.OSU can help! Learn how instructional designers and professors in the College of Nursing used this professional website platform to tackle these challenges and create a unique and powerful learning experience for their students.

Ways to use U.OSU

Looking to start your own website? With Ohio State, it’s all about U! U.OSU is Ohio State’s free, easy-to-use online platform that allows Ohio State students and faculty to create, design and maintain their own website. Where do you even begin to make your own website and how can it help you in the future? Here are four reasons why you’ll want to use U.OSU:

1. U’re Hired

Have you started applying for post-graduation summer internships or full-time positions? U.OSU can act as an online portfolio displaying all your academic achievements as well as extracurricular projects and organizations that you’ve been involved with throughout your collegiate career. Bypass the heartache of condensing your cover letter and résumé to one page by inserting a link to your U.OSU site that has in-depth descriptions of all your accomplishments. Job hunters will be able to read firsthand accounts on how each collegiate project or experience has challenged and strengthened your skill sets, making you a qualified candidate for the job.

2. U Went Around the World in 80 Days

Are you spending your break outside of the United States through a study abroad trip? When you’re in a whirlwind of traveling and experiencing new cultures every day, it can be hard to remember when and where you visited historic places, ate unique foods or ran into abnormal situations. Often, monumental experiences stick out in your mind rather than the little everyday pleasantries that make studying abroad worthwhile. By turning your U.OSU site into a travel blog, you can preserve those memories for a lifetime. How cool will it be when you’re 85 and you can read what you did, felt and thought about when you were 20, roaming the streets of Italy? It’s like Time Hop, but better because it won’t be crowded with cringe-worthy junior high angst-filled Facebook statuses.

3. U’ve Got Class

The dreaded final class projects are coming up and your teacher not only wants you to showcase what you learned throughout the semester, but they want you to do so in a creative way. Don’t panic, U.OSU can be used for class projects too, especially writing-based projects. You can use your U.OSU site to display all the information needed in your class project in the form of a blog. By turning your class project into a blog, you will demonstrate your writing skills through a distinguished voice as well as an easy way to separate your ideas into individual blog posts, making a huge clump of information easier to digest. Check out how students in Media Editing and Writing used U.OSU for their final projects.

4. U Write

Are you trying to be the next writer for The Daily Show or a journalist for Variety, or do you have strong thoughts about events happening in your life and the world today? U.OSU can serve as a digital platform where you can try your hand at satirical news, post your poetry or short stories, or share your thoughts with your fellow Buckeye Community through a series of personal essays. The pen might have been mightier than the sword back in the day, but the keyboard may be the champion of both.

These are just four possibilities out of the many ways you can utilize U.OSU, because in the end you get to decide what you want your U.OSU to be. It all starts with U and it ends with U. Get started on building your own digital web platform with U.OSU, and if you need help along the way, check out these resources.

How to Use: Categories & Tags

Whether using U.OSU for a class site, personal blog or portfolio, utilizing categories and tags (and knowing the difference between them) is beneficial in more ways than one. Increased organization creates a better user experience and can also drive more traffic to your content.

What are they?

Categories allow you to group posts into broader topics.

They collect and organize content structurally and can be hierarchical. You can set your categories and their order in your WordPress dashboard ahead of time. For example, if you’re setting up a class blog, you might know you want your categories to be homework, class activities, readings and resources. Read More

Web Space for Student Orgs

Leading a student organization is much like running a business. Except most student leaders are doing it while also balancing classes, social lives and part-time jobs. Using U.OSU simplifies the process of managing a website and not to mention it is completely free.

There are a number of features we’ve set up to give student orgs a versatile and all-encompassing web hosting service while simultaneously helping their professional appearance.

screen shot of u.osu.edu/osuphigam

U.OSU sites are multi-functional and can be set up as static websites, blogs, or a group site (or all three!). Most student organizations will see value in a static website or incorporating a static front page to a group blog. Check out this fraternity’s awesome page. The static site option is ideal for groups such as this one because you can just add and hide new content when necessary.

“Our graduate philanthropy golf outing had a registration page but now that’s over so we get rid of that page and replace it with a recruitment tab,” said Jacob Menken, the recording secretary for Phi Gamma Delta and primary manager of their website.

Even if you want to have one page with blog-like updates, you can have multiple static pages, including a static homepage, like this postdoctoral association. U.OSU is a WordPress platform so many students feel a sense of familiarity with the Dashboard and find setting up a site is simple with a little background knowledge or quick glance of the Resource Center, like this tutorial on setting up static sites and pages.

Another valuable feature for student organizations is the ability to add users and assign roles with varied permissions. The roles range from an administrator, who has full access and control of the site, down to subscribers. These permissions make it easier to give members on an executive board the power to edit certain posts while the head of the organization can still filter and review content.

Read More

Reach Google Glory with SEO

hand on computer mouse close upIf you’re looking to increase traffic to your U.OSU site you’re probably wondering what this SEO business is all about.

SEO, or Search Engine Optimization, is the practice of manipulating your website in order to increase the number of visitors you receive from search engines. Sounds great, right? But how does it work?

Search engines like Google, Yahoo, and Bing are the primary force in driving Internet traffic.

Read More

Featured on ODEE.osu.edu

Denise Ellsworth of The Bee Lab

We were happy to see a great example of how to make U.OSU work for you on the Office of Distance Education and eLearning News this week.

“When the College of Arts and Sciences and ODEE teamed up to launch the U.OSU pilot in September 2013, Denise Ellsworth, Program Director for Honey Bee and Native Pollinator Education, the transformative platform could enhance how The Bee Lab functions online.

The Bee Lab, a research and education facility on the Ohio Agricultural Research and Development Center campus in Wooster, is a great example of how Ohio State branding and U.OSU customization can create a comprehensive yet navigable site.” 

Whether your site serves as a resource, a blog (or both like The Bee Lab!), a forum or a student org homepage, U.OSU is all about what YOU do at the university. Read more from Denise’s interview and browse our Featured Sites to get inspired.