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Does UVic ComSci Department need a blog or facebook group?

23/01/2010
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Does a department like UVic’s (stands for University of Victoria) department of Computer Science need a blog or a facebook group?

Very general question ey. But as with most questions of that kind: “It depends.”

Let us take a close look at what UVic’s CS department want: “More good graduate students.” I won’t talk about what the CS department considers to be a good graduate student I’ll only go over how they want to attract them.

To attract a larger number of students the department wants to established a better public presence that is more social, active and informative than the current one. A great problem is currently that a great portion that we think is interesting to current and future students alike is simple not there or hard to find. What are those information students seek? We came up with a small list that we hope to refine with your help:

  • Information about ongoing research.
  • Current Events.
  • Live style.
  • Information about what Alumni’s do.

You see the list tries to cover three dimensions, the work life, the social life and the future. Most students come because they want to be part of a great research team pursuing interesting projects. There is always the way to read the papers of research groups but they are not always easy accessible (e.g. due to ACM and IEEE restrictions) but reading paper is often for starters on the master level to much effort.

Its even worse with the social life. Unless there are students that find the time to write something about their hobbies on their home-pages the only way to get to information about the social life in and around the department is often to ask students directly. But most often people are to afraid to disturb people or start conversations with strangers.

With alumnis it is kind of mixed, because the University itself is more and more concerned about it, but tracking down and keeping in contact with alumnis specifically to computer science is often not easy. So getting information about what a typical UVic Computer Science alumni (if something like that exists) does for a living heavily depends on the whether the alumni is still in touch with the department.

So in order to connect and reconnect with former, current and future students the department is thinking of building up a web presence through a blog and/or facebook group. This should allow to distribute information about ongoing research and event in and around the department as well as offer a platform for more social exchange as well.

I personally think we should go for both a blog and a facebook group. The blog enable a newspaper like style of providing information about current research and makes everyone aware about what research is going on in the department. The facebook group on the other hand would offer a platform for social exchange were people could talk about activities that are not necessarily related to their research but about the life you can live here in Victoria.

So what do you think, does something like a facebook group or blog make sense for a computer science department and what would you put on that group/blog?

3 Comments leave one →
  1. 28/05/2010 09:37

    I suggested UVic set up a CS blog and set up blogs for students as early as 2005 or 2006 when I was on various committees as a CSCU executive. They didn’t get it. Some in the department obviously do, and if any of the CSc people on the committees agreed with me, they didn’t take the initiative to support my recommendation.

    Keep beating the drum!

    Personally, I don’t see the point in a Facebook group if there’s a blog, but I realize I’m a little older than most students (35).

  2. 28/05/2010 09:48

    I kind of have the impression we should go both ways, a blog for a more elaborate/fomral way of showing whats going on in the department, like research wise or program wise, and then the facebook side which is more about social events.

    The biggest problem I mainly see is that nobody really wants to take care of it, because it is some extra work in our busy schedules.

    Currently within the department we are thinking on how to improve the CS website and the current train of thought is to create two. One for people that are new or people from the outside (advertisement oriented) and one for people that have been part of the department for a while (functional oriented)

    Let’s see how that will work out.

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