Blogging Guidelines

Information for POUR Bloggers

One of the main purposes of the POUR site is to serve as a place where faculty and students can focus on the process of research and scholarship.  Those of us in academic settings spend our lives surrounded by the products of research–books, journals and artistic works–but often the process of preparing the work is invisible.  The staff at the Charles Center and those in the academic computing group who maintain the site want STUDENT SCHOLARS, AS WELL AS STUDENTS WHO PLAN TO GET INVOLVED WITH RESEARCH, to better understand the reality of discovery that leads to THESE final research PRODUCTS. We want the POUR site to capture the intellectual journey that is the lab notebook of the scientist, the sketchbook of the painter, the storyboard of the film producer or director and the notebook or the journal of the historian.  We’ve all been through this ourselves and know that research is messy, exhilarating, frustrating, tedious and often overwhelming. Reflecting on your experience and sharing those reflections with others can help you get a deeper understanding of the research process and to make meaningful connections with others who share your interests.

However, you should keep in mind that you are doing this publicly and you should use discretion when crafting your posts.   We encourage you to write publicly as an extra incentive to consider your thoughts and words in an informal but professional way.  Communicating your research in a way that is interesting and useful requires understanding the expectations of your readers, as well as the intricacies of your research.  While your blog only expresses your views, it does reflect on the faculty members with whom you are working, the Charles Center, and the College as a whole. As such, it should be kept professional and respectful of any guidelines that you and the faculty members you are working with may want to establish.

CONSULTATIONS WITH FACULTY AND OTHERS BEFORE YOU START BLOGGING

STUDENTS SHOULD ALWAYS FOLLOW COMMONSENSE PRINCIPLES OF ETHICS WHEN THEY BLOG ABOUT THEIR RESEARCH.  IF STUDENTS ARE WORKING ON INDEPENDENT RESEARCH PROJECTS THAT INVOLVE LITTLE OR NO FACULTY COLLABORATION OR OVERSIGHT, PLEASE CONSULT WITH AN APPROPRIATE FACULTY MEMBER OR WITH LISA GRIMES IN THE CHARLES CENTER IF YOU HAVE QUESTIONS ABOUT CONFIDENTIALITY OR OTHER ETHICAL CONSIDERATIONS.

OFTEN, HOWEVER, STUDENTS ARE WORKING CLOSELY WITH A FACULTY COLLABORAOR OR SUPERVISOR, AND IN THESE CASES YOU MUST CONSULT WITH THIS FACULTY MEMBER BEFORE YOU POST ANYTHING TO YOUR BLOG.  BE sure to include the following things:

1.) The URL (They need to know where to find your blog.)

2.) THE subject of your blog (Not only that it is about your experiences researching, but, if applicable, that it is also about the faculty member’s research)

3.) The OPPORTUNITY for faculty members to leave comments.  (While the posts are attributed to you, faculty members are encouraged to participate in your blog through the comments.)

4.) Ask if there are any specific ETHICAL guidelines — FOR INSTANCE, CONSIDERATIONS OF CONFIDENTIALITY — that you need to follow.

Should you not inform your faculty members of these things, violate any guidelines you might establish with faculty members, or your blog is not in the spirit of the POUR project, we will take down your blog.  It’s also important that your blog comply with the college’s policies on general technology use, intellectual property, web page and social networking sites.

Blogging and College Policy

As a service offered by the College of William and Mary, use of blogs.wm.edu falls under the rules and guidelines for internet use established by the College found in the Student Handbook.  The section titled “Technology Policies” (pg. 19-20) is excerpted here for your conveince:

From the Student Handbook:

Technology Policies

Student Intellectual Property Rights

The Commonwealth of Virginia requires that all State colleges and university have patent and copyright policies. These policies define the ownership of patents and copyrights, collectively “intellectual property (IP),” created by State university employees and students. For the purposes of this policy, a student is defined as a person enrolled in courses at the College.

Students can act in two capacities: as students, or as employees. When acting as employees, students can be agents of either the College or an individual College employee (their “principal”). When they act in the capacity of students, they own the IP rights to the contributions to works and inventions accords with the rules of the policy that would apply if their principal had created the works and inventions (for specific examples of how the policy would apply under different circumstances see http://www.wm.edu/ip/index.php).

Students who believe the College may own Intellectual Property they have developed must report it by submitting an invention disclosure form found on the website noted above. When the College does not own the intellectual property, the creator of intellectual property has two options:

  1. To pursue investment in the intellectual property without the involvement of the College and retain all revenues received; or
  2. To seek assistance from the College in finding a commercial licensing partner and share any revenues received.  If the creator desires to seek assistance from the College, the process will be initiated by the submission of a disclosure form completed by the creator to the College. The disclosure form will be accompanied by a written petition to the College requesting assistance in finding a commercial licensing partner. If more than one individual participated in the creation and/or development of the invention or work, the disclosure from will list and be signed by all of the creators. (For additional information contact the Office of Technology Transfer, ext. 1-1751.)

Social Networking Website Policy

Social networking websites such as Facebook.com and MySpace.com are popular means of communication among college students. These sites are considered part of the public domain, and students are encouraged to use them wisely with full knowledge that anything they post may be viewed by the public. The College does not generally monitor these sites for the purpose of finding violations. However, it may consider and investigate any information that is brought to the College’s attention.

Web Page Requirements – Using the College of William and Mary Student Web as a Conduit for Student Web Pages

The College of William and Mary is pleased to offer students an opportunity to post material on the Internet. Developing materials for the Internet is a significant learning opportunity which will help students prepare for the use of technology. Access is also provided in order that students may contribute to the continued operation and development of the Internet as an educational resource. The following requirements attach to the exercise of this privilege:

1. The College has established a computer server on which students and student organizations are extended the privilege of posting pages that

(1) are consistent with the public, non-profit educational mission of the College,

(2) meet the technical specifications of the system, and

(3) are in compliance with all applicable College regulations and state and federal laws, including those prohibiting obscenity, defamation, or copyright infringement. The posting of obscene materials is unlawful and users are specifically cautioned against linking to sites that contain such materials, even if the site has other useful content.

The College is a non-commercial user of the Web and student use of the Web through the conduit of the College’s Web site must remain non- commercial. No money-making activity may be conducted through the use of the College’s Web site. The College is not responsible or liable for material in violation of these requirements or applicable laws.

1) Students and student organizations are responsible for the content of their postings and for ascertaining the copyright status and obtaining all necessary permissions or licenses for any material used.

2. By posting materials to the Web, students and an officer of each student organization must acknowledge their acceptance of these requirements.

3. Student pages will be linked to the College of William and Mary site through http://people.wm.edu. Pages posted at people.wm.edu express the views and opinions of only the page author and have not been reviewed or approved by the College of William and Mary.

4. The terms and conditions governing use of the College’s Web site are based on the College policies noted in the Student Handbook which include, but are not limited to, the Honor Code, prohibitions against harassment, violations of law, responsible computer use, and sanctions for failure to comply with College and legal requirements.

5. At the discretion of the instructor and with the instructor’s approval, student material produced as a result of class assignments or during independent studies may be posted within a course web site.

6. For more information on how to develop Web pages, go to http://www.wm.edu/IT.