Lilia over at Mathemagenic writes about how MT (Typepad, actually), is more difficult than we seem to think. There is some irony that the power of weblogs comes with the ease they bring to publishing, and yet their complexity remains a major stumbling point (IMHO) to adoption. I ran into the same difficulty she had in getting students familiar with MT on our school blogserver, and I am eager to avoid difficulties next year when I do this again.
There are two possible solutions to this:
1. Ridiculously easy blog entries by default. Typepad already moves the (potential) hell of installing MT. Although I haven’t used Typepad, I presume there is still a bit of a learning curve in terms of what to put in various form fields, etc. Maybe the best default should be a set-up that allows simplified email posting, or maybe Zempt? The idea here is to make the first experience with blogging an exceptionally easy and satisfying one. From there, they can ramp up, and acquire the jargon, etiquette, history, and the rest over time.
2. A very clear walkthrough. Since I can’t walk through it with my students in person, is there some way to provide the equivalent. Worst-case, this would be something like the articles on (the now defunct) Webmonkey: kind of a chatty “and now we’re gong to…” sort of article, with plenty of screenshots. Or maybe an agent of some sort, a la the much maligned MS Clippy? Or maybe a short video walkthrough with “Jane the new MT user” and “Professor MT” talking and typing their way through an entry.