English revamps new website

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Photo by: Drew Kellis

Alexis Johnson, Managing Editor

Now up and running, the updated website for the Francis Marion University (FMU) Department of English needs bloggers.

The blog, which serves as a new addition to the website, is intended to help spread awareness about English Department happenings.

“The blog component is designed to deliver the same information about our department, but in different ways,” Amy Rubens, assistant professor of English and administrator of the blog, said. “So instead of a press release, they’re just stories about what we do as professors, what our students do in the classroom and the trips that they take.”

Rubens commented on the current status of the blog.

“Our blog is set up and ready to go, but we’re definitely looking for student contributions, alumni contributions, even faculty from other departments,” Rubens said.

Part of the inspiration for the blog’s creation came as a result of Rubens’ personal experience as a blogger.

“I started blogging while I was in grad school finishing my Ph.D.,” Rubens said. “It was a way for me to put myself out there as I went out into the job market. Now I typically blog about books, films and scholarship that I write about as a professor.”

In the future, Rubens, who teaches professional writing courses, would like to see more students assume administrative roles for the blog, and hopes for the addition of a social media component.

“It would be great to see a lot of the work being done by a professional writing student or other students, [such as] creating and maintaining a Facebook page, maintaining a Twitter account and turning the blog administrator responsibilities over to upper level students,” Rubens said. “I see it as another way to get students involved.”

Rubens hopes that the blog will provide an outlet for expression for every student, regardless of major or minor.

“I want to get more students on it,” Rubens said. “That’s what I’m most excited about. You don’t have to be an English major or minor; [it’s for] anyone who has read a book, seen a movie or looked at a website and has some kind of commentary.”

As per Rubens, the new website includes an update of course requirements, course descriptions and faculty and staff biographies. Also included is an event calendar and information about internships available to English-professional writing majors.

The design of the website was intended to have a similar appearance to the newly updated FMU website.

“We knew that the Francis Marion website was going to undergo a redesign of colors and content, so we were trying to wait for those changes to be finalized,” Rubens said. “We wanted to match our look to the site as closely as possible. We’re still working on getting the aesthetic features of our site to look more like the main site.”

Rubens said that usability was also a factor in the website’s design.

To help spread awareness about the new website, flyers have been posted throughout campus and Rubens has asked professors to relay information to their classes.

Rubens hopes that the new website will increase community awareness about the English Department.

“We’re really trying to make what we do as a website visible to a wider FMU community and also hopefully, the public,” Rubens said. “We’re really thinking of campus and community outreach.”