Clover Park Technical College
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Friday, January 7, 2011

How to Become a Comment Guru!

Clover Park has recently added comments to just about every page of the website. These comments open up a new avenue of communication between CPTC and its students, alumni, and community at large. In the first month of operation we quickly realized that this was the preferred method of communication for the majority of our audience. This guide will quickly explain how you can get in on the commenting action for yourself.

Step 1: Reading Comments

You can view comments in several different ways. First, you can simply browse to the page in which the comment appears and scroll to the bottom. Comments will appear with the latest activity first, oldest activity at the bottom. You can view replies to a specific comment by click on the arrow next to “Reply”.

To view a person’s profile information simply mouse over or click on the profile image next to the comment. If they have a website or profile page you can access it here. You can also view the users Reputation Score. The more you comment on the site and the more people “thumbs up” your comments, the higher your score becomes. This provides an organic way for community “VIPs” to float to the top.

If you’d like to have comments sent to your email address you can sign up for any comment feed on the site. Alternatively you can also sign up to receive all comments. In the top right corner of the comments section you can see an RSS Feed Icon. If you mouse over the icon you will be presented with several different subscription options. Choose the option that you would like to use, (i.e. Google, Yahoo, RSS, etc.). If you would like to sign up to receive all comments simply click “All Blog Posts” on the subscribe drop down and enter the email address that you would like to receive comments then click Subscribe.

You can unsubscribe at any time by clicking the “Unsubscribe” link at the bottom of any comment email you receive. You can also manage your subscription (and setup any profile information) at:

Step 2: Making a Comment

There are several different options available for posting a comment on the website. You can post anonymously, as a registered user, or via email.

Posting Anonymously
You can post an anonymous comment by scrolling to the bottom of any page with comments and typing a comment into the “Post a Comment” text area. You can also include your name and email address if you wish but are not required. After you have entered your comment simply click “Submit Comment” and your comment will be posted to the site. If the comment contains any profanity or other undesirable content it will be immediately sent to the moderation queue, and won’t appear on the website unless it is “Approved”.

Posting as a Registered User
Posting as a registered user gives you a few advantages over posting anonymously. First, people can access your profile where they can see information such as your website, profile photo, a description about you, and any other information you wish to include in your profile. Second, the site can automatically log you in next time and remember you. Third, if you post using the same account every time you can increase your reputation score, showing everyone you are a valuable member of our online community.

There are four different options available for registering with the commenting system.
  1. First is an Intense Debate profile. If you don’t have an account anywhere else this is a good option.
  2. Next you can use a account. This is a good option if you already have a site from word press.
  3. Facebook Connect. This is a great way to automatically link your comments to your Facebook page. Simply log in using the same email and password you use for Facebook.
  4. Twitter Account. If you would like your comments to also appear on your twitter feed you can log in using your twitter username and password.
Posting via Email
A third option for posting comment on the site is Reply via Email. If you’ve already registered with the service and subscribed via email you can quickly and easily reply to any comment using a standard email reply. If you click Reply and type your reply in the email message body your response will automatically appear on the website.
If you have administrative options you can also ban, delete, and report any comment sent to you. You can also see the email address the user used to post the comment. This is helpful if you want to take the conversation “offline” and not have your responses posted online.
This is only a small section of the complete features available. For a complete list of features from our free commenting system please visit:

Step 3: Keeping it Positive

Any online community can have its fair share of “Trolls” or people that want to post comments simply to flare up and argument or perhaps they like to “Vent” using a series of profanities or name calling. These behaviors can be very disruptive to creating a helpful online community. The simplest way to get rid of vile comments on the website is to “Report” it. Underneath every comment there is a simple “Report” text link that allows you to flag the comment as being inappropriate and it will be removed from the website.

If someone continuously violates the posting rules they can be subsequently “Banned” from the site. For a complete list of our proposed posting rules please visit our online forum website at:

Select “Posting Rules” for a comprehensive list of rules and policies regarding posting on Clover Park Technical College websites.

Additional Resources:
Guide to Commenting and Proper Etiquette

Comment Etiquette

New York Times Public Editor

Preston Bailey on the Importance of Comments

Monday, December 13, 2010

Online Communications at CPTC

There are several ways in which students can post a message about Clover Park Technical College. Some of these are internal but many of these options exist outside our control. I’m also going to include many of the other ways that we can collect online interactions with CPTC.

Online Search Engines (Google, Bing, Yahoo)
We can track via referrers and analytics what people were searching for before they come to the Clover Park website. Google leads the search engines with about 26k referrals a month. With the most searched for phrase being, “Clover Park Technical College”. About 41% of our traffic comes from search engines, 48% just type in the URL or click on a saved favorite. About 12% comes from other sites, (i.e. state board,, etc). Our ability to interact with this channel (before they enter the site), is almost non-existent.

Search Engine Social
If you perform a search for Clover Park on a modern search engine, you’ll notice that many engines now offer a “social” aspect. The idea behind this is that even if a site won’t allow customer reviews, the search engines will “do it for them”. The problem is that these reviews tend to “live forever”, and can’t be moderated by the college. A quick search for “Clover Park Technical College”, on Google places reveals 6 comments, all from 2008. The comments posted were talking mostly about the Barber shop and Dental office. This leaves the community channel hard to engage with (i.e. long gone), and difficult to manage, (takes Google a few weeks to allow us to “claim” a listing).

Third-Party Social and Communication Tools (Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, Wikipedia)
In this section I’ll break down the different channels available and what over-all impact they might have on online communications.

With the lions share of the “Social” landscape we’ve actively engaged our Facebook audience. As of December 13th, we currently have 465 “friends” on our official facebook page. They make about 10 comments, wall posts, or likes a week on average. We also have Foundation, and ASG Facebook pages as well.

Blogger (In the Spotlight, Webmaster’s Corner, Solid Start, etc.)
We have pushed blogger as the main service available for anyone who wants to start a blog. The blogs allow staff to post information for students, community, staff, and alumni. People can easily “sign-up” for a blog and stay up-to-date with the latest information. All the blogs allow comments although there are very few that have actually used them. For example there hasn’t been a comment posted on “In the Spotlight” in over a year.

I’ll cover the Continuing Education twitter account since our offical twitter is basically just a feed from our Facebook site. The CPTContinuingEd account has 177 followers with about 112 tweets. Currently this is being used mostly as a one-way “push” for information. There are not a lot of students re-tweeting our posts, (i.e. other users “sharing” them). And even fewer tweets about us.

About a year ago we recreated the college’s official YouTube channel. At that time we uploaded all new high-def videos. Since then we’ve received about 3,800 video views and 7 subscribers. Also since that time we’ve only received 1 comment on all of our YouTube pages.

We have a detailed article on Wikipedia describing the history of the college. This article is also listed in the WikiProject Universities collaborative. However, as of now we have not received a single comment or discussion article on the wiki site. Direct Communications (Comments, Contact Us, Information Request, etc.)
In the following section I will cover all of the currently available communication options available from the Clover Park website.

Contact Us Form
Relaunched about a year ago, it has only recently seen an increase in usage. Word verification keeps the bots from spamming the form. All messages are sent directly to which I then forward onto the appropriate department. Most contacts are general information requests and are sent to There have been a total of 113 messages posted with about a 10 per week average as of late.

Information Request Form
Used to request program or financial aid information. This form receives about 8-10 request per week on average. The majority of these go directly to Judy, with most requesting a catalog and financial aid info.

Comments by Intense Debate
Launched at the beginning of November, the new online comment system has enjoyed by far the highest level of interactions. Comments can be made anonymously or by signing in to your Facebook or Twitter account. Comments are monitored in real-time and offensive comments can be deleted before they appear on the site. Anyone can subscribe to the comment feed and join in on the conversation. So far we have only had to remove 3 comments out of 225, for inappropriate use. In one month this has increased our online interactions by almost ten fold. We are also building a large repository of email addresses for future use.

Hopefully this explains the many options available for communicating with students, faculty, staff and Alumni. If you have any questions, comments or concerns feel free to contact me at:

Comments by Channel
for November 2010

Friday, November 5, 2010

Tips on how to protect your privacy while using Facebook Places.

This week we were asked by Facebook to claim our Facebook Place. This new feature will now allow people to "check-in" at our location and get promotional offers or talk about their experiences here.

Wondering if we can get in legal hot water for violating student privacy laws I checked to see if we could turn off check-in's at this location. After searching through the control panel I saw no way to turn this off. So I assume that Facebook figures that if you sign up for the location services you are accepting responsibility.

So in our continuing efforts to keep students safe on campus I would like to share this article from Lina at Lavasoft containing tips on how to protect your privacy.

Tuesday, September 21, 2010

Fall Background Preview

Get a sneak preview of our fall background design for the website. As you may have noticed with the new design we have lots of options for changing the look and feel of our site without impacting usabillity. If you'd like to get a preview before the new look goes live check out our Change Log page.

Fall Preview

Friday, May 21, 2010

May 2010 Update

A quick video blog update of all things web.

Thursday, May 20, 2010

Home Page Sneak Preview

Check out the new Home Page design and let us know what you think in the comments below.

Tuesday, May 18, 2010

It's Official...

Stay tuned as we roll out our Live Beta for everyone to test in the next few weeks.