Wednesday, 1 October 2014

Publishing a magazine with no money and little time? No worries!

Rather shockingly the other week, a former colleague asked expectedly where all my research was?  When faced with an incredulous expression, he explained that since I no longer appeared to be blogging, he simply assumed I was spending all my time researching.

So, in order to avoid similar scurrilous accusations I have dug around the Apps folder and dusted off the 'ole 'Blogger' button.

One of the schemes that has been keeping me busy has been my plan to develop a magazine that can publish student work, and provide a resource that helps under- and post-graduates remain engaged with their course and with their institution.  This has been something I have wanted to do for some time, but having some experience of journalism I was very tentative to start something that I knew I would not have the time to continue.

This is a real issue, I expect, for most of us.

It is great when we have ideas and schemes which we really think would benefit the students - but the reality is that most such schemes require a significant and on-going time investment from us, and this is an investment we are rarely in a position to make.

If I wanted to create a magazine for my students, it needed to fit my budget:
Money: £0
Time: ALAP (as little as possible)
Work: Hardly any
Fortunately there are some nifty free online tools which can help with this sort of thing.  Just go online and type in 'online publishing' and you will see a plethora of resources - some of them costing a lot, some a little and some offering 'education accounts' which effectively enable you to use them for free.

The one which took my fancy was a service called Joomag.  I liked the fact that this service enabled the use of multimedia content, but still allowed a nicely-converted pdf for printing or for reading on an ebook reader.  It is pretty easy to use too, without being so over-simplified that there is no scope for exercising a little creativity in the design.

Here is a wee introductory video explaining the service:

After a bit of playing around, it was relatively simple to contact some students, obtain permission to reprint some of their essays, and to format them into the magazine.  Add a couple of additional articles, and the finished product looks... well, I would be interested to know what you think: