Tomorrow’s Professor Mailing List Back in the Blogosphere

I’m glad to announce that I’m now hosting the Tomorrow’s Professor Blog, a blog that mirrors the content of the Tomorrow’s Professor Mailing List. For more than a decade, the Tomorrow’s Professor Mailing List has provided “desktop faculty development, one hundred times a year.” The mailing list features essays and articles on a variety aspects of the faculty career. It’s edited by Richard Reis of Stanford University and sponsored by the Stanford Center for Teaching and Learning. More than 1,000 archived posts are available on the Tomorrow’s Professor website.

I recently discovered that the Tomorrow’s Professor Blog hosted by MIT was shut down. Some time ago, I ended my email subscription to the mailing list (a subscription I started during my grad school days) in favor of following the posts via the RSS feed provided by the blog. With the blog shut down, my RSS connection was gone, too. Moreover, there was no longer a way to comment on posts since the mailing list isn’t structured for discussion.

I emailed Rick Reis to ask about the blog, and he said that the funding that had supported it had ended. I’m not sure how that funding was used, but I knew that (a) Web server space is cheap, (b) WordPress is free, and (c) it wouldn’t be hard to maintain the Tomorrow’s Professor Blog if there were a way to automatically post items from the mailing list. It turns out that there’s a plugin for that! I figured there might be since there’s a WordPress plugin for just about anything. That’s one of the advantages of using an open platform like WordPress: You get to tap into the collective contributions of thousands of other users. The Postie plugin ended up being just what I needed.

Setting up Postie wasn’t blindingly easy, but it wasn’t too difficult, either. I had to set up an email address that allowed POP3 access without using SSL connections. I couldn’t figure out how to do so via Gmail, so I explored the options my Web host, GoDaddy, provides. After a little trial and error, I set up a dedicated email address using my domain and subscribed that email address to the TP mailing list. Then I had to give Postie the right information so that it could access my new email account to check for new messages. Again, that took some trial and error, but I finally got everything working. Now new TP mailing list posts go to this dedicated email address and, within an hour, Postie pulls those new emails into the TP blog.

I shared the blog with Rick Reis, and he was glad to give readers more access to the mailing list. With his blessing, I’m now going public with the new Tomorrow’s Professor Blog. This means that you can now follow the Tomorrow’s Professor Mailing List via RSS and that you can comment on individual posts. I’m glad to help this valuable mailing list return to the blogosphere!

Update: I’ve just set up a Twitter account, @tomprofblog, for the blog. New posts will be tweeted automatically, giving you another option for following the mailing list.

Image: “Binoculars,” Vestman, Flickr (CC)

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