Expanded teaching, learning and research opportunities are on the table for all at Washington State University — faculty, staff and students — in the form of PBJ. Not the type that sticks in your mouth, but PBJ, the portal-based journal, that opens wide WSU’s ability to communicate with the world.

A journal is used to record and reflect on learning, research and experience, said Sharon Roy, assistant director at WSU’s Center for Teaching, Learning and Technology, which helped develop PBJ. PBJ is an electronic, public journal where participants can share their ideas, solicit feedback and link to similar information,

“Creating links to other related sites promotes social networking,” said Theron DesRosier, a learning consultant with CTLT. “You expand your resources, and you establish a ‘web of trust.’ ”

For faculty, that “web” might mean accessing others’ research, while the “trust” includes also assessing that information according to what other reliable, respected sources have said about it.

Faculty can publish their own research or preliminary ideas on PBJ and solicit nearly immediate peer review. They can design class projects that pull in comment from international experts.

Staff too can share their expertise and benefit from the knowledge of colleagues worldwide — for example, topics on budgeting, benefits, office communications and conflict resolution.

Students’ learning can be enhanced by sharing their work and getting feedback from WSU faculty and fellow students, as well as from professionals worldwide, including potential employers.

Other applications might involve distance learning, international programs, staff development and alumni relations, Roy said. With PBJ’s searchable keywords, experts interested in the same topics can find WSU sites.

Nils Peterson, CTLT assistant director, is using his space on PBJ as he leads a project to build a timber frame covered bridge for the Latah Trail between Moscow and Troy, Idaho. He will work with students in Dan Dolan’s civil engineering class this fall to engineer the structure.

“This project has many stakeholders, from the County Commissioners to the Idaho Transportation Department,” said Peterson. “Sharing what we are doing via the Web should help them all be better informed.” The URL for Peterson’s journal on the project is http://pbj.ctlt.wsu.edu/nils_peterson/category/25.aspx.

The WSU Museum of Art will use PBJ to initiate a communitywide dialog about the current show of large sculptures installed on campus — about the pieces, the sites and what meanings individuals derive from public art. “Opening up a dialog with the community is an interesting extension to the idea for the show,” said Chris Bruce, museum director. The URL for the project is http://pbj.ctlt.wsu.edu/cbruce.

Right now, PBJ is in the experimental phase, Peterson said. He and Roy hope that more faculty and students at WSU will join them in exploring the full potential of PJB. “It is very easy to get your personal space on PJB,” Roy said. “Go to http://pbj.ctlt.wsu.edu, click on ‘create account,’ enter your WSU network ID, and you have instant access to your own journal space as well as to click-and-type Web publishing.”

One who has tried it out is Dennis Haarsager,, associate vice president and general manager of WSU’s Educational Telecommunications and Technology.

“PBJ permits faculty to share information with students, and students can add comments,” he said. “The same could be the case for staff information needs. Think about it as a way for anyone to easily be his or her own webmaster, creating and posting information.” The capability to link to other Web pages “adds substantial power and convenience” to PBJ, he said.

“It gives instructors and learners a new resource that other online tools don’t offer,” said Peterson.

Find this article on PBJ, where you can offer feedback on it and WSU Today, at http://pbj.ctlt.wsu.edu/cynking/archive/2004/08/31/534.aspx.