Beginning with a very basic structure.
One home page: Field of Science. This page will aggregate content from the subblogs, forum, etc. Also useful links, etc. Everything you need to navigate and check for new content. Design #1.So there are the three basic designs I need to develop. I need to incorporate consistent elements across all three, while leaving room for each to be individualized (specifically the subblogs) per the blog owner's preferences. Think mannequins. They need to be both plan and attractive for bloggers to want to hang their ideas on.
Multiple subblogs: Labs. The developers blog and an example of a subblog. Design #2.
One forum: Forum. What's a website without a forum? It is what it is. The forum is expandable (or scalable) with the addition of sub-forums, etc. Sending comments to a blog owners own forum as opposed to regular blog comments will be an option. Design #3.