Thing 4: Register your blog with the 23 Things team. Done.
Thing 5: Explore other blogs and get to know some of the other participants.
It is lovely to see the other bloggers taking part in this course. I recommend blogging to anyone who feels they have something to say. I enjoy reading blogs, but I rarely comment on them. The blogs I read include those from other members of my team, other learning technologists and friends who are far away.
Often I find interesting blogs via twitter messages containing links, this seems like a very good way to promote your blog if you are writing updates on current issues or alerting followers to new publications. Confirmed by Marcus Du Sautoy during his #oxengage talk at IT Services on Friday.
The current blogging service provided to me by IT services doesn’t allow me to track hits or count visitors so I have no idea how many people read my blog, that doesn’t really matter to me, the process of writing is the reason I do it. Occasionally I get a request for more information, or someone tells me the feed is broken, so I know at least 3 people notice!
In the 1990s my academic work brought me an interest in reflective writing, and how to support students in that process. My students completed work placement diaries which were designed with prompts to encourage them to reflect on what they were learning from their experiences. The diaries were on paper, in spiral binding, and the frustration for me as their tutor was that in order for me to give them feedback and comment on their writing I would have to take the diary from them and keep it for a while. Research about feedback in learning suggested that feedback should follow as closely in time to the event as possible, so these analogue diaries were poor teaching tools in that respect.
My first foray into using technology for teaching were triggered by this challenge. Supported by a particularly helpful learning technologist I began to put the diary task for my students online. This was long before blogs. In those days no-one could even imagine that students (or anyone other than the most attention seeking individuals) would be prepared to share their thoughts online. Who knew?
I’ve been blogging at work since around 2005 when University of Leeds installed the online community tool elgg. I have always thought that elgg was born in Oxford, but there’s no sign of it here anymore.
I know that collegues from Oxford checked me out via my blog in Leeds before I arrived to head up the learning technologies group here.
IT services use WordPress. My colleagues tell me that some ridiculous percentage of content on the web is hosted on WordPress installations. It’s open source, and we like open source in LTG. We also develop WordPress widgets to support you in good practice in finding and citing images.
Personally, I don’t think you can be credible as a learning technologist, encouraging academic colleagues to blog if you don’t walk the talk and do it yourself.