Archive for the ‘Blogging’ Category

Hello blog!

Thursday, December 15th, 2011

My poor blog has been sadly neglected recently…. I’d like to use the excuse of writing the book, but the reality is I just got out of the habit of blogging. For some reason I’ve got back into it again. I had forgotten how valuable blogging is, as a means of reporting on things and working up new ideas. I am currently working on a post about memes and metaphors for networked technologies for example. My blog definitely adds something to my repertoire of thinking channels; from presentations through blogging and finally through to more coherent publications. Has anyone else experienced similar problems and neglected their blog recently? 

Here’s my blogging story…

Friday, September 18th, 2009

I have been a blogger now for a few years and although I go through phases of inactivity on the whole I think blogging has become an important and fundamental part of my practice. I was prompted to begin in part because I realised I didn’t really understand blogging as a practice and wanted to explore whether or not it could be of value for me. To be honest I was pretty sceptical but once I started was amazed at how valuable I found it. For me blogging performs a number of functions:

  • It acts as a reflective outlet, helps me develop and articulate ideas, in a fairly informal and quick fashion
  • It acts as a repository of my ideas and resources
  • It provides a mechanism for promoting project work and the work of others I respect in the community
  • It enables me to be part of the wider network, to connect with other researchers.

This link lists some of my previous musing on the topic. Twitter has changed how I blog and how frequently, but it hasn’t replaced it. I, like others (see the twitter vs. blogging flash debate), think the two are complementary. For me Cloudworks is increasingly becoming a third dimension = as a means of collective live blogging, discussion and aggregation of resources around a particular topic or theme. But then I guess I would say that wouldn’t I! ;-)

Convert to the blogosphere… me!

Friday, July 11th, 2008

Wow it’s weird reading someone else’s interpretation of what you say! Just accidently come across an article in Information World Review, which is the result of an interview I did back in May on how I got into blogging. The interview was bizarre as it took place on my mobile in the car haring up the M1 to catch a flight with my partner sniggering at all the silly or pompous things I was saying!! Now that’s the mobile, digital world for you!

JCAL blogging article

Friday, June 20th, 2008

Just got an email from my colleague Cindy to say that our JCAL article on some of the research she did last year on the use of blogs in education is now out. I only had a minor part in the work, but it was interesting to be involved with and I think Cindy uncovered some interesting findings and developed a nice framework for looking at the different ways in which blogs are being used. 

Favourite blogs

Friday, March 7th, 2008

What a great idea by intute!

 As part of the ESRC Festival of Social Science 7th –16th March, Intute: Social Sciences is featuring a series of articles by our subject editors presenting their favourite blogs 

The ABC of academic discourse

Thursday, February 28th, 2008

Andy Powell picks up on the debate about blogging and academic discourse. Very relevant at the moment with respect to the research course we are running (H809) where the students are using blogs to reflect on readings and discuss things! I like his reordering of my suggestion for the role of blogging into a simple ABC:  A-academic paper, B-blogging, C-conferences!! Soooo challenge for you… what about academic discourse D-Z???? ;-)

Good advice

Friday, February 8th, 2008

Sarah Stewart is undertaking an interesting month of daily challenges for her blog - lots of interesting posts about this, but I particularly like her advice picked up from Michele Martin on reasons for blogging:

  • blog to add value to yourself
  • think about the process, not the finished product
  • do not fixate on getting huge audience, but rather concentrate on developing quality relationships with readers [sounds like ‘quality parent time this one…]
  • don’t be afraid to make mistakes

On our new course which has just started - H809 - it’s great to see people beginning to set up and use their blogs. There has already been some interesting discussion about the worth (or not) of blogging in a learning context and its relationship to other dialogic mechanisms. I will be really interested to see how the debate develops around the course, for the students individually as a reflective tool, between the student and also more widely - with the tutors, course team and the blogosphere more  generally. Is the use of blogs for learner purposes any different from its use in other circumstances - such as part of a research community??

Fostering the research community

Sunday, December 16th, 2007


Constellation of practice in e-learning research (Image from flickr
George Siemen’s post about the role of blogs in teaching has prompted me to write something about the way we are planning to use blogs on a new course we are starting in February as part of our masters programme. The course is affectionately known as H809 (codes… it’s an OU thing….) or to give it its full title ‘Practice based research in educational technology’. The focus of the course is about researching with and about technologies. Rather than giving the students lots of content on research methodologies and how they are being used in e-learning and in studying the impact of technologies in education, we have decided to adopt a more innovative approach to the delivery of the course. We want the students to “experience” e-learning research, for them to become members of our research community. This fits very much with Wenger’s Community of Practice ideas and his views on identity and constellations of practice.   So instead of “dry content” and our views on what e-learning is about, we have designed the course around a series of seminal research papers which encapsulate some of the key features of e-learning research. We want the students to get a feel for the changing nature of e-learning as a research field, the predominant educational theories and perspectives which underpin it and examples of methodological innovation. But many of the students who are likely to take the course will be researchers or practitioners in the field themselves.  So we want to ensure that we can capture and build very much on their expertise as well. Soooo to the role of blogs in the course. We will be asking each of the student to keep a reflective research blog as they work through the course and will be encouraging them to read and comment on each others blogs. We want them to experience the role of blogs in a research context and for them to reflect on their own views of how blogging offers a valuable, alternative communication channel for academic discourse. Hopefully they will find the experience rewarding and maybe even keep on blogging after the course has finished!            

Quality discourse: flourish or whither?

Sunday, November 25th, 2007

George Siemens post ‘blog malaise’ raises some really interesting questions about the ‘worth of knowledge’ in today’s context. 

The fact is, today’s information currency finds its value in connections. And Google is the banker. If you want society to know you exist, you need to be found by search engines.    

If you want something chances are the first thing you will do is google it. He goes on:

What happens when brilliant researchers conduct brilliant research but publish it in closed journals? The researcher or the research may likely not reach the awareness of individuals who find information through search engines (though, with Google Scholar, this will likely change somewhat). Voices of authority (as seen from the perspective of an average information seeker) are determined by how accessible and how prominently connected they are.          

Which suggests that there is a shift in what counts in terms of authority and how that’s determined. I think this raises profound issues for us as academics. I am very aware of this from my own perspective through a number of things recently. Firstly as we finalise our RAE submission what counts there is the weighty peer reviewed journal article and each individual’s indicators of esteem. But this doesn’t capture the rich ways in which many academics are now communicating - through blogging and by sharing presentations on slideshare. Which is the more valid representation of academic knowledge? Secondly I’ve written up some of our learning design research in a couple of book chapters recently and now feel slightly frustrated that I can’t make that material available electronically because it goes against the publisher’s copyright. Thirdly I am aware that using social software (such as writing blogs, sharing references via social bookmarking, or making presentations available on slideshare) exposes an individual’s work to a far wider audience than would be possible via traditional means. All this seems well and good, providing a vibrant environment for sharing of ideas. However it seems that we are currently in a transition period. A lot of the more educationally focussed researchers I admire and follow are currently not in the blogosphere, which means there is a divide between 1) traditional academic communication and 2) social networking academic communication. Will we eventually reach a situation where the rest of academia see the benefit and importance of social networking tools and switch to using them as a standard means of communicating their ideas or will there always be those who favour the traditional methods? If the later happens will a lot of good intellectual thinking tied up in subscription-based journals or books get lost in the large noise of easily accessible “blogspeak”?  

Reasons for blogging - 1, 2, 3…

Tuesday, November 6th, 2007

Blog presentationFollowing on from my post ‘Framework for blogging’ I notice that Cole Camplese has a nice blog about reasons for blogging and a nice powerpoint slide summarising the key points - reproduced here… As an aside I am ashamed to say that my colleague Cindy Kerawalla today said she was amazed to see that I had started blogging as she remembered numerous conversations with me saying things along the lines ‘I can’t really see the point of blogging’, ‘Isn’t it all very egotistical’, ‘I am far too busy to do it’, etc. etc. … hangs head in shame…