Firstly, I just want to say what a pleasure it is to read your blogs. You guys are engaged in some really interesting and critical discussions and I hope you’re finding the blogging process useful.
As a former blogger (in another life in the early days of Web 2.0, I used to be a vaguely successful blogger, more on that later–maybe), I’d like to offer you a few tips on blogging and as your programme director, I’m going to offer you a few tricks to make this process less daunting.
1. Look, all of you guys have opted for private blogging. I have no problem with that. What that means is that you have an audience of two: me and you. Given that, you need to think about what is interesting, troubling, useful or exciting to you about the weekly lectures and reading and shape that into a critical discussion. Since I’m your only external reader (Thomas will be coming on board during his 3 weeks of teaching to comment), you need to think about what I might be expecting from you in this fairly informal space. I’m looking for reflection and critical analysis. That’s it. I really don’t need for you to quote back to me long passages from either my lectures or from the weekly reading because…I wrote the lecture and I’ve already read the texts. Rather than spending lots of time summarising and describing the key arguments, I’d prefer that you moved on to the heavy lifting of analysis. (Of course, you’ll need to describe some things, but the balance should always be towards critical analysis rather than straight description).
2. Quality is always better than quantity. If you can only manage one post in a given week because your kids are being super demanding or work is a nightmare, that’s not a problem. Just make that one post count. That means that one post should do the business in terms of Point 1 above. Remember, this weekly blogging is a way for us to have a sustained conversation about social justice. At the end of the semester, you’re going to choose 5-7 of your sharpest, most critical and incisive posts to submit for assessment. Be kind to your future self by getting down to business now.
3. I did a PgCert in Digital Education here at Edinburgh a few years ago and I wasn’t always engaged every week. (Don’t tell my colleagues that!) Work was busy or I didn’t fancy the topic of the week. So I was strategic in my engagement. You can do this too if you follow points 1 and 2 above. I’m telling you this so you aren’t so hard on yourself if you happen to miss a week or fall behind. Just make up for it the following week with a few dead on posts. I’d rather that you felt in control of this process than have you walking around feeling guilty because you haven’t sufficiently engaged with the course. Now, I’m not giving you license to never blog, never attend the lectures and never post on the discussion forum. That would be ruinous for our learning community. What I’m saying is that life happens and we all understand. Just make sure you do what you need to do to catch up, be present and actively participate.
Keep up the good work!