Should All Learning Professionals Be Blogging?

Over at the Learning Circuits Blog their ‘Big Question’ for the month is ‘Should all learning professionals be blogging?’ The question has generated a range of varied responses from educators – the post has links to them.

I came across the question yesterday at Jim Belshaw’s blog, and posted a spur of the moment response:

…perhaps the question isn’t so much ‘should all learning professionals be blogging’ but rather ‘should all learning professionals be actively engaging with the current developments in their discipline?’ To which, in my mind, the answer is Yes.

The ‘How?’ question then leads naturally to blogging or similar activities – because the exciting, new and innovative developments in pretty much all a university’s discipline areas are being discussed, reported, analysed and further developed on the web, through online journals, news, blogs, wikis and so on. The web is the home to the current knowledge and ideas, and is much more up-to-date than most traditional print-based academic journals, where the time-frame from research to publication can be years.

Participating in those online communities is a true scholarly activity – contributing to the ‘unending conversation’ in our discipline areas, debating ideas, furthering knowledge and understanding, and sharing that with the wider community.

Yes, it’s a time commitment, but it’s part of our pursuit of knowledge in our respective discipline areas – and it’s also a timesaver in some ways, with easy access to the leading thinkers and resources, the opportunity to share and seek feedback on ideas and drafts of papers, and so on.

On reflection, I haven’t changed my view much. I don’t necessarily think that all learning professionals/academics should be actively blogging – blogging is not for everyone, and it takes a while to develop one’s blogging ‘voice’ – but, as expressed in my previous post, I do think that we need to be very aware of, and participating in, the current developments in our respective fields. And, while I’m ready to be corrected, I can’t really think of any discipline where what is happening on the web is irrelevant.

Blogging is one way – and can be an excellent way – of actively participating in one’s discipline, and contributing to the application of ideas and knowledge in the wider community. Blogging goes further than traditional email discussion lists, conferences, academic papers, and other standard academic means of communication. So, yes, I think academics should be aware of what blogging is, reading the relevant thinkers in their fields, and at least actively considering whether blogging is an appropriate form of participation for them.

However, for those who are less confident navigating their way around the web, sometimes finding relevant blog communities can be a bit of a challenge. To assist the academic staff I work with, I’m working on putting together a wiki resource with links to blogs across a range of discipline areas. Although if anyone knows of a similar resource already existing, please let me know!

Advertisements

8 responses to “Should All Learning Professionals Be Blogging?

  1. I quote:
    “Participating in those online communities is a true scholarly activity”

    “Blogging is one way – and can be an excellent way – of actively participating in one’s discipline, and contributing to the application of ideas and knowledge in the wider community.”

    I whole heartedly agree. Blogs cover the latest trends in the community. It helps keep in touch with what people are doing in all parts of the globe. As an instructional designer, I am constantly looking for types of media available to me and the latest research or reports. Blogs provide a wonderfull opportunity to learn.

    Blogs make experts, gurus, and beginners accessible to you. People become more approachable and are willing to share information.

    Enjoy the learning process!

    Archana
    http://elearning.kern-comm.com/

  2. Bronwyn, I found your blog through the Learning Circuits link. I should have realised that you must have one. Fancy going to the US to track back, but then we live in a global world.

    I spent the last forty minutes or so tracking through your posts and links. You have some interesting material. But then I noticed something.

    There was something very familiar about your trip photos. Not the photos themselves, but the story. I know this, I thought. So I checked about. I have already used Gordon’s photos, with his approval, in a number of stories and have given them, and the trip, several plugs. Maybe I should have made the connection given my Armidale links, but I had not.

    Do keep posting. Now that I have found you, so to speak, I have added the blog to my favourite list.

  3. Thanks for visiting and commenting, Archana! Yes, the willingness of people to share experience in the blogosphere is wonderful – and I love being able to read the developing thoughts and comments of the leading thinkers in various fields, long before those thoughts become formal papers.

    Jim, yes, Gordon and I are a couple 😉 I’m glad you enjoyed my blogs. My photoblog has a bit of a different perspective from Gordon’s – he focuses more on the art and craft of photography, and he has far more camera power and technical skill than me! My interest is more on trying to capture a visual sense of place and mood – hence grouping photos together.

  4. Bronwyn, I spent more time tonight with you. I will be adding a few comments to posts. But in the meantime, may I use some of your photos if I say where they come from and the context is right? I add the second because I don’t want to use photos just because they illustrate a story in a general way, only where there is a generic connection between the photo and the story.

  5. Jim,
    yes – feel free to use photos. I publish them under a Creative Commons licence, permitting attributed, non-commercial use.

  6. Thank you for permission, Bronwyn.

  7. Bronwyn wrote: “I don’t necessarily think that all learning professionals/academics should be actively blogging – blogging is not for everyone, and it takes a while to develop one’s blogging ‘voice’…”

    Maybe it’s not a should, but I would strongly recommend it. My experience in discussing what comes up in the blogosphere is that I have a qualitatively different conversation with other bloggers than I do with people who ‘know about’ blogging, or even read blog posts occasionally. Maybe not unlike the conversations musos have with one another, sportspeople etc. And there are many ways of blogging: not everyone has to write essays – there is a place for link blogs, preferably with some comments by the blogger.

    A further consideration is the offline conversationof bloggers, the emails and IMs that zip around the globe between bloggers every day, not making it as blog posts, but informing and nuancing the conversation. You don’t get to be included in that part of the conversation unless and until you start blogging.

  8. Des, I really think that you captured two critcical points here.

    You wrote: “And there are many ways of blogging: not everyone has to write essays – there is a place for link blogs, preferably with some comments by the blogger.”

    As you know, I tend to write longer pieces. That’s my style. But each morning, usually early, I spend 30 minutes touring my blog shortlist, clicking through on links to check. The blogosphere is a huge information screening device, with the link blogs being especially useful.

    You also wrote: “A further consideration is the offline conversationof bloggers, the emails and IMs that zip around the globe between bloggers every day, not making it as blog posts, but informing and nuancing the conversation. You don’t get to be included in that part of the conversation unless and until you start blogging”

    Absolutely spot on. And I think that this has been the biggest surprise for me since I started blogging. It’s actually a lot more than just nuancing the conversation, it’s real friendship and information exchange.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s