Yes, just a few months ago Dr M thought blogging was an unfathomable absurdity, a waste of time, done only by those with little to say but too much time to waste, generating endless words floating around the ether, no shelf-life, nowhere to go, so much cyberspace white noise!
And now Dr M is Blogging regularly on his website here at www.drmgoeswild.com and elsewhere too!
And what is more, today Dr M ran a session at the University of Reading on the subject of using Blogs in University teaching for a group of visiting scholars from Kazakhstan (see the featured image).
So what triggered this change of heart?
Well it was one of Dr M’s students who said “you really should be blogging Dr M, it’s the way to get your passion for botany out there.”
And Dr M, always open to new ideas, thought, “What the hell?!” had a go, and the rest is Blogging history!
In Dr M’s presentation he noted that a Blog:
(a) is a page of entries (posts);
(b) is organised in reverse chronological order (the most recent first);
(c) is normally public (so make sure you only publish what you are happy for anyone to see!);
(d) has entries usually from a single author;
(e) can have comments added on each entry and the author can respond.
Dr M is convinced that Blogs must be interactive and he encouraged people to send comments back to Blog authors, a Blog without interaction is not a vibrant, living Blog!
Dr M also loves the fact that Blogs can easily incorporate audio, images, video and links to other sites, giving great scope for imaginative, novel and interactive web places.
Dr M emphasised that all material used in your Blog, or your student’s Blogs, must be published with permission of the original author of that material. Keeping within copyright is critical to a long-term successful blog.
Dr M encourages the use of your own images and video material in your Blogs, both to maintain originality and to avoid copyright issues.
Dr M showed three different examples by way of illustration: (1) the University of Reading “Whiteknights Biodiversity“, (2) Dr M’s student Waheed Arshad’s blog entitled “Kew the Botanist“, and (3) www.drmgoeswild.com (of course!).
Dr M and the Kazakh scholars then discussed how Blogs and Blogging can be used in teaching and learning.
Key questions raised by the group were: how to search for Blogs which might interest you? how to set up your own blog? who regulates the production of Blogs, e.g. across the University as a whole? and what to do if you get negative feedback?
Dr M pointed out that his website, www.drmgoeswild.com, is all about botany, and plants and flowers and such-like are not especially controversial subjects, perhaps unlikely to generate much hostility or extreme negative reaction! Other topics, such as law and politics, are potentially much more controversial and need a different approach!
Contact Dr M with your questions and comments about Blogs and Blogging for teaching and learning and indeed for anything!
Dr M has found the following useful, but there’s plenty of Blogging advice and information out there if you look!