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Lessons learned from introducing blogging to teaching staff

Lessons learned from introducing blogging to teaching staff in the context of a compulsory professional development programme

Challenge Area

Key Problems

Strategies to address challenges

Developing technical confidence and competence

  • Gaining access
  • Navigating the dashboard
  • Finding others’ blogs
  • Uncertainty around visibility and privacy levels
  • Set up accounts and blogs face-to-face in a computer lab
  • Set regular tasks and deadlines as checkpoints
  • Monitor individuals’ activity closely in early stages
  • ‘Buddy-up’ less confident with more experienced and/or confident users
  • Use group activities to ensure participants gain experience as both an author and a subscriber/commenter
  • Ensure activities have a relevance and purpose beyond learning to use a blog – this helps participants to ‘over-ride’ frustration with the technology

Sharing and open practice

  • Overestimation of the likelihood of negative judgement
  • Reluctance due to self-consciousness or perfectionism
  • Underappreciation of the value of one’s contributions to others

 

  • Acknowledge challenges of sharing while emphasising the positive aspects (learning benefit to self - through feedback - and others)
  • Show examples to emphasise positive and supportive interactions in similar contexts
  • Build in opportunities for low-stakes practice
  • Encourage use of ‘preview’ feature before posting
  • Emphasise ease of editing post-publication
  • Use peer grading exercises to demonstrate that others often value our contributions more highly than we do ourselves

 

Communication and collaborative working

  • Preference for engaging passively rather than actively with others’ posts and ideas

 

  • Use regular peer assessment of participation
  • Show examples of interactions that have clearly impacted on understanding
  • Build in synchronous online communication opportunities (e.g. webinars) to promote interaction between participants
  • Allow & encourage participants to meet face-to-face and document conversations on their blogs as an alternative or ‘stepping stone’ to actually conversing online
  • Acknowledge that online communication may feel strange or ‘false’ at first and that effective communication in this mode (like all things) takes practice

 

Writing in an online forum

  • Difficulty communicating complex ideas succinctly and/or in simple terms
  • Difficulty finding a written ‘voice’ that does not sound inappropriately academic, formal or structured
  • Discomfort with writing generally, including dyslexia

 

  • Acknowledge challenges of writing online while emphasising the positive aspects (value of trying to explain a concept in simple terms, time to analyse, reflect and check things through before posting)
  • Allow & encourage participants to meet face-to-face and document conversations on their blogs as an alternative or ‘stepping stone’ to actually conversing online
  • Emphasise options for alternative modes of communication; show examples of posts with images, sketches, video and audio

 

Also see - Lessons learned and worksheet activity attached.

The link to the blog-based monthly activities is here:    

https://docs.google.com/document/d/1V26GEE6VUVZhS3lHSX1dojTa6KtxWkRFL9Z7H8fd6mU/edit

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getting_teachers_blogging.docx14.96 KB
getting_started_with_myblog.arts_.docx18.42 KB
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