Survey Says … Educational Blogging

I am participating in an Educational Blogger research project exploring communities of education blogging. Below are my survey answers; I hope this is helpful to the researcher! I think it’s a fascinating process and phenomenon to study.

Blog URL:

prattlenog.com

What do you blog about?

Higher education, teaching, learning, assessment, adult learners, Prior Learning Assessment, accreditation, educational technology, and sometimes my kid, my dog, or my own learning opportunities and challenges.

Are you paid to blog?

No.

What do you do professionally (other than blog)?

I am the Dean of Learning & Assessment and Director of the Center for Experiential Learning & Assessment at Marylhurst University

I also am a private consultant specializing in higher education teaching, learning, and assessment work.

How long have you been blogging at this site?

About 3 – 1/2 years.

Do you write in other platforms? (e.g. in a print magazine?)

Yes.

Can you remember why you started blogging?

To engage in higher educational scholarship my way; to write about things I want to write about; to connect to my students and colleagues.

Here is a picture of  my blog prior to blogging, and still is my “thinking/writing” place most of the time when I have major ideas to process for myself. But now ideas start here, and get refined when and if I move them to the more public space of the blog.

This is my pre-blog : before I blogged, I wrote here, and it still serves as a place for me to process my thoughts and reflect on my learning privately. You’ll also see the drawing my 4-year old made me for a book mark. It’s a very important part of this notebook.

What keeps you blogging?

I have things I want to say …   I blog as a way to test out new ideas or insights, share tips, connect with others.  Primarily I write-to-learn (blog-to-learn?) … writing is a very important learning process for me, and I use my blog to process ideas, respond to things I’ve read, and to get feedback from others who might be interested in having a conversation.

I also use my blog as a travelogue of my professional journeys (and sometimes my personal journeys), and in some ways, an ePortfolio and a way to establish my personal “brand.”

A while back I posted a response to a question asked about how I use my blogging. WordPress pushed it to Freshly Pressed and I got TONS of readers that day, which was kind of fun. Here’s that post:

Verb: To Blog

Do you have any idea of the size or character if your audience? How?

Kind of – through some site analytics and follower notifications. But I don’t track that very well.

What’s your attitude to/ relationship with people who comment on your blog?

I LOVE comments! It tells me I’ve connected to someone in some way, and that someone is reading it.

Do you feel as if you fit into any particular community, network or genre of blogging? (e.g. schools, science, education, museums, technology)

Maybe higher education as a community, and teaching/learning/assessment as topics primarily, but my topics are pretty diverse within this area, so I likely don’t fit a specific community.

If so, what does that community give you?

I learn a lot from other bloggers. I also like to get feedback, share ideas, connect, and find ways to work together. I have met very important colleagues and friends (such as Harriet Schwartz – blogger at The Encouragement Lounge), by blogging. Harriet and I, for example, have since collaborated on some blog and some not-blog scholarly projects together.

What do you think are the advantages of blogging? What are its disadvantages/ limitations?

Advantages: It fosters my own reflective thinking; I like to write-to-learn so writing my blog provides me a way to clarify my thinking about topics that are important to me; it provides an authentic audience (if anyone reads what I write); and it connects me to other people that I might otherwise never be connected to.

Disadvantages / Limitations: Educational blogging may still not be considered a kind of scholarship — even though in many ways what we write is “peer reviewed” in larger ways (potentially by the entire world).

Do you tell people you know offline that you’re a blogger? (e.g. your grandmother, your boss)

Yes, but I don’t call myself a “blogger.”  PrattleNog is my website; I happen to publish things that I write here.

Is there anything else you want to tell me about I haven’t asked?

I am continually surprised by who reads my blog and how it gets out there. I think a key to this is in linking my blog to other social media tools such as Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn, YouTube, etc.  The other thing I find fascinating is how it takes very little effort to keep my blog running. I try to post once a week if not more often, but sometimes I don’t post much at all, and sometimes I post quite often. I keep reminding myself: it’s my blog, my project, and I can write about what I want, whenever I want. There is a freedom in that — especially when I see that people read it.

Good luck with your research. I’d love to hear about what you learn!

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