Friday, July 20, 2007

Blogging: Build your professional reputation

Martin Weller describes the benefits of blogging for university faculty in Encouraging educators to blog. In doing so, he made some excellent points about improving and expanding the professional reputation of faculty. One point seems particularly relevant to Extension professionals--both at the local and state level.
If your subject area is not one widely engaged with blogging then this represents a good opportunity to establish yourself as one of the lead experts.

He also describes two benefits of blogging in the context of teaching.
  • Link to teaching – the type of content used in courses is increasingly diverse, and one model for including up to date information is to have feeds from a number of blogs incorporated in to teaching material.
  • Eating our own dog food - increasingly students are encouraged to use blogs in courses, and so we should be demonstrating how they can be effective.

Of course, Martin also has other excellent posts on social networking and education. An everyday, modern learning experience describes a series of conversations that included blogging, email, and Facebook. Some of the conversations involved people who trusted and professionally respected each other, though they had never met. Some of the conversations involved the professor and a student. Informal learning led to formal learning.

The most compelling observation was:

iv) I didn't feel like a student or a teacher at any stage, it was a peer dialogue, through which learning occurred.

Martin describes this example as trivial. It is not trivial. Through conversations that included respect, each person guided another to look further, to learn something new, and to dig a little deeper. In my opinion, that is not trivial. Although the learning is and will not be traditionally or structurally measured, this process of learning is important.

Note: Beth Kanter for providing Martin's link on Idealware: Blogging Online Webinar: July 24.


Beth Kanter said...

Hi Anne,

Thanks so much for pointing out that other post. I'm enjoying his blog and appreciate your observations.

Martin said...

Hi Anne
thanks for the comments. You are right, it isn't trivial, I probably shouldn't have used that word. I wanted to convey that it was different from the kind of prolonged engagement with a subject one has in higher ed. What I'm not sure about is whether one could build a prolonged engagement in such an environment. I suspect you could if it was structured so that such informal interactions became the norm.

Anne Adrian said...

Thanks Martin for your comments. Please know that I found your article to be on target.

I firmly believe that many of us underestimate the power of influence we have as individuals and that power is based on the respect and trust we gained as we have more and more conversations.

At the very least, these conversations you have had may mean more and teach more in the long run than you may ever realize. If for no other reason, you took time to guide and point to deeper learning. The same is true of your online colleague.

Thanks for your comments and I will continue to read your posts.