How blogs put me off openly reflecting and why they won’t any longer.

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If asynchronous forums lead to overly formalised peer discussion, is blogging just more of the same?

My opinion on the standard VLE forums is that they are not fit for purpose. Their sluggish nature discourages spontaneity and genuine conversation. Course designers can completely ignore how students will use them and ask them to post long responses to questions. Long posts don’t get meaningful replies for a variety of reasons and so this approach is essentially asking students to perform a monologue that will go unheard. Probably.

In a face-to-face classroom, genuine discussions can be had, students will chat informally but on task. The teacher won’t be listening to them all and won’t be trying to get them to reply in a constrained way (“talk to your peers using 200 words or less”).

I started this WordPress blog in April, at the beginning of lockdown. My intention was to blog highly thought-provoking and articulate posts that the word of ed tech would find incredibly useful and wise. A tall order I am sure you will agree, and the pressure of this is probably what led to me only posting 3 times up until today.

So many students and academics blogs are well written, full of useful citations and insights. You can tell a lot of thought, time and effort goes into them. This adds to the pressure.

What I really want is a place to reflect on what I am reading and learning in an informal way. As I write this post I realise this blog can be whatever I want it to be. If I want to post uncited musings then I can.

And that’s what I’ve done.

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Hello world!

Would this even be a website if my first post wasn’t called “Hello world!”? Here’s a photo of a cat 😉

fred

I aim to make this blog as jargon-free as possible, as overly-wordy text is one of my pet hates.

About me

I am about to start the final year of my masters course- MA in Online and Distance Education (MA ODE) at the Open University. Sadly this course is being discontinued- I may blog about that in the future.

I have come far!

grand canyon path

A year ago, I wouldn’t have even understood the “hello world” joke I just made.

I recently found some notes I wrote back in 2016 (my first year on the course), and I wrote “TEL= technology enhanced learning”. I probably would have considered “TEL” to be jargon, I also remember bristling at terms like “asynchronous” and “pedagogy” and I now use them all the time.

Food for thought though.

A year from now, will these posts be full of acronyms, backronyms, intialisms and words that only those involved with ed tech use?

My pledge for this blog

As I progress through the course, I will force myself to write posts here of at least 500-1000 words in length based on the week’s material. I have been inspired to do this by a colleague, who is studying on a similar course at a different university. She has to write 3 blog posts a week. I think this is a good idea, and am trying out myself -“dog-fooding” as one of my very charming colleagues would would it (hello Stephen ;P).

I pledge to keep this blog public, to ensure that my posts are ordered and make sense. Well that’s the idea anyway.

I suspect I will maintain my private journal too, for when I want to rant about something, as my rants are usually sweary and incoherent 😉

I also pledge to make this blog as accessible as possible, and free of copyright theft.

Until next time!