Category Archives: Blogging

Year 3 – Blogging in 2011

First off, thank you for stopping by and for contributing your comments and replies throughout 2010! Your time here is always appreciated and I look forward to more conversations in 2011. As of this month, the Design Doc blog is two years old! As we enter year three, I just wanted to use one post to revisit past goals and look forward to this coming year.

Goals for 2010 included:

  • Blogging more frequently and
  • Learning more about blogging and WordPress.

While I didn’t blog every week, as hoped, I did manage to add 40 new posts over the course of the year. I also was fortunate enough to attend both WordCamp Miami and BlogWorld and New Media Expo. Two very different but equally fantastic events! (Find a WordCamp near you and look for BlogWorld in the fall.)

I also presented at three conferences in 2010 on blog-related, social networking topics – in each of these presentations I encouraged my colleagues in instructional design to think about blogging in two ways: 1) as a way to share their work, lessons learned, tips and tools of the trade, and 2) as a resource for information from other instructional designers using the blog format to share their experiences.

These are the posts that got the most views in 2010.

  1. Figuring Out Facebook
  2. Instructional Design Documents
  3. Course Design – Start with an Outline

So, looking ahead to 2011 there are a few new targets to hit:

  • Refine topic areas. – You’ll be seeing more about career development and professional opportunities for instructional designers this year, as well as more in terms of practical tips and resources.
  • Make the move to WordPress.org. – I have been ready to do this for a while, just need to make the leap and get everything set up. More to follow on this.

Working on this blog opened up a number of opportunities this past year – including being a part of the South Florida Public Media Camp and working with two local artists on a grant writing project. I hope to continue participating in local events and joining more blogging and social media groups.

Here are a couple of resources I’ll be referring to throughout the year. You might also be interested:

So here we go… Please let me know what might be helpful to you as we move forward. And please continue to join in the conversations!

Photo credit: Stock.xchng

Searching for E-Learning Project Management Blogs

Last week I presented a brief session at E-Learn that described an online search for blogs that address the instructional design of e-learning and project management. I worked on this project with Amy Hilbelink. We work at the intersection of instructional design and project management, coordinating the development of e-learning products and managing large-scale initiatives. This presentation was a look at our attempt to organize a search for leaders who are blogging about these topics.

My primary goal was to find out more about blogs that might inspire Design Doc. Amy, considering a blog of her own, wanted to find a niche. We also hoped to create a list of blogs and authors we could follow for current information in our field. Managing the available information is daunting to say the least.

The result was a list of 36 unique blogs: 50% were sponsored/written by individuals, another 33% by businesses and organizations, and the remaining 17% by educational institutions. This list still requires some level of curation. Not all of the blogs, found in March 2010, are still live. Many haven’t been updated in a while. Others have changed names or just don’t hit the mark, even though there is some coverage of either instructional design or project management. We thought there were gaps, too. Why didn’t some of the blogs we were already aware of make the list? Perhaps our favorite bloggers aren’t writing with SEO in mind. Should they?

Here are a few blogs you may be interested in that did come up in our search:

Who are you reading? Please reply and add to the list.

For more information about our search process, keywords used, and information collected take a look at the presentation.

Top Posts – at least so far

In preparation for the BlogWorld and New Media Expo event this week, I decided to pull a list of top 5 posts on this blog. The posts linked below have had the most number of views so far.

  • Figuring Out Facebook – This post makes the list because it was picked up by All Tech Considered and as a result it had a big day. (Thank you Andy Carvin and NPR!) What helped was a list of other posts that came to me via Twitter that day, all addressing overnight privacy changes.
  • Instructional Design Documents – Prompted by a name change on the blog itself, this post provides a brief description of an instructional design document and includes a list of links to examples from different education and training organizations.
  • Course Design – Start with an Outline – This post includes a simple tool to get the course revision process going. The outline results in a one or two page guide for moving forward – practical application and a visual example.
  • Instructional Design and Project Management – Are You Certified? – Great comments here on the pursuit of professional certification in project management and how it may or may not be beneficial for an Instructional Designer.
  • Rubrics. Yes? No? Maybe… – Sparked by an exchange in an online book club this post outlines some of the pros and cons for using rubrics to assess student work in an academic course.

While total number of views is not necessarily the best metric for creating a ‘top’ list, I can see that this group of posts does have common elements – they address topics that were timely and provide  information and examples for practical application. A more in depth inventory is in the works and will be informed no doubt by the sessions and presenters at BlogWorld.

More to follow from Design Doc and the BlogWorld and New Media Expo…

Image credit: stock.xchng

A New Kind of Scholarship?

Professors, administrators, researchers, and graduate students are increasingly using social media to:

  • communicate with their students,
  • collaborate with peers, and
  • publish their work.

Blogging in particular seems like an effective delivery format. Some academics are using blogs as a way to establish expertise and authority outside of an association with a specific institution. Others are requiring students to establish their own blogs and craft posts as course assignments, adding comments to classmates’ posts to increase interaction with each other and with course content.

Blogs and Publishing

Through blogging a new kind of scholarship is emerging allowing academics to report on their research, recommend possible courses of action, and ask questions that spark discussion.

The time required to publish in the traditional ways, e.g. textbooks and peer reviewed academic journals, can be lengthy. This presents a problem, especially in fields that involve technology, education, and communication. Research study conclusions and recommendations can be obsolete before they are published in print. Blogging provides a venue to make this information available to the public in less time.

What concerns should academic bloggers have about using this kind of venue to foster the exchange of information? Copyright? Acceptance? A system of peer review to ensure rigor?

Academic Bloggers and Social Media Experts

Academic blogging is not for everyone; at least not yet. Those who are out there challenging the academic status quo in open forums may be those who already have tenure or those not on the tenure track.  And while many institutions may be encouraging the use of social media in coursework, they may not necessarily encourage the production of social media by those among their academic ranks.

How can social media experts and academics work together? Do you see a benefit in collaboration here? I gave a presentation on blogging at a recent educational technology conference and one of the attendees commented that it all “sounds like marketing”. Could a strategic, marketing-type approach be appropriate for these authors and their audiences?

Read on…

If you decide to cite a blog post in your next academic paper…

The latest (6th ed) APA Publication Manual includes instructions for citing blog posts, posted comments, and video blog posts. APA also maintains a blog called “APA Style”.

Photo Credit: timtom.ch, Flickr

TCC 2010 Online Presentation and Resources

I’ll be presenting a session titled Communicating, sharing, and learning online: A guide for starting your own blog on April 21st at the TCC Worldwide Online Conference. I’ve attended this event twice, but this will be my first time presenting here! Per the conference tip sheet’s instructions I’ve tried to keep my slides simple. There are a lot of related resources I would like to share with the session attendees, so I’ve collected them here in this post.

My main objective with this presentation is to encourage my fellow instructional designers and technologists to consider blogging as a professional development activity. I think there are a lot of unique approaches and stories out there and sharing them via blog can be educational, helpful, and cathartic. I do not claim expertise where blogs are concerned, but I do believe in the learning benefits and potential for collaboration.

Whether or not you attend this conference or session, please reply with additional suggestions for us all. Thanks!

Choosing  a Blogging Tool – Many free options available! Obviously I have a bias here but encourage you to explore and compare. What are your favorite bloggers using? A nice comparison of WordPress and Blogger is available online.

Finding Your Voice

I challenge you to find someone who explains this any better than Jess Jurick did at WordCamp Miami. Check out her presentation online

Setting Goals

I lot of people actually blog about blogging (it’s not just me). Take a look at what some of them are saying about setting goals for the experience and for the process itself.

Writing Ideas

So, you would like to give blogging a try but don’t know what to write about? Where is your expertise? What are you interested in? Here are a couple of nice lists to get you started.

The “Cool Kids”

I am showing a few examples in the presentation itself. Who are the big names, leaders, influencers in your field of expertise or area of interest? Check out their websites and blogs. What are they talking about? Which posts get the most response?

Some Things to Think About…

…As you get started

…After getting set up

As you move forward with your own blog, remember your goals. Revisit them frequently!

[View presentation slides via slideshare.]

Image credit: Stock.XCHNG

What I Learned at WordCamp

Yesterday I attended Wordcamp Miami 2010 – one of the best conference-type experiences I’ve had in a while. In summary: very well organized, motivating speakers, friendly people, comfortable venue, and a nice lunch.  There were three program tracks: 1) developer, 2) social media, and 3) beginner.  I moved around a bit across the tracks and found all of the speakers and presentations to be helpful and encouraging. Other participants were also willing to share their insights.

I’ll be working on ideas I got at this event for some time, but here are a couple of items to share right now:

  • Jess Jurick’s Findng Your Blogging Voice was well attended and well received. Jess was also one of the organizers. Check out her presentation slides and her blog. Her presentation includes some other blog examples worth exploring.
  • WordPress SEO with John Carcutt helped even a non-programmer type like myself understand the importance of search engine optimization and how I can get started. He also previewed some changes on the way from Google.
  • Jim Turner’s From Daddy Blogger to Business Blogger explored the entrepreneurial side of blogging. Just Google ‘Genuine’ or ‘Hire a Blogger’ to find out more.
  • Tammy Hart is a self-taught developer. Her presentation, WordPress & Working with Clients, was full of tips and lessons learned. She introduced a number of resources, such as page.ly, and had down-to-earth suggestions for getting the work done.

There were many other speakers and more about each of them can be found on the WordCamp Miami website speakers page. By the way, there are WordCamps across the U.S. and the globe. Check out this calendar to find one near you. I think you’ll find a lot to learn and be motivated by, even if you don’t blog with WordPress.

Thanks to all organizers, speakers and participants for a great event. See you in 2011, WordCamp Miami!

image credit: WordCamp Miami

Year 2 – Blogging in 2010

This blog is one year old as of this month! I’ve enjoyed the process of writing it (including figuring out what to write about) and learning more about blogging in general along the way.  Personally, this endeavor has become a sort of creative outlet and a source of self-directed professional development. Now that my ‘voice’ is starting to take shape I feel the need to set a few basic goals to grow and improve the project from this point forward.

In 2010 I’ll strive to:

  • Post once per week – I know that the pros advise more, but this is a little more realistic given all else I need and want to do in a week.
  • Comment on three blogs per week – There are so many out there that I read occasionally, but want to read more frequently. I have been negligent in commenting on others’ posts when I look for comments on my own.
  • Learn more about SEO and WordPress – It would be a nice bonus to build some kind of readership and keep my site looking and sounding as professional as possible.

So here we go…more to follow from me. Please share your writing/blogging tips and suggestions. Here are a few of my favorite posts on other blogs. I revisit these occasionally and they motivate me to keep writing:

Problogger

Chris Brogan

Web Distortion

ShermanLive

photo credit: John Althouse Cohen, Flickr

Update (1/17)! I just registered for WordCamp Miami in February. I have completely lucked out on the location and timing of this event. Looking forward to attending and letting you know what I find out.