How Can We Best Use Blogs? Help Please!

By Mark Trodden | February 11, 2007 12:08 am

While I enjoy blogging, and am perfectly prepared to discuss it with colleagues and students, I have generally kept it separate from my actual job. I don’t include it in my yearly account of my intellectual activities, I haven’t included it in promotion documents, and I certainly don’t blog about sensitive departmental or university matters.

Nevertheless, I think that universities and academics are becoming increasingly interested in the potential of blogs as educational and research tools (This topic has been discussed before here at Cosmic Variance, where an interesting discussion developed.) As a sign of this, I was recently asked to participate in the Syracuse University Faculty Development Focus Series. The organizers had come across our blog, and asked me to speak in a session with the following blurb

The community of weblogs is growing at an astounding rate. On July 31, 2006. Technorati, a popular search engine for blogs, tracked its 50th million blog*. How then can the educational community harness the power of blogs to get their ideas published and propagated? This workshop introduces participants to the different types of blogs and the ways they are being used for individual and collaborative research and learning.

Now, I have made it clear that I can only really speak with confidence about my own experience blogging, the issues that have arisen here and when I blogged at Orange Quark. I might have a few more widely applicable comments to make, but mostly it will be safer to speak about what I know best.

However, it occurred to me that we might use this opportunity to demonstrate how research might be facilitated by blogs, by asking you all to use this post’s comment section to throw in your ideas about the topic of the workshop. The question is

How can the educational community harness the power of blogs to get their ideas published and propagated?

I’d really appreciate any help you can give, and I’ll use this post and its comment thread as one of my examples in the workshop.

CATEGORIZED UNDER: Academia, Cosmic Variance, Internet

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About Mark Trodden

Mark Trodden holds the Fay R. and Eugene L. Langberg Endowed Chair in Physics and is co-director of the Center for Particle Cosmology at the University of Pennsylvania. He is a theoretical physicist working on particle physics and gravity— in particular on the roles they play in the evolution and structure of the universe. When asked for a short phrase to describe his research area, he says he is a particle cosmologist.


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