In part 1 of this blog I discussed the use of LinkedIn and discussion boards as resources for continuing professional education (CPD) and research dissemination. This post, examining blogging and Twitter, concludes the topic.
There are two obvious aspects to blogging: reading and writing.
Reading: There are literally thousands of blogs, both individual and community-based covering myriad topics, which are a great way to learn from others. There are several approaches to discovering blogs to follow. Two that I have found effective are:
- Following links from other social media sites eg links from tweets and LinkedIn forum discussions
- Reading from the blogging area in platforms like NOVICE.
I manage my blog reading through my RSS feed (I use Google Reader for my RSS but there are many other options). I’m perpetually behind in my reading but it’s always there for me to catch up when I get the chance.
Writing: Clearly I’m a fan of blogging. I find it a great vehicle to communicate ideas and make myself think deeply about a topic. It’s also made me begin a long overdue review of my writing style. Its virtues for academics have been extolled with greater eloquence than I can muster by many others including Steve Wheeler in his excellent blog.
Twitter has huge advantages for both CPD and research dissemination. Several people have commented to me recently that they find Twitter a little overwhelming and are uncertain about dipping their toes in. By the very nature of its brevity it does move quickly but there are tools to help manage the information flow, upon which I will elaborate in my next post.
One of the keys to Twitter’s capacity for information spread is the inclusion of links, for example to blog posts or articles, in tweets. Many have written about the advantages of using Twitter, among them Jane Hart, who writes about it in the wide context of CPD for any profession, and the Guardian newspaper Higher Education Network in an article specifically focused on academic research and teaching.
As always with teaching and learning, showing is superior to telling. In this spirit I give the last word on this topic to Melissa Terras, an academic at University College London, who shows how the dissemination of her research changed when she began tweeting and blogging about it. QED.