Why blog? The lecturer's story
Dr Matthew Ashton's blog
Six months updating it roughly once a day. Around the 500 word mark range from topical pieces to reviews and commentary.
A rewarding experience
New ways of teaching learning student engagement
A wide range of political topics every week. Students don’t fully engage with the wider subject area. An excellent knowledge of contemporary politics but less aware of events from before 1989.
Friday called “Great political mistakes” drip feeding them knowledge.
Saturday on “Political advertising” helps raise awareness amongst students of political advertising techniques and campaigns and how they’ve changed over time. A way of engaging with student learning.
By writing reviews of political films and books I can point students towards interesting ideas and resources.
Encouraging writing and research
500 words acts as a warm up exercise A way of stockpiling material. Prepared
New ways of sharing ideas and research findings
VS. The traditional dissemination of research through books and journals can take years.
It can act as an unofficial means of peer review.
Engaging with people outside the academic
Share ideas and dialogue with people from a range of countries and backgrounds.
For instance I’ve had some illuminating conversations with an American about Native American rights in the media and how they relate to the US Constitution.
In the same way people have pointed me towards books and documentaries that I wasn’t aware of that I’ve subsequently shared with my students.
Raising your academic profile
It is a source of material for the media. I’ve written several blog posts that have subsequently been used by the press as newspaper articles or led to me being interviewed on the radio. This is useful in terms of both raising my own profile and promoting the work done by the university.
On one recent occasion the press office contacted me to let me know that a blog article I’d written on Mubarak’s options in Egypt had appeared in a newspaper in Tanzania.
On a more local level I wrote an article based on my recent research on the coverage of female sports that was featured in the Nottingham Post newspaper.