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How to blog if you'e never done it before

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Set an easy goal - post every day for a week. Two sentences will do. For every post go and read and comment on someone else's blog. Try and stick to the same time every day, say as the kettle boils first thing in the morning. Where you can stick up a picture first - see David Ogilvy on advertising, you've barely got one chance to get people's attention. Use Jakob Nielsen for suggestions on web usability.
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Picture of Bren P

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Well I've read your blog this morning & the kettle hasn't even been put on!

I can't do the same time each day, since I have different things to do each day.

I ought to get into the blogging habit I suppose, but why? who is it for? Am I self-promoting, informing, persuading or keeping a diary of mundane crap? Probably the latter knowing me..... surprise big grin

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Good questions. To avoid the 'mundane crap' ask yourself what will I remember about today? As a teenager I had one of those Five Year diaries without five lines to fill and too often 'got up, fed the rabbit, saw Gran etc:' was my lot. There's normally something on the radio, tv or news or in your life that would 'bring it all back'. But that's a dairy and a diary is a very different beast. The 'learning journal' is at least a private portfolio where you put notes, grabs and links. Tag and title. Keep for a rainy day. I stack up such posts over the weeks then close to a TMA I go back and tag the useful stuff with such notes as H808tma1, or H800ema. It's a starting point. Whatever my mood I will do each activity and usually stick in online, if only to the Open University. This works be- st when others on the course are doing the same. Comments from them and very much so from students on other courses all helps the thinking. I am corrected. Pointed in a new direction. This record becomes more valuable, personally, as the months past. A student blog is primarily written for yourself. Get into the habit of commenting on other blogs and the relationship is generally reciprocal. I'm in touch with fellow travellers over the last three years who blog on Wordpress or Blogger. I'm in touch with one fellow blogger from 2000-2002 who has published 8 novels since 2006 - we were a 'writer's group' in those early years. This is a conversation, albiet an asynchronous one. Knowledge and understanding builds from it. Defining a blog these days though is very tricky 'electronic paper' is the best description I've heard. Just an easy place to put anything: pics, video, notes. I just about only now blog when it is learning related. So the 'diary' days are long gone. You keep a diary and you're potentially, or certainly, and unfairly, writing about other people.
Picture of Daniel Bick

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Would you say there's a difference between a student blog and a Wordpress blog?

 

Picture of Bren P

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Hmm, see the problem with me is that I'm generally too lazy! I skip activities and coast through modules. I'm really lucky that I can do that & still gain good marks. Well, maybe not with my current module as I haven't really engaged with the subject matter - not sure why.

I have started a commentary about my just-started voyage through the SEN tribunal process, but not so much happens on a day-to-day basis with that.

I accept - it would do me the world of good to start blogging about E801, maybe my enthusiasm for it would improve....

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I can't say it necessarily helps with grades - that's another matter. I was overwhelmed by trying to aggregate everything to form an assignment bottom up ... editing 16000 words down to 2000 doesn't work. So rather, plan, layout, treatment, then use the blog to check ideas, find references and to incorporate comments.

My first blog was in Diaryland in 1999. Still a watershed platform. It all happened there first! Some, exactly like Twitter, only ever posted a sentence at a time. Some of us had guidelines for our group - 250 words, every day. First target 100 days, then a year. etc: As if a blog were a diary. Even my diaries had greater flexibility built into them than this. However, the value accrues by putting in something every day. If you don't like words try BlipFoto - Martin Weller (OU Prof did this for a year 2011/2012 for example). I had a bash but kept forgetting ... or didn't think there was anything worth taking a picture of!

 

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More on blogging here
Design Museum

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And my Blipfoto here. I stopped because I couldn't see the value. A day is more than a single snap. Some days have much, some nothing. I prefer Picasa Web where I could share some 3000 pics and grabs. This is my gallery for ALL images both for this OU student blog and for my WordPress blog, as well as use in Google+.

WordPress adds all kinds of bells and whistles that you don't get here. They are different. I recommend use of both. I even use the 'private' setting here as first draft content, just getting stuff down that I may share once I've given it some more thought. Or not. I tag anyway.

Tagging is at the heart of it. You need to be able to find stuff.

WordPress is very easy to get started. It's the one I have taught in workshops. You can have a title and write you first page in minutes. Then you can gradually fix stuff as you settle down.

Here's a tough call - don't expect to be read until you have 100 pages unless you have a unique niche, an exclusive view and a 'readership' you can call up from your own student database - if you're an educator.

Oh, and YouTube, Just do video.

And Tumblr, Flickr and Pinterest for images.

Not forgetting Stumbleupon.

Oh yes, and Facebook, and Twitter ....

And LinkedIn Groups.

 

 

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I'm adding this here as I'll come back at some stage and turn this into a longer post or chapter.

Take this morning. I have an hour to read and review a paper written by Diana Laurillard on the testing of learning technologies. The paper has to be retrieved from a web backlog tool from 1994 on lacks a diagram she describes. I know of too such diagrams that place learning and technology in context - one shared by our tutor Dr Janet Gray in h800 2 years ago and another I created myself three years ago in H807. Both are 'grabs' in my PicasaWeb Gallery online. The Janet Gray item is referenced with a link that somehow even opens a two year old module page. The second diagram I have the reference details for Elliot. B (2008) i.e. the author whose writing I chose to illustrate. No joy at all with the OU Library, or directely with SCRIBD where the paper is held. So I turn to my OU Blog/portfolio. I put 'Elliot B' into the search and get four posts to this blog. One, posted on 2 February 2010 gives me the context, my views at the time and a dozen references including this one. As I was getting into the habit of putting in references FOR MY SAKE I can now go directly to the article. I believe because I have worked with this paper before, even three years ago, that my relationship with it, the ties, the thougths and issues, are more easily accessed. It is a metaphor, but it's as if a dry seed has been nourished.