Blogging in Academia

An Instructional Technologist will be dropping in on the blog every now and then to provide faculty with tips and tricks for using technology for teaching!

David Scozzaro is the manager of Instructional Technology here at LMU, and this week he wrote about the advantages academics can take advantage of by blogging.

There’s an Instructional Technologist embedded in every college and school here at LMU, and they also work together to staff the Faculty Innovation Center on Level 3 of the William H. Hannon Library—they’re always happy to help you integrate technology into your teaching. And now, on with the blog!

blogging-academia

I would like to build upon last week’s blog post from Jeff Schwartz, our new Instructional Technologist in the College of Business Administration. Jeff provided some poignant arguments as to why Academics should blog. Establishing authority, building rapport, creating opportunities and attracting an audience all sound like solid professional goals for any Academic.
At this point, however, it looks like as if academia is not taking advantage of the opportunities that blogging provides of bringing our intellectual and creative endeavors to the the mainstream. Although self-admittedly limited, a study by Pat Thompson, the Director of the Centre for Advanced Studies at the University of Nottingham has shown that we are not blogging for lofty professional goals, but rather, blogging about academia to the rest of us in the Ivory Tower. According to her study, 41% of academic blogs she researched were cultural critiques of life in an academic setting, with another 40% dedicated to the trials and tribulations of conducting research today. Combined with the other topics that emerged in her studied, well over 80% of blogs focused on the daily life of academia. Granted, if she searched more deeply along the lines of discipline, she would have likely found more blogs written by Academics about particular subjects; but asking her to do that would be like asking her to research the whole internet… and without any funds to do it.
So what can we take away from her study? My argument would be better marketing. Showing yourself off as an expert who comes from academia that can connect with practically anybody who has an internet-connected device is key. Balancing status, authority, and humility is always tough, but a worthwhile goal to gain traction. Keeping an open dialogue with commenters is probably the best way to achieve this. With so much information available at our fingertips (thanks Google), it is easy to mesh facts and opinions, even for the best of us. Keep your responses to wild opinions or improper facts civil and ask that your commenters do the same. Ultimately, most of us are looking to make this world a better place, and sometimes we disagree on how that needs to take place. I think we can all agree that being constructive and working together is a much better route to getting there than simply slinging mud.
Another thing to do is start small. Twitter is a great micro-blogging platform. It is a wonderful place to spurn thought, generate conversation, and drive people to deeper discussions on a more formal blogging platform like WordPress or Blogger. One of the toughest things to do when starting up a blog is gain followers. Twitter is a low-cost method for people to start broadening their horizons in 140 characters. With over 600 million users, there is certainly no shortage of potential audience members.
Blogging is about sharing ideas, thoughts, and opinions. If you are looking to publish, this may not be the platform. If you are looking to start generating ideas and writing early drafts for your next great published work, blogging can be a powerful win-win for you and your readers.

Tech Training Tuesday: Online Portfolio

online portfolio

Have ever wanted to start an online portfolio on your work? Or maybe you already have one, but want to improve it. Learn how to build an advanced portfolio site that showcases various types of content using the free open-source application WordPress. Author Morten Rand-Hendriksen demonstrates creating custom post types, differentiating and classifying content with custom taxonomies, and working with custom post templates. The course also shows how to embed YouTube videos, build index pages, display the latest posts from different custom post types, and hook custom post types into separate themes. Exercise files accompany with the course.

Topics include:

  • Exploring online portfolios
  • Creating the site architecture
  • Incorporating advanced custom post type functionalities
  • Hooking a custom taxonomy to a post type
  • Understanding how hierarchy relates to taxonomies
  • Populating content into custom post types
  • Handling multiple post type templates
  • Displaying a list of links to the latest custom post type posts
  • Building static pages for the front and the blog
  • Creating a contact page with a contact form

HOW TO LOGIN:

  1. Go to mylmu.edu and log in using your LMU credentials.
  2. Click on the “Systems Login” menu.
  3. Scroll down and click on “lynda.com (online training library)”
  4. Click on the “Start Now” button and you will be redirected to lynda.com.
  5. Once you are logged in to lynda.com, click the screenshot at the    top of this post and you will be redirected to the Online Portfolio course!

It’s The Last Week for Survey Responses!!

survey 2

Every year, LMU ITS releases a campus-wide survey to students, faculty, and staff to offer their feedback. Your comments and responses help ITS plan and improve technology all across campus.

Not only will you be helping improve tech here at LMU, you will also have a chance to win some pretty awesome prizes.
ITS is giving away two 16GB iPad mini 2s, six $50 Visa gift cards, and 10 $20 Visa gift cards.

The survey closes THIS Friday on  November 21st.
Check your email for a message from LMU ITS for the link. 

Don’t miss out on your chance to help make LMU better and possibly win some cool prizes!

RECAP: Cool Tech Articles From The Week

Throughout each week, LMU ITS posts a variety of cool and interesting tech articles that are in the current news or on the web.

Here’s a recap of what’s hot in the tech world this week:

Amazon’s Echo Plays Hard to Get

With ‘High Maintenance,’ Vimeo Invests in Original Content

On LinkedIn, a Reference List You Didn’t Write

Facebook Makes Its News Feed a Little Less Frustrating

Obama Urges F.C.C. to Adopt Strict Rules on Net Neutrality

Apple offers former iPhone users way to stop it hijacking their text messages

To Blog or Not To Blog?

An Instructional Technologist will be dropping in on the blog every now and then to provide faculty with tips and tricks for using technology for teaching!

 Jeff Schwartz is our new Instructional Technologist for the College of Business Administration, and this week he wrote about how faculty members can benefit from using blogs outside of the classroom.

There’s an Instructional Technologist embedded in every college and school here at LMU, and they also work together to staff the Faculty Innovation Center on Level 3 of the William H. Hannon Library—they’re always happy to help you integrate technology into your teaching. And now, on with the blog! 

Screen Shot 2014-11-12 at 8.40.16 AM

To Blog or Not to Blog?
Last week, my colleague Nicholas Mattos, shared a few examples of how blogs are being incorporated into classroom instruction here at LMU. Many instructors are currently using the blog tools within MYLMU Connect to create course blogs, individual blogs, and group blogs as both graded assignments and opportunities for students to collaborate and reflect on their learning.

However, the use of blogs in higher education should not be limited to the classroom. In addition to the resources in MYLMU Connect (Blackboard), blogging tools like WordPress, Tumblr, Weebly, and Google Sites can extend the reach of your writings to audiences beyond the confines of our campus community. Increasingly, blogs are becoming important news resources, journaling tools, and community hubs for people with shared interests, as well as powerful promotional tools for professionals and organizations.

As a professional educator, a blog can be a great showcase for your various academic endeavors, a mechanism for establishing yourself publicly as a subject matter expert, and a marketing device aimed at sharing activities and programs developed by yourself, your college, or the university at large. Furthermore, since you are not limited to using text, you can readily incorporate graphics, links to articles, and video and audio clips, thereby creating a personalized “newspaper” of sorts where you serve as the author, editor, and publisher.
Not convinced? Here are seven excellent reasons that you may wish to consider starting your own blog (adapted from an article in the Huffington Post by Michael B. Fishbein):

  1. Attract an Audience

Blogging enables you to reach the billions of people that use the Internet.

  1. Establish Authority

Having a blog and writing about important topics that are relevant to your audience establishes yourself as an authority in the space.

  1. Build Rapport and Engagement

Blogging can provide your students, clients, or customers an additional opportunity to get acquainted with you, your perspectives, and your work.

  1. Create Opportunities

Blogging can lead to greater exposure in your field, generating opportunities such as speaking engagements or press.

  1. Organize Your Thoughts and Learn

Writing and articulating your thoughts is a great way to internalize something you’ve learned or experienced. Writing also helps you become more familiar with the topic you’re writing about.

  1. Tell Your Story

Blogging enables you to be your own media company. You can tell your story the way you want to tell it without being dependent on others.

  1. Meet New People

The audience you attract through blogging doesn’t have to be limited to the LMU community.

Good luck and happy blogging! Please feel free to reach out to your Instructional Technologist if you’d like additional support in launching your blog.

Tech Training Tuesday: LinkedIn

LinkedIn

LinkedIn is a great way to start your career path. Whether you’re looking for a job or just want to connect with other people in your industry, LinkedIn is the place to be. In this Lynda.com course you can learn  how to build a LinkedIn profile that promotes you and your accomplishments, and identify job opportunities, recruit leads, and establish a network with other professionals. Plus, learn how to join and create groups, share content you think will engage your network, and harness the power of search.

Topics include:

  • What makes a LinkedIn profile stand out?
  • Adding work experience and education to your profile
  • Finding and adding contacts
  • Sending messages
  • Sharing status updates and content from the web
  • Asking for, and providing, recommendations
  • Interacting with companies
  • Finding a job on LinkedIn
  • Starting and growing a group
  • Managing your account

HOW TO LOGIN:

  1.    Go to mylmu.edu and log in using your LMU credentials.
  2.    Click on the “Systems Login” menu.
  3.    Scroll down and click on “lynda.com (online training library)”
  4.    Click on the “Start Now” button and you will be redirected to lynda.com.
  5.    Once you are logged in to lynda.com, click the screenshot at the top of this post and you will be redirected to the LinkedIn course!