blogs, Reflections

2014: My Blog in Review

The WordPress.com stats helper monkeys prepared a 2014 annual report for this blog. Since WP put in the effort, I thought I would review my stats from the year — seems like the annual thing to do and all.

Here’s an excerpt:

The concert hall at the Sydney Opera House holds 2,700 people. This blog was viewed about 22,000 times in 2014. If it were a concert at Sydney Opera House, it would take about 8 sold-out performances for that many people to see it.

Who Views

No surprise that America is my biggest audience — as that is where I live. I wonder how US-centric WordPress is in general, and how that impacts those who blog, write, share, and produce content here. I’ve been pondering content sharing online since that talk Laura Czerniewicz (@Czernie) gave on visibility and presence in scholarship in #scholar14.

“Some of your most popular posts were written before 2014. Your writing has staying power! Consider writing about those topics again.”

Maybe I was more interesting from 2010-2013? Or at least my post topics or titles were. Based on my click view stats from this year, compared to the last few years, my overall readership has decreased. Then again, it looks like I posted 48 blog posts total, which is down from from 59 post in 2013 and 62 posts in 2012. Perhaps I was a tad busy writing other things in 2014 (*ahem* Dissertation *cough*). It is no wonder why a number of readers decided to look back into the archives of this blog – top 5 hits included:

I am not concerned. I started and continue to blog to share ideas, reflect on learning and put a few things out there with regards to my own teaching, service and research scholarship. I blog for myself, and the community of practice who shares similar sentiments and values. It’s quality not quantity, right? I am honored to have a number of new followers and loyal subscribers from my PLN who read, respond, and engage.

Top Commenters for 2014

I’d much prefer to get comments and thoughts shared on posts then just click views any day. Plus you never know what a blog post might lead to. Often it has been a new connection, collaborative writing, and even research fun – OH MY! {Yes – this even includes random meet ups and spontaneous dance/beach parties. True story.} Beyond my blog reflections, is where the real networked magic happens. These posts are really just a springboard to more learning, fun, and research.

If you care to learn more about the TechKNOW Tools stats from 2014, feel free to click here to see the complete report. Thanks to the many social platform links and even a shout out to Josie for referrals here. Happy blogging to all in 2015! Blog on.

p.s. Why the heck would I want to use the new WP editor? I much prefer the classic wp-admin mode ANY day for my blogging experience. Seriously.

blogs, Reflections

TechKNOW Tool 2013 – Blog Posts In Review

In the process of auditing my social media and web life, I thought I’d take a gander at what I blogged about in 2013. What the heck was I reflecting and sharing in 2013?

Screen Shot 2013-12-20 at 8.26.57 AM

Photo from  marsmettnn tallahase on Flickr

TechKNOW Tools received a number of views on older blog posts; however the key themes that were clicked on for 2013 included: academic writing, research gathering, teaching support, role transition, job search/application, conference sharing, learning design, and social media auditing.

Thanks for reading, and following along. I’ll be sure to share more in 2014. 🙂

Title

 

Digital Clean Up: Social Media Audit & How Not to Be Hacked
Lucky 13: Top Blog Post Views for Summer 2013
The PhD: Troubles Talk… and Moan… and So On
Using Verbs for Specific Learning Outcomes
Supporting Student Success at #UFTL13
#EDUSprint 1: Beyond MOOCs – IT as a Force of Change
Do You Have Social Media Goals?
The Dissertation Proposal. #phdchat
Your Higher Ed Website + Search: “Social Media Guidelines” or “Social Media Policy” = A Database for My Dissertation Research
Help My #ugstSTORY Class Tell Their Story
Gathering #SocialMedia Guidelines from Higher Education #SoMe #edusomedia #highered
#SXSWedu Panel: Social Media in Higher Ed – Where Are We Going? #smHE
#AdvTech at #nacada13…More Than Just a Hashtag!
#AcWriMo In Review: My Output
#AcWriMo & Accountability to Write
#AcWriMo Peer Pressure: Time, Challenge/Support & Cheerleaders
My #AcWriMo Goals for November
I’m “On the [Job] Market”: The Application Process
Passing the Torch: Leadership Transition in Our Professional Organizations
The Vitae: Brewing Academic Experience for Your CV
blogs

HOW TO: Set Up A WordPress Blog


  1. Go to WordPress (WP) http://wordpress.com/; Here’s the Get Started guide from WP for further help: http://learn.wordpress.com/get-started/
  2. Click on the “Sign Up for Free” blue button in the middle of the page.
  3. Select and enter: blog name, username, email & log-in information. Consider a name that you will want to use & share for your blog.
  4. Click the “Create Blog” Button for your FREE WP Blog
  5. Go to the email address you entered to Activate your blog
  6. Choose a starter theme for your blog. Be sure to click the “Show More Themes” button at the bottom & select a FREE theme
  7. To update your blog log into the wordpress.com website OR go to YourBlogName.wordpress.com/wp-admin & sign in
  8. Go to your WP Blog Dashboard to set up and personalize your blog & check out http://learn.wordpress.com/ to customize

Resources:
What is a Blog? via @ProBlogger
How to Blog: Blogging Tips for Beginners via @ProBlogger
Warning: Do You Recognize These 21 Blogging Mistakes? via @ProBlogger
Blogging as literacy via Steve Wheeler (@timbuckteeth)
WP Tutorials http://wordpress.tv/
85 wordpress plugins for blogging journalists | Online Journalism Blog
12 Must-Do Tasks for the New WordPress Site Owner | Copyblogger

blogs, Learning Community, Open Education, Reflections

Education Bloggers Research – My Blog Survey

After reading @mweller ‘s blog survey for Alice Bell’s research on education bloggers, I thought that I might as well contribute to the study since I sometimes write about education, learning, and the likes here on TechKNOW Tools. From the post from Alice, it looks as though she will collect responses via e-mail (edubloggingstudy@gmail.com) or via your own blog (so you can share responses with your readers) – and send her the link. If you’re an education blogger, perhaps you too should contribute to the research. All responses are due by by the 15th of June. This sounds interesting and useful – I look forward to hearing about the analysis, but for now here is my blog survey…

Blog URL: techknowtools.wordpress.com 

What do you blog about? Learning networks & environments, academic advising, educational technology, higher education, doctoral stuff, research and writing, training and development, instructional pedagogy & design, social web & open access, podcasting, student affairs, and then some.

Are you paid to blog? No. Only in digital high fives and thanks.

What do you do professionally (other than blog)? Academic Counselor/Instructor & Doctoral Student

How long have you been blogging at this site? Since October 23, 2008 [say my WP Sitestats].

Do you write in other platforms? (e.g. in a print magazine?) I have published book chapters, academic papers, peer-reviewed journal publications, conference papers and proceedings, other blog contributions (like BreakDrink.com and personal blog), and online magazine contributions.

Can you remember why you started blogging? I started blogging personally in 2006 when I was working and travelling around to different countries (on another blogging website); and I started to blog here after reading a number of educational and learning blogs. This blog was created  as a space to share ideas and resources for a NACADA Technology Seminar learning community back in February 2009 – my friend Eric Stoller suggested I try out WordPress since I was using Blogger for my personal blog.  This blog soon evolved into a space where I curated content around what I was reading, writing, researching, or working on related to learning technologies and other issues related in education and training development.

What keeps you blogging? I enjoy it. My academic background in history and education might take some of the credit for blogging. I use my blog to reflect and think about things. It is also a great space to archive, document and curate what I am up to and what I am learning or reading about.  Now blogging is just part of my regular routine. I like starting the conversation here, sharing it in my networks and then learning what others think.

Do you have any idea of the size or character if your audience? How? My Google Feedburner says I have 61 subscribers & Sitestats says I have 29 follows on WP with 115,072 views from 49 countries. I might consider using Google Analytics to track this better in the future, but at the end of the day I think I blog for me than my audience. My audience is composed of higher education professionals, faculty, teachers and instructors from fields in training and development, marketing, management, technology, and education.

What’s your attitude to/ relationship with people who comment on your blog? Typically I have seen more shares of my blog posts on Twitter and Facebook. I have a great network and community that often engage on there more than here. Although the traffic and views are outside WP, I do appreciate and I am delighted to receive a blog comments on here from time to time (Thanks!). I would say that I have better relationships and interactions with those who comment “off the blog.” Some of my blogging prompts shared dialogues on other networks or with other peers who share similar interests.

Do you feel as if you fit into any particular community, network or genre of blogging? (e.g. schools, science, education, museums, technology) Sort of? I think technology and  learning – but I have been known to dive into training and development, organizational management, and higher education due to the nature of my academic program/professional interests.

If so, what does that community give you? I think this community is like the “Office Water Cooler” I have always wanted. It’s a great place to catch up, share interesting news, find out about new resources, swap great ideas, and stay in touch with my personal learning network.

What do you think are the advantages of blogging? What are its disadvantages/ limitations? I shared my thoughts in the “What Prompts You To Blog?” post last month => https://techknowtools.wordpress.com/2012/05/04/what-prompts-you-to-blog/

I think blogging has supported my digital scholarship as a transparent and open researcher and writer. There could be limitations to this, as I often share ideas and references before the referred journal article is published and there is that possibility that others could “borrow” it. The other challenge I can see is the need to publish or perish to make it through the academic ranks for jobs and tenure. Although my writing style is more informal and offers a variety of structure I do enjoy the practice of writing and processes what I am writing. Unfortunately blogging does not equate a journal article and I am aware of the need to contribute to traditional publications and peer-reviewed work to support my career path in academia.

Do you tell people you know offline that you’re a blogger? (e.g. your grandmother, your boss) I think most of my offline (i.e. not in social networks) family or friends know that I “do stuff with technology” and most have some idea of what a blog is. I share the odd blog post with a limited number folks who are not exposed to this blog regularly  (like my boss & parents) if there is a topic something that might interest them. I use another blog and a Flickr account to share more of my “life happenings” so my friends and family are not bored with any of my geek/nerd ramblings on this blog.

Is there anything else you want to tell me about I haven’t asked? I think you have covered most. Good luck with your research! I look forward to hearing how it goes. 🙂

blogs, PhD, Professional Development, Reflections

What Prompts You To Blog?

Blog prompts are all around me. I started blogging in 2006 to share travel tales and I continued to blog to tell a different story and share my academic journey and musings. I typically blog to share ideas, research, and reflect on what I’m doing, learning, or experiencing – at least on this blog space.

Image c/o <http://www.weblogcartoons.com/cartoons/sifting-through-ideas.gif>

Sometimes my blog ideas get filtered. I don’t always have time to write these thoughts out, so I often have to save this blog-worthy idea for later in my Delicious account, a WP draft post, or, most commonly, in WP, in a Gmail draft or Google Doc. During the crunch time of year, when all academic and professional deadlines seem to merge, my attention tends to drift. I find myself looking for interesting things to read and I seem to be more inspired to write blogs. I consider this digression to be a form of “productive procrastination.”

Inspired by the blog post from @InnovativeEdu, I thought I would share where I get my blog ideas from and what prompts me to blog:

  1. My regular online reading locations – I typically check my Google Reader, Twitter streams/hashtags, Google Alerts, social feeds, Percolate, and regular listservs/news feeds first thing in the morning. Sometimes there is a gem that I want to talk about in greater detail than just sharing it in a 140 tweet.
  2. Things I have to read “for school” – I am sure that no one is shocked to learn that you consume a hefty amount of reading while you’re a doctoral student. Beyond the “required reading” for class, I also stumble upon other finds when researching, compiling articles for my literature review and writing articles. Blogging helps me annotate and remember these theories, articles, and references in a synthesized portion to recall and use later.
  3. From conversations with peers & my PLN – I am fortunate to interact with a number of thoughtful and challenging peers on Facebook, Twitter, G-Chat, my campus, LinkedIn, Skype, and by phone. At least once a week (usually more often) I am fortunate to dialogue about something that makes me think and I want to write about in a blog to share
  4. Great finds for technology, learning ,and engagement I just want to share – Sharing – it was a good lesson I learned in kindergarten and have taken with me along the way.
  5. A photo or video that inspires me – I am a fairly active Flickr user, and  think that there are a great groups and community members that share visual inspirations that create a blogging spark. Lately Instagram, YouTube, Vimeo, and the odd infographic (there are too many of them now) have triggered ideas for blogging projects and shares.
  6. Professional & personal development opportunities – Whether it is a workshop on campus, a webinar online or an open learning session in the community, there are loads of ideas to reflect and bring back to my PLN.
  7. A question or request for advice – Sometimes I get an email, IM or call from individuals who want to talk about an issue or idea. When questions about technology in advising, education challenges, research process, or academic experience advice come up, I think how sharing this information in a blog post could be helpful to others who just have not asked.
  8. A Tweet – 140 characters shared on Twitter from either from me or someone else can inspire a blog draft. A tweet might include a quote, question, argument, Twitter chat, link, or random thought.
  9. Reading other posts & threaded comments – In reading a threaded discussion on someone’s blog, Facebook wall or open discussion in LinkedIn challenges me to consider my own perspective to later process it through a blog post.
  10. My own curiosity – If I want to learn more about a product, tool. vendor, process, or topic, I typically share what I have found on my blog.
  11. Contributions or things I produce – I document things I create for publications, podcasts, and presentations. Part of this is for my doctoral portfolio (ATPI is similar to the ECMP portfolio requirements, so I try to archive my work/experiences) and the other part is to share training and learning sessions. Why not put these ideas out there to extend to the audience that could not attend?
  12. Writing, writing and MORE writing – I write regularly. I started using 750words to keep me writing regularly to keep me writing. This activity helps weave my thoughts and develop new ones. Continuous writing allows me to practice my craft and improve how and what I write about.
  13. Cultivation of resources – My research interests vary and are interdisciplinary, so I collect a load of  resources – this could also be a direct result of #1, 2, 4, 6, & 8. Blogging helps me to  connect and process my thoughts to share with peers in these academic and professional fields.

I am sure there are other reasons, but those were the first few that came to my head. So the question for you is… what prompts YOU to blog? Please share. 

blogs, Learning Technologies, Reflections

I Tumblr For You… To Reflect.

The Fall semester has been kicked into full swing. I like the smell of a fresh class schedule, used textbooks and new beginnings in the air. This semester I am making a transition to a new job with the Office of Exploring Majors in the Undergraduate Studies department at UNT. This is a new(ish) office on campus that was formed to help support undecided and undeclared majors at the University of North Texas. My new gig (that officially starts tomorrow) is working with these “undecided” students to help support effective academic/life transition into university and explore major/career options.

With this new role, I am instructing a section of the UCRS 1000 – First Year Seminar for Major/Career Exploration. I have been fortunate to teach similar course curriculum at Niagara University and Miami University, so I thought I would take a different spin on student reflections and processing of the various course themes.

I am a fan of blogging as a form of reflection, ideas sharing and document of experiences. I have been blogging with WordPress and Blogger for quite some time. I think that blogs are great spaces for learners to share and archive their transition and exploration in the first semester. For this course, I have decided to explore Tumblr as a blogging platform.

Since Tumblr has been ranked higher than my fav WP blogging engine, I thought it would be best for me to test out this favored space for blogging. I thought the UCRS 1000 course would be a great opportunity to learn (for myself and many of my students) how to use Tumblr and share reflections. In previous posts, I have shared with my thoughts on how digital literacy is lacking among our undergraduate students — so why not model & use an online tool with purpose to learn?

Start Tumblin’

Here are a few resources I have used to set the students and instructors up for success when implementing Tumblr into an learning curriculum: 

1. Create your OWN Tumblr account. Play and explore with the blogging platform FIRST. Make it your own. Learn how to use it before you decide you want to use it for a class. Post videos, images, texts, and follow others online.

2. Set up a “go to” class Tumblr Blog. This will be a space for general class announcements, information, resources and model your blogging expectation for your learners. Here is the blog I created for my class this Fall semester: http://ucrs1000atunt.tumblr.com/ 

3. Outline and post a step-by-step approach that is simple & easy to follow both online on the class  Tumblr blog AND in your course syllabus, for example: HOW TO: Create A Tumblr Blog for UCRS 1000 (Thanks to the folks at MakeUseOf for their “how to” ideas for Tumblr http://bit.ly/oy8Ts9)

4. Provide students with insider tips for Tumblr that will be RELEVANT for the class objectives:

  • Follow a blog or two: Encourage the class to “follow” the primary class blog; ask students their preference for sharing and following other Tumblr blogs with their peers
  • Uploading a photo: need to find an online JPG or other photos form website sources
  • Privacy: create a primary Tumblr and then a 2nd Tumblr blog for the class if they want to keep it private (but give the instructor a password so they can read posts)
  • Tumblr suggestions:  there are many that are suggested, but let learners know they are NOT required to do this
  • Dashboard: When logged into Tumblr you will always return you to the Dashboard view; which is good since this is where text, photos, videos, quotes, etc will be posted and where you can read other blogs that are being followed

5. Academic Expectations: Detail your expectations and purpose for the Tumblr blog posts. Learners need to understand the WHY they are blogging and what you hope they will get out of it for the class. Also detail the specifics of what you require for your each blog post. For example, I told students that images, videos or quotes are welcome since it is a blog; however they are required to include a minimum of 600 words that address each assigned  blog topic. Suggest that students draft blog posts in Word document or a text editor before posting online to check for spelling, grammar & proper sentence structure. 

6. Follow and/or Bundle: It is easy to “follow” your student back on Tumblr in order to read and learn what they are reflecting about over the semester; however I have found it easier to group the Tumblr blog URLs into a single Google Bundle on my Google Reader (since that’s where I read blogs, news and other updates on a regular basis). These bundles are easy to share with other instructors, TA’s or students in the class as well. 


I will keep Tumblin’ along this semester, and keep you posted on how this learning experience goes. Do you use Tumblr for learning or teaching? If so, please share your tips, thoughts & experiences.
AcAdv, blogs, Micro-Blogs, Photo Sharing, Social Media, web 2.0

Engaging & Communicating with Students Online – Advising 2.0

To be an effective Academic Advisor and Student Affair professional, it is important to engage with your students. Social media and web 2.0 are just a couple of ways to start to share, collaborate and connect with learners. Online communication with our college & university students is one of the first few ways they learn about our resources and services. What does YOUR digital identity (office, department or personal) say about YOU?

Here are a the slides & resources from today’s Innovative Educators webinar – Advising 2.0: Engaging & Communicating with Students Online. I was fortunate to be able to present with @oakvich from the UNLV Academic Success Center, who has some excellent expertise in social media & student success initiatives.

This is the first of 3 webinars for IE’s Advising Technology series. If you are interested in this, stay tuned for more resources for the following upcoming sessions: