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. 

Learning Community, NACADA Tech Seminar 2009

Projects & Ideas from Laura’s Learning Community

Great first meeting with the Learning Community (LC)! It sounds like many of you have different ideas, goals & reasons to attend. I hope that you are able to connect with others in our LC to brainstorm & share ideas on what sort of technologies you might take back to your home campuses. Here are a few that were mentioned from our first LC Session:

  • Contact & connect with more students
  • Retention & recruitment
  • Orientation & First Year students
  • First Generation students & limited web value
  • Grants (Title 3) & deciding how to best utilize resources/plans
  • Student Readiness Inventory
  • Online Advising Booking System & Database
  • Optimize limited resources due to fiscal cut backs
  • Adult online education programs
  • Online university models & online advising
  • Web-based surveys
  • Geography & isolation – need to connect
  • Degree audit programs
  • Technical support & talking to IT
  • Limited internet connection & experience (the students)
  • Costs of implementation

PHEW! Those are just a few, and I am sure that more will arise from our LC discussions. Please post any questions or discussion topics that you would like to address below. See you at 4:30 pm!