Blogging as Scholarly Practice

Note: Much of this is discussed in a recent podcast I did with the Research in Action team at Oregon State University.

Like many at faculty retreat, I was inspired by Chris Gehrz's call to blogging as a form of preargument scholarship and including the community in the process of research and knowledge development.  I actually started my higher education career in 2010 as a blogger; I was working as a technology administrator at a K-12 school and was using my blog as a way to keep me honest about my scholarly reading while regaining my formal writing chops.

In 2012 I began my dissertation research and moved my blogging directly to my dissertation topic of MOOCs.  All MOOCs, All the Time was an opportunity to engage an emergent topic and technology, and because this was a recent phenomenon there was a niche to fill.  I read articles and posted basic summaries and reviews, and then put them into context with a larger picture of higher education.  At this point I had left K-12 and was fully focused on the field of higher education, and this was my foray into the topic.  I built the site on WordPress based on the ease of use, and started to use a long-forgotten Twitter account to share my writing.  Again, the focus was to be honest about my literature review while practicing a more formal writing.

For the first nine months of my blog, readership was minimal, mostly consisting of my doctoral cohort and my advisory committee.  This was fine, as the goal here was not to drive traffic but to make my scholarship public.  Then I happened to write a review of a seminal article in the field of educational technology by George Siemens about Connectivism & Connective Knowledge.  I was debating whether connectivism was in and of itself a learning theory or rather a form of digital pedagogy. George found my blog somehow and retweeted it to his following of at the time 10,000 scholars.  Within an hour over 1,000 people had read my blog, my Twitter followers had doubled, and blogs I had written months before were being read and commented upon.

From there it did not stop.  My MOOC blog became a resource for scholars.  (Note: if you haven't found it, that's okay - the MOOC movement was a flash in the pan from 2012 to 2014, I hit a jackpot with my dissertation topic and finished before I lost it all!) I was contacted by news organizations to provide feedback and commentary on the changing landscape of education. My blog was voted one of the 50 Best Educational Technology blogs by EdTech Magazine.  All of this was accidental; a project I started so I would have notes on my dissertation lit review was suddenly one of the five go-to resources on the MOOC movement.

I quickly went over all of my blogs for punctuation and syntax =)

Fast forward five years:  I am an invited speaker, a conference keynote, a chapter and journal author and (fingers crossed) a book author.  I got my degree, had a successful consulting practice, and found a wonderful community in Seattle Pacific to practice my trade, first in Educational Technology and now in Academic Innovation.  And in the midst of all that busy I lost track of the blogging, the thing which catalyzed the movement in the first place.

This blog is a commitment to sharing scholarship on innovation - a resource for faculty on emergent topics but also for scholars on just what academic innovation entails.  I will write it forward-facing, for others to read, but I will also write it as my own call, as my responsibility as a professor and a scholar who wants to show the process of working, the preamble and pre argument.

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