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From the Archives: On Blogging

It’s probably no accident that we here at ProfHacker have written quite a bit about blogs. Several of us first met (virtually, that is) several years ago through the then-flourishing academic blogosphere; many of us currently maintain personal or professional blogs today; and several of us use blogs in various ways in our teaching.

We believe in blogging’s potential for reaching interested readers, building community, and fostering new kinds of creative collaborations. As a collaborative blog site, ProfHacker itself, both in its earliest form and as it resides here at the Chronicle, is committed to this vision of the medium’s promise and possibilities.

Why we blog
Amy’s discussion of how she got involved with Team ProfHacker and Julie’s discussion of her graduate school experience both demonstrate how academic blogging can facilitate connections outside your own institution, field, or discipline. Nels explains why he presented his blogging as part of his tenure dossier.

Using WordPress
Most of the posts we’ve written about blogging tools focus on WordPress and its many customizable options. Ethan describes how to find themes suitable for academic needs. Julie discusses selecting appropriate plugins and Ethan lists five he can’t live without. Brian explains how to make your WordPress blog Zotero-enabled.

Julie’s post on backing up your website includes information about backing up your WordPress installation. Kathleen recommends using a plugin to automatically back up your WordPress blog, and Mark reminds us in the comments to check to make sure your automated backups are actually functional.

Kathleen also explains how to move your WordPress blog if you change hosting providers.

If you’re managing multiple class blogs, Amy recommends using a blogging client to easily post announcements and updates to several blogs at a time. (Check out her follow up remarks as well.) She also explains why she moved from a single installation of WordPress to WordPress Multi-User.

Teaching with Blogs
One of Julie’s early posts, Integrating, Evaluating, and Managing Blogging in the Classroom usefully highlights the pedagogical issues that instructors need to consider and explain to their students in order for blogging to be a successful element of the course design. Julie and Jeff cowrote an excellent discussion of different approaches to grading student blogs. Mark generously offers his grading rubric as an example and also  describes using a blog audit as a way to get students to reflect upon their own blogging practice. Guest author Derek Bruff describes using blogs for pre-class quizzes and guest author Dave Parry describes why he prefers WordPress to a campus wide Learning Management System.

Reading Blogs
Jason’s Introduction to RSS explains the basics. Amy likes using Google Reader and Julie noted changes to the feed reader landscape. George uses RSS to keep up with a variety of online services.

[Creative Commons licensed image by flickr user turtlemom4bacon]

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