Over the next few weeks I am taking part in an online course run by SEDA – ‘Developing the Developer.’ The first weeks activities have included general introductions and more focused discussions about planning an ‘event’. The sessions have got me thinking about how I go about planning – I love planning – have lots of ideas get inspired but then the reality of putting it all together sets in and I can get carried away! 🙂
The Seda session got us thinking about the different stages involved in the planning process and enabled me to reflect on what I have done previously when organising conferences, workshops, seminars, presentations etc. It also re-enforced the linkage between planning, implementing and evaluating when considering ideas for future events.
What was interesting was the discussions about the different levels of purpose for each event and how you can evaluate these outcomes. The core course book recommended that we should consider the different levels of purpose including:
- Stimulate/ re-energise staff
- Learn new information about teaching and learning
- Change behaviors/ attitudes towards teaching and learning (Long-term goal)
- Make an impact on the organisation/ student learning over time (Long-term goal)
These different purposes got me thinking a) whether they are always relevant but also b) how do we go about capturing whether or not the objectives have been met? With the longer term goals what sort of study/ survey etc. would capture this?
Another area that I got thinking about from looking at the literature was how we promote the events and make it relevant/ accessible to potential participants. With lots of exciting projects in the pipeline this is an area I need to give more thought to over the next few weeks. So day 1 of the course has been very insightful and inspiring – lots to think about and more questions to be considered over the next few weeks.
Earlier this summer I worked together with a colleague from the Communication Office on developing and running a half-day workshop on blogging – why do people blog? What do we need to consider when blogging?
Photo by anniemole, available under a Creative Commons Attribution 2.0 Generic (CC BY 2.0) license.
The aim of the session was to be interactive – we experimented using open-space learning techniques to engage participants in discussions and debate about blogging. The session was also supported with a number of on-line resources and discussions that provide more of an insight into issues people face when blogging and advice for people new to blogging. These include a Why blog?blog and a Why Blog? resource bank.
Staff from a variety of different backgrounds and blogging experiences attended and we had some very interesting debates around the opportunities and challenges that blogging presented. It was really interesting to hear about the different types of blogs that exist – why people felt that they should blog and what people thought about existing blogs.
For me – there are a number of obstacles to blogging – perhaps the most challenging one is time. As is demonstrated with this blog – I start out with good intentions – time goes by and I have only attempted several posts. I am also aware of the benefits of blogging – previously I kept a blog for my chartership although only a handful of people had access to the posts – over two years I built up a really valuable collection of reflections and was able to chart my professional development – it enabled me to write my portfolio easily. When I decided to start a blog and open it up to the world I think I lost my focus a little. I worried about the content – and what people may think spending too long considering how I was going to say something and therefore blogging no longer became something simple and quick.
Through developing the session with Amy – a very active blogger I started to rethink the way I have dealt with blogging in the past and see the real benefits this process can have. Following my own advice I need to do the following things:
- Identify the purpose of my blog
- Keep the posts short
- Post regularly (get scheduling)
- Promote my blog (through social media etc.)
- Enjoy blogging.