I just sent a message to my colleagues in my local Connected Courses cohort, and I thought I might copy a chunk of it publicly. I thought it might help people if I laid out some thoughts about getting a blog set up. Not that there’s a lot here that isn’t already in the pre-course Blog Talk and Getting Started documentation, but I wanted to put my spin on it for folks who know me. I’ve heard from a couple of people who are doing face-to-face cohorts, so I’d love to know how much this look like what you’re doing.
Some media was added in the transition from email to blog…
Wait, did you say Blog?
Yes, one of the ways to participate in the course is to set up your own blog and link it into the Connected Courses blog flow
. (At this point, most of the blog flow is people saying hello, but there are posts with more meat to them as well.) I think it’s worthwhile for all of us to do this. If we’re imagining courses where we ask students to work in public and co-learn with strangers, it would be good to have some of that experience ourselves.
That said, there have also been good conversations about learning through lurking, so if you’re not ready, there are valid ways for you to just participate in our local conversations.
The first thing you need, to get set up with a blog, is a snappy name. This is your presence online, so of course you can go with some version of “My Name Is…”, but a trip through the blog flow will also show names which are aspirational, disciplinary, humorous, all of the above.
There are a couple of options for blog hosting, and they can seem daunting, so let me make some suggestions. Also know that, whichever you choose, I’m happy to help you get it set up.
1) Blogger. Because Kenyon is a Google Apps school, you can log in to https://www.blogger.com/
with the same username and password you use for email. I ran a Blogger blog about 7 years ago, and it’s very easy to use. (My skills are rusty, but I have looked at Blogger occasionally since then.)
If the choice seems daunting, my suggestion is to go with Blogger just so you don’t have to remember another password.
(You can also stop here.)
2) Other free solutions. You can use Connected Courses as the excuse to try out something you’ve heard of but never used. Also remember that there’s no penalty for choosing wrong; if you go down this route and get annoyed, you can abandon it and pick a new tool.
You can get a free WordPress blog at http://wordpress.com
; it’s a popular platform and it happens to be the one I’m using. It is, to my eyes, more powerful and therefore more complicated than Blogger. Some people are using Tumblr athttp://tumblr.com
. To my mind, Tumblr rewards shorter writing more than longer writing, and “liking” and “sharing” posts more than commenting on them. It’s not what I’d pick for a course, but I think we’ll see successful examples during the year. If you’ve heard of something else like Weebly
, that’s also an option.
In part, this is a decision about owning my own tools. I have more power over my publishing platform because I pay for it and I run it. It’s also because I’m a geek and I wanted to see if I can do it. It’s also about owning my own space, and not simply trading my writing for free hosting. So a little personal, a little professional, a little geeky. (OK, a lot geeky.)
Holler out if you want to talk about the decision. And once you’ve made it, share your address with everyone else. I’d like to try to set up a hub for our blogs
, so we can find each others amidst the larger conversation.
Hope you’re settling into the semester!