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October 25, 2008  |  Blog class, part 5  |  6893 hit(s)

And as promised last time, the class itself. As I had said at the beginning, we were thinking that the target student:

  • Has some notion of what blogging is, but
  • Has not blogged before, and

  • Wants to start blogging for a job or business (i.e., "in a professional context"), and
  • Wants some guidance on tools and techniques for starting.
And that’s pretty much exactly who we got. A couple of the people in the class read blogs; one guy has blogged before. The rest, tho, met this profile pretty much exactly.

For example, there was a manager from Boeing who was investigating blogging in her group. There was a translator who thought that a blog might be good for her business. A program advisor at school thought blogging might be a way to communicate directly and rapidly with students. A woman who has a business and already has a Web site was scoping out how blogging would enhance that. And some of the people were just curious about blogging in general.

What was great for me was that everyone was more-or-less at the same level (or close enough), and that they brought a variety of interests and questions to the class. For example, one person was particularly interested in the mechanics of a blog site, whereas someone else had lots of questions about legal issues.

I laid out the class in what I suppose is a typical format of lecture-demo-exercise.[1] As I said, I wanted there to be as much interactive work in the class as possible. Here’s a sampling of what we did.And of course I blathered on -- about blog planning, writing, mechanics, design, topics and content, feeds, aggregators, comments, linking, ethics, legal issues, measuring success (analytics), and whatever else came up. And showed more examples for as many things as I could.

All in all, I enjoyed the class. Such comments as I got were positive, so I think that the class in general is on the right track. I'm going to tweak some of the exercises -- as one example, rather than asking people to set up their own blogs, I'll just have a blog already that they can (if they don't mind) write an entry in.

I continue to get ideas, and people have sent me some additional material that I can slot nicely into the class. I would welcome ideas from anyone, actually, so if you have any thoughts about content, exercises, themes, discssion points, or whatever for a class like this, please send them.[2]

Thus endeth the story of the blog class. For now. If you want to read the other posts in order, here they are:

Blog class, Part 1: Class proposal
Blog class, Part 2: Syllabus
Blog class, Part 3: Contradictory advice
Blog class, Part 4: Getting information from the commmunity

PS The title of this entry originally was wrong (it said part 6 instead of part 5), so I changed it. If you saw that and are wondering what happened to part 6, there isn't one -- just a little sequencing error on my part. Sorry about that.

[1] Not quite the Watch One -- Do One -- Teach One approach of medical school. :-)

[2] I am scrupulous about crediting people both for using their blogs in class and for any information I've gleaned from them.

Working Girl   25 Oct 08 - 12:57 PM

Hi Mike,

Thanks for the mention and link.

I could add that one of the main reasons I started a blog was to get a higher Google ranking on my name. Part of my problem is that I have a pretty common name and so if people googled me they would get all those other "Karen Burns" out there!

But after only 8 months of blogging I worked myself up to number one on Google for the search term "Karen Burns." Not bad.

The blog was also helpful to me in getting my book contract, in that when prospective publishers (contacted by my agent) researched me they found my blog and that made me seem more "real."