- Be able to use hyperlinks and upload images
- Be able to discuss what makes a ‘good’ post
- Be able to discuss why commenting on other people’s blogs is important and enable people to comment on your blog
What we achieved
- Talked a little bit more about how a blog looks, including it's title and tag line.
- Discussed how blogging is more than just writing a series of posts - blogging is about getting out and communicating on other people's blogs. This is how conversations get going and how you attract people back to your blog.
- Discussed how easy we have made it for people to comment on our blogs - the pros and cons of moderation, word verification and restricting who you allow to comment.
- Looked at the blogs we have created and started commenting on each other's blogs to give feedback and encouragement. Learned about several comment tracking services that allow you to monitor comments and conversations.
- Talked about what makes a good post - short, concise, attractive with images, with a question to encourage discussion. Wrote a post.
- Found out how to upload images and talked about the issues of copyright. Learned about Creative Commons.
- Learned how to make hyperlinks. Discussed how and why you should link to other blogs - makes connections and encourages readers.
My personal reflections
I was really pleased that people had their blogs up and running with at least one post by the end of the evening. It is a delight to work with people who are so enthusiastic about setting up a blog. But I am left with the question: how do I support people to keep going with their blogs once the workshops have ended? Is it my job to do that? What if they think blogging is a waste of time - does that mean I am a terrible teacher? Do I take all this far too seriously!!!??? :)
How do you teach a class of people at different levels of technical ability?
This evening felt really chaotic and I feel a lot less satisfied with how thing went than I did the previous week. People were at different stages of development, and I tried to keep the evening 'loose' so that Lyn and I could support everyone with their own different needs. I especially didn't want to bore people who were more 'advanced' than the others.
But the problem with this approach was that I felt I had lost 'control' of what was going on, which in turn meant I felt as if I lost the flow of how the evening was supposed to run. The upshot of this for me, the 'teacher', was that I missed information or felt I gave it out in an unstructured manner.
Difference between teaching midwifery and computer skills
I do teach technical skills to student midwives and wonder why that does not feel so difficult as teaching computer skills. But I think it is easier because the student midwives are all at one level ie they come to my class with no knowledge of the skill, and I focus on only one skill at a time. Whereas this blogging class has students with a number of different skill levels, needs and aims which is more difficult to juggle.
Taking a structured approach
Leigh Blackall has advised me to:
- break the evening into small bursts of activities
- walk everyone through a particular activity such as how to upload an image for 5-10 minutes even if they know how to do it already
- then let them go off and 'play' for another short while
- repeat with the next activity.
Length of course
The other thing I have been thinking about is the length of the course. I originally thought that I would run 5 classes of 2 hours, but I think that 3 classes is probably as much as I would get people to attend. So I have to come to terms that there is no way I can tell people all there is to know about blogging in that short time.
So may be we should offer a basic class which covers how to set up a blog, and then a more advanced class when we look at adding widgets and so on. Having said that, people can continue their learning by working their way through activities such as the 31 Day Blog Challenge and 31 Day Comment Challenge, as well as access resources provided by people such as Sue Waters.
I would love to hear what people think about this, especially as I have been asked for feedback by several people in other areas/countries who are going to be running the same sort of workshops.
Highlight of the evening
On a lighter note, the highlight of the evening came when I was talking to a participant about linking her blog to other websites.
When I asked her what she was linking to her blog, she replied "My book." She had a web site URL in her notebook which she was using in her blog. That really tickled my funny bone.