Today we met in casual roundtable to discuss academic blogging as a pursuit in the TI RA Program. During our first literature search, we determined that there are many resources out there on writing blog (key reasons [writing practice, personal interests/hobby, research journaling, etc.], style [blogs are more conversational than formal], and formatting [headings, length, images, etc.]. However, very little literature (casual or scholarly) exists on the potential applications and impact of academic blogging as a professional development tool in a higher education context. From our discussion we determined that such a literature gap creates both dilemmas and possibilities. On the one hand, there are no rules! We can experiment with what works for us, reflect on it, and create our own guidelines and metrics for success. On the other hand, oh no, there are no rules! If there are no guidelines or metrics already in existence how do we know what we are doing is impactful, helpful, or successful?
Currently, our answer is to (once again) fall back on our program priorities: 1) creating RA community and communication; 2) developing RA capacity (knowledge, skills, and abilities); 3) empowering RA learning and success. At this time, RAs desire structure and direction, and I wish to give them freedom and flexibility. To strike a balance between these two, we have created the following plan:
- All RAs will have their own pages for them to add/post on as they so desire. They are free to experiment with form, content, language, images, media, and genres however they wish.
- All RAs will have “Editor” access so they can create/curate this content as they like. I will keep my role as website administrator.
- We will meet once every two weeks for dedicated writing time. This is a casual space where RAs can come/go as they wish, and commit to putting one hour exclusively towards the blog.*
- I will keep working on a short scholarship-informed academic blogging guide.
*EDIT: As I mentioned in the meeting, I am concerned at the amount of time in total this would take away from RA’s normal duties. I will follow up with RA supervisors before booking anything official.