Interesting times

Hello everyone,

I’m Claire Major, professor of education at The University of Alabama. I am in a unique position this semester. I am teaching courses about technology and higher education as well as about distance learning programs in higher education (these are face-to-face courses in which we are broadly considering how these forces are changing higher education and vice versa), and I’m doing this while I also will be learning about teaching online with potcert!

The assignment to set up a blog has been an interesting one for me. I’ve had to think through issues such as who my intended audience is for my blog in general as well as what kinds of posts I might make for particular and perhaps multiple intended audiences. Doing so in turn has required me to think through issues such as what feed to send to Lisa, what categories I need to establish, and what I want to tag as what.

All of these activities make the writing feel somehow different to me than writing for a book or article. For the book or article, I would likely think of single intended audience, whereas for the blog, I’ve had to think about multiple audiences and how to structure things (the technology) so that I’m saying what I intend to say to whom I’m intending to say it. So writing so far feels to me more structured and more parcelled (and more technical). Yet at the same time, the audience for a book or article doesn’t necessarily (or likely) have a face, and I’ve seen many nice photos here of participants and their families, so I have a better sense of what part of the audience for my musings actually looks like; therefore, the writing seems in some ways more personal and more conversational. Interesting times.

Looking forward to more interesting times this year and to learning with and from all of you.

7 thoughts on “Interesting times

    • Thanks! Have just started putting stuff out there, so it’s bare bones and pretty empty!
      Glad you are taking the course!

  1. The intended audience point is a great one. I have a few different blogs just because my audiences are so different for each. I just did a post, though, about how I use categories to organize my blogs, too. I am always curious to see how others organize their blogs, so I got some ideas from looking at the pages you have. I can’t wait to see what you post this semester!

    • Thanks! I’m just getting things organized, so hopefully it’ll get better. I’m impressed that you have four different blogs!

  2. To me audience is the big challenge for a blog. I have several blogs–a personal one and one for each of my classes–but I tend to think of them in terms of micro-audiences. I am not as concerned about the general public, but I do want the people who do read my blog posts–colleagues and students–to feel welcome. That is why for me tone is the key to blogging. I want people to see my blog posts as an invitation to a conversation not pronouncements of my own views–which would quickly become a bit boring!

    Thanks for joining potcert.


    • Thanks, I’m pleased to be a part of the group!

      I agree that having several blogs could be a really useful way to work things, and good on you (and Laura) for doing so! I’m just honestly not sure I’d be able to keep up with more than one! That’s one reason I decided to aim my blog toward a broader audience (general may not be the best term) of colleagues who are interested in college-level teaching and learning (including online teaching and learning) and to use categories and tags to try to sort things out in a meaningful way (just started…not there yet by a long shot).

      I think your point about tone is a great one…I’m much more familiar with formal academic writing, so the shift in tone is a big one for me. Indeed, I’m used to writing stuff about how to teach or how to do research (pronouncing, in other words). Viewing it as an invitation to conversation is a great way of thinking about it!

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