I am in the process of trying out a Why Blog? workshop using Open Space Learning techniques.
The idea came from noticing that there are lots of resources and support on how to blog but nothing explaining to those new to the concept of blogging on why it could be a useful practice.
The objectives of the workshop include:
- Question preconceptions of ‘bloggers’
- Understand that there are different types of blogs
- Offer insight into how you can differentiate one type of blog from another
- Offer guidance on how one might starting blogging (beyond the technical know-how, e.g. clarify what purpose it might serve, who might find it useful)
The activities are:
1. What does a ‘blogger’ look like?
Group are asked to draw their impression of a blogger (3 mins)
Each person shares their picture and we decide together to give it a name, e.g. The Networker, The Obsessive
We group the different types by sticking the pictures on the wall with blu tac.
2. The Blogspot – What type of blogger are you?
People are split into groups of 2 and given information on 8 different case studies. This information includes a screenshot of the blog and basic stats, e.g. regularity of posts, no of posts, no of contributors, text from ‘about’ section….
People are asked to place each blog on a scale of how personal/impersonal it is and whether it is used to disseminate information or facilitate conversation. They are asked to consider whether the intentions of the blogger are the same as reality, and why the blogger might post as they do.
People are then asked to make suggestions for how one could group the bloggers.
The facilitator then shares one set of groupings (ours were educational, social, collaborative, profile) that may provide some insight (but with the qualification that this is just one model, not ‘the rules’). These are related to our set of case studies and the university-context and could be adapted for different organisations.
3. Making it real
Posters labelling the axis (eg. Personal on wall opposite Impersonal) on each of the four walls set out a ‘Blog Spot’ on the floor.
Participants are asked to retrieve their poster and stand where they would place their impression of a ‘blogger’ on the floor.
Participants are then asked to move to the position of where they would want to be, if they were to be a blogger. (In the last workshop the concentration changed from bottom left corner to much more spread out.)
4. Theory-building: Breaking down the barriers to blogging
People are split into groups of 3 or 4.
They are given a set of A4 cards which all have information on which relate to the challenges of blogging.
The group are asked to come up with a theory, and demonstrate that theory by arranging the cards in a pattern on the floor. (10-15mins)
Everyone apart from the group whose pattern is being discussed then have to interpret what the other group’s theory is. This is done for each pattern/group.
5. Discussion, Q + A
Depending on what issues are raised, we gave about 20 minutes to general discussion about why people don’t blog. A lot of the time participants were just talking to each other. It helped to have a few current and one former blogger in the group as they could share experiences.
6. What next?
- I am currently in the process of finishing some online resources that includes video interviews with 10 of the university’s (various) bloggers
- There is a hand out that outlines the top 5 tips for blogging. Recommends highly following a programme like 23 things, which is a series of blogging related tasks.
- Everyone is invited to contribute straight away to a group blog, about the workshop, about blogging. I posted pictures of each participant telling us what they learnt >>> This part gets very ‘metablogging’ whatever that means…