Joshua Kim writes:
The best preparation I received for blogging was teaching online. One of the most important elements for running a successful online course involves presence. The instructor must be “present” in the course discussion boards and blogs. Teaching online gave me tons of practice in writing rapid, hopefully thought provoking, discussion and blog posts around the curriculum and the student’s work. Much has been written about how teaching online can improve on-ground teaching. I’d add comfort with blogging to the benefits online learning.
Is the ability to quickly produce prose that (at least sometimes) may interest a reader the sort of skill that we want to cultivate in our students? The importance of rapid, persuasive writing is growing as blogs and other social media displace other forms of communication. We all need to learn to make our case, to persuade, to make arguments based on evidence – and to do so in a limited attention economy. For all of us, both writes and readers, time is our scarcest commodity.
Perhaps participating in online courses provides students the same practice with rapid and persuasive writing as teaching an online course. The same behaviors that make for a good online instructor, namely the willingness to be active and engaged with the asynchronous communication tools, are also those behaviors of a successful online student. An online course is all about collaboration and interaction. The best students post persuasively, briefly, and often.
I would venture to say the best preparation I received for online teaching is blogging! Quick posts sharing links and commentary – something bibliobloggers have long been doing – translate perfectly to the way I interact with my online and hybrid classes. I also think the blogging activities have helped my students with their writing – just afeeling, no evidence yet, but it might be a good thing to study.