I've gotten a lot of queries about setting up a web portfolio, etc. lately, so I've been hacking on a little workshop series on "web presence for academics." I've turned it into my (CA)Pedagogy project in preparation for a first trial run over Purdue's 2012 Maymester (May 14-June 8, 2012); if it works it may get folded into the graduate Inquiry class in the fall which is required of all entering students to my department (engineering education).

The workshop will be 4 sessions of 90 minutes each, with up to 2 hours of weekly "homework" assigned after each of the first 3 sessions, though I will scope them so they are minimally completable by most attendees in 1 hour. (I will stick around for an extra hour or two after every session to help those who prefer to get their "homework" done all at once and in person.) There is also pre-work you must do in order to sign up for the workshop, which I estimate will take you 30 minutes to complete. In total, the time commitment is expected be 12.5 hours maximum, 9.5 hours expected, over a 4-week span.

  • Session 1 - how do academics use blogging and social media?
  • Session 2 - setting up your web presence and making your first post(s)
  • Session 3 - using your web presence for citations and networking
  • Session 4 - wrap-up

By the end of the workshop, you'll have a website and a research blog, and you'll have tapped into the online networks of other academics studying around your topic of interest.

The workshop will be taught in person, but I'm interested in accommodating remotees willing to experiment a bit, either synchronously via attending the in-person sessions remotely, or asynchronously catching up on sessions afterwards; if this sounds like you, please get in touch with me before May 10th, 2012 when you send in your sign-up details.

If you're interested in participating, email mel at purdue dot edu these 3 things, with a subject line like "Re: your research blogging summer workshop":

  • Name and department
  • A 3-sentence summary of your research/study topic(s) or interest(s).
  • Links to 5 blogs related to your research/study topic that you find interesting.

You can easily find these by Googling "<topic> blog" - for instance, "sustainable engineering blog" or "middle school teacher blog." These can be blogs by individuals (academics or not), research groups, departments, organizations, companies -- and not every post needs to be about your specific research topic, but the blog's general theme needs to be about something you find academically interesting. If you're having trouble finding stuff by searching the web, try http://researchblogging.org/, http://scienceblogs.com/, or the blogs of your professional societies and the things they link to.

Feel free to forward this to others who might be interested - grad students from other departments, faculty, people at other schools. I've taught elements of this series at faculty workshops since 2009, so I'm used to the audience -- just not the format. I may need to restrict the size/composition of the first group in order to keep things manageable since I'm also working and taking classes at the same time, but I will get everyone who sends the sign-up information in on a second round after the first one's done, if I end up having to stem the flood in some way.

For those who can't wait for a preview, my classmate Nikitha is bravely testing out the activities as I come up with them right now, so as I give her (verbal) instructions over the coming weeks I'll write them into blog posts here as well.

And for those who want to help with the paper I'm supposed to write about the design of all this, any notes you've got on why this is interesting to you, or citations pointing to why this is either valuable or difficult for you, would be quite welcome. Some things I've already gotten, somewhat paraphrased:

  • "I want to get into regular writing as a habit in grad school, and this will give me the accountability I need to get into a rhythm."
  • "I want to expand my research network and connect with projects that I'm interested in, but don't have a web presence to explain to them what it is that I do."
  • "I keep getting questions from people at conferences about my work and I don't have a place to refer them to, so I keep answering the same questions over and over."
  • "I want to blog, but I'm afraid I don't have anything to say." (I have heard this from everyone ranging from first-year graduate students to senior faculty members considered to be one of the best in their field.)
  • "Look at publications on the scholarship of teaching and learning, because they run workshop for practitioners and yours is sort of like that."
  • "Look at curricula aimed at teaching grad students about scholarly communication formats like journal papers and conference posters; this is another format to add to that list."