One of my aims this semester is to develop a course blog with you. I believe it will provide a platform for us to learn to use digital tools as well as create and extend a learning community. I want this semester’s blogging to be a rewarding and enriching experience for everyone.
I know that everyone found the blog assignments to be unclear. Admittedly, the idea of blog posting was a little too open, but part of the reason for openness is that I want you to use the blog flexibly. To help you narrow down what you want to work on, here are my suggestions/tips for writing a blog post and using it as a learning tool.
Use the blog to improve your writing.
When I prompted you to discuss your anxieties about public speaking, some of you spoke about having difficulties structuring your speeches/presentations clearly and coherently.
How about using the blog post to develop your ideas and practice writing? The modes of delivery may be different because public speaking is an oral communication and a blog post is written. However, in essence, a speech and a blog post share a crucial commonality: delivering your message to the audience effectively.
Think of your blog post as an online presentation that you’re giving. Do your research, organize your thoughts, and present your information to the audience.
But also take advantage of what a blog allows you to do: you can be more informal and creative. Include multimedia sources such as images, videos, and links to other websites. Make it a fun experience for yourself and for your readers.
Prepare for the project with these tips:
Think about a topic. What is it that you think is important for you and the reader/audience to know? What are you interested in? It has to be something worthy of sharing and worthy of your audience’s time and attention.
Who is your audience? People who are interested in communications!
Share what you have learned, in and outside the classroom.
Once you have decided on a topic, think about how it can be delivered for maximum effect. We talked in class about informative and persuasive speech. What is the purpose of your writing?
Do you want to inform your audience on how to insert an image in a blog post? Then perhaps the best structure for your post would be breaking down the process step by step. To help your audience follow your instructions, you can insert screen images for each step.
Or do you want to introduce your readers to the five best online sources where they can find good public speaking examples? Then you can list them in a certain order and compare the five websites. How are they different? One source may provide great speeches in history, and another source may specialize in more current topics. Which source would your audience find helpful? Why?
Or do you want to persuade your audience to take an action? It doesn’t have to be something big. For instance, if you find a particular source helpful and useful—let’s say TED Talks—and want to tell others to use it as a learning tool, you can write an interesting blog post about it. Tell your readers why you found it helpful. Insert a couple of videos to back up your point and to give your audience a snippet of what it is like.
In the process of writing, you will learn how to organize your thoughts. Knowing is one thing, and explaining is another. As you write a post to share your knowledge with others, you will find yourself growing too in your writing and in your thoughts.
Finally, one advantage that digital technology affords us is that we can always go back to the writing and edit it. You can start with a draft and gradually develop it into a full-fledged piece of writing. You can insert relevant images, videos, and links to other valuable sources to make your writing more informative and interesting. You will get feedback from me and your peers, which will help you fine-tune your writing further.
I hope you think of creating blog posts as an interesting and exciting project. I look forward to a fruitful semester, and hopefully, our blog will be an archive of our growth and achievement!