Academic blogging is gaining popularity among academics, who now use it effectively to communicate their research to a larger target audience. Blogs encourage public engagement and also enhance the impact of content. This blog aims at imparting useful information on how to write an academic blog, common mistakes to avoid while writing one and also offers samples to be referred to when in doubt.
How to write an academic blog?
Academics cannot help but agree that blogs add value to traditional methods of publication. Publishing is a long process if done traditionally, can take up to two years to be completed. Blogs, on the contrary, encourage immediate engagement of audience and debates on current issues.
A successful academic blogger takes care of the following:
- Make the blog attractive:
There is no mandate on how many words a blog must comprise. What matters is that the content must add value to the reader. The ranking of your blog will be determined by its ability to engage readers. In order to make your blog more informative and attractive,
- Use relevant hyperlinks for readers seeking detailed information
- Use audio or video clips to illustrate content
- Use images at appropriate spaces
- End the blog in a question so that readers comment and share their thoughts
When you write a blog for the first time, it is often difficult to attract readership. You can help readers find your blog on the internet by using SEO Tools efficiently. You can also write on current issues and invite comments of eminent personalities and international peers, to enhance visibility.
- Be regular:
Your subscribers look forward to your blogs, make sure you don’t keep them waiting. Decide on how regular you can be with blogging and then ensure that you stick to it. Most academics post one blog per week. However, if writing a blog a week is too tedious a task for you, then instead of posting 4 blogs in a month and then posting nothing for the next 6 months, it is recommended that you post one blog a month.
- Maintain a “Blogging Calendar”:
Keep a couple of articles handy in case of emergency when you run out of time to write a new one. Consider the following points for your calendar:
- Conferences or events capable of making good blogs
- Blogs to support your lectures that could possibly add value to students
- Research work in progress where a blog could invites expert opinion and views
In order to attract readers, make sure that your blog opens with a catchy headline. The headline may include a question, a controversial remark or even a quote! Just read the headline and ask yourself if you would want to read the blog going by its headline. The formula for writing good headlines is given here.
- Read Blogs:
Reading blogs will not only keep you updated about what other writers have to offer but will also help you understand what you wish to include in your blog. Here are a few blogs to get you started:
- Bradford University School of Management – Management Thinking
- Northern Lights PR
- Bournemouth University, National Centre for Post Qualifying Social Work
- Claire Morley-Jones, managing director, HR180 on the Huffington Post
- Invite Guest Authors:
The credibility of your work can be enhanced by including guest blogs in your own blog from time to time. This provides authenticity to your writings and also saves you some time and work.
- Publicize the Blog:
Since you are new to the world of blogging, it is your own responsibility to share your blog on social media websites and ensure maximum visibility. Encourage peers to share your work on websites like Facebook, Twitter and Google+ to reach a larger audience.
Before you publish content for the rest of the world to read, make sure you are certain of every word you write. If you copy any content from anyone else’s work, make sure you give due acknowledgement. Do not cause any infringement to intellectual property.
What does a teacher want from an academic blogging assessment?
Blogging assessments help teachers assess students on various parameters. Weight-age is given to different facets of a blog and students are graded accordingly. The major difference between assessing written assignments and multimedia activities such as blogs is that with the latter, the use of videos, images, hyperlinks and colorful text makes the assessment relatively simpler and more effective. The feedback can be shared with students as well as among the entire staff fraternity, making it easier for students to acknowledge and rectify their mistakes.
Blogs assignments can be done in groups thus encouraging collaborative thinking. Peer assessment also helps students reflect on their own work vis-à-vis the work of fellow mates.
Blogs often have standard templates that ensure uniformity across the works of all students. Past blogs of students can also be recorded to observe progress over a period of time. Real time feedback can be given and can be left open for comments. Blogging also helps students become experts of subjects through constant sourcing and filtering of information. Blogs let students take ownership of their work while they explore diverse perspectives of learning.
A rubric is created by teachers for evaluating students on the basis of blogs. The assessment parameters are usually content and creativity, “voice” of the blog, use of multimedia, timelines, tags, quality of content, citations, proofreading etc. The weighted average of these scores is often considered for evaluating students based on their blog assignments.
Common mistakes to avoid in an academic blog:
- Irregularity and inconsistency in blogging
- Posting about anything and everything without introspecting on your area of expertise
- Not catering to the requirements and tastes of target audience
- Preferring quantity over quality and writing posts that are too long
- Focusing on yourself in all blogs
- Using vague or inappropriate headlines that do not go well with the content of the post
- Not engaging readers and not responding to queries of subscribers
- Not collaborating with other bloggers
- Not seeking opinions of masses
- Neglecting SEO and keywords
Quality Blogging Assessment Samples to learn from:
Given below is a list of 5 Blogging assessment samples to take cues from:
The blog neatly compiles relevant information under subheadings. The appropriate use of images and graphs further corroborates the findings of the team. References are also stated towards the end and the questionnaire used for research is attached in the Appendix.
The blog is updates on a regular basis and is well equipped with informative content and pictures to keep the readers engaged.
The catchy headline makes parents want to read the blog. The writer uses the picture of a stressed child to lay emphasis on the topic in discussion and also to gather attention from parents worldwide.
This blog shows how colorful text can be used to attract readers. It displays a personal liking of the writer. However, the readers feel connected due to the topic in discussion. WWE being an area of interest of millions worldwide helped garner the attention this blog deserved.
This is not a hashtag but a blog which highlights student life at a University and gives potential candidates all the information they might need.
While completing a blogging assessment is not a herculean task, maintaining consistency while writing blogs certainly is. Hence, it is of utmost importance that you do not take blogging as a task, but as an activity that helps you derive pleasure.