I really enjoy writing blog posts on Clyde Street. I have been blogging on WordPress since 2008 and am approaching my 2000th post. I have always thought that my blog was a way for me to think out aloud and explore ideas in teaching, coaching, learning and performance. I did not anticipate an audience for my writing but I have been surprised that Clyde Street has had nearly half a million visits since 2008.
In addition to thinking out loud, one of the aims of my blog was to put teaching, coaching, learning and performance in a social media space and to explore what ubiquitous access through phones might be (link). A second aim was to explore alternative means of scholarly communication (link). This, as Alan Levine points out requires full disclosure about content attribution (link) and appreciative inquiry (link). I was really heartened when the LSE Impact blog took up these issues (link) as “a burgeoning area of knowledge exchange that seeks to assist with the dissemination of substantive research and analysis”.
Standards for Writing Accessibly
I am mindful that Stephen Downes keeps an eye on the process and form of blogging (link). This week his newsletter included a link to Michael J. Metts and Andy Welfle’s Standards for Writing Accessibly (link).
They propose we write:
- Chronologically, not Spatially
- Left to Right, Top to Bottom
- Without the of Use Colors and Icons Alone
- About the Action, not the Behavior
Michael and Andy also have some advice about screen readers. They note
- The average reading time for sighted readers is two to five words per second. Screen-reader users can comprehend text being read at an average of 35 syllables per second, which is significantly faster.
- People want to be able to skim long blocks of text, regardless of sight or audio, so it’s extremely important to structure your long form writing with headers, short paragraphs, and other content design best practices.
The About section of the LSE Impact blog observes that it is “a hub for researchers, administrative staff, librarians, students, think tanks, government, and anyone else interested in maximising the impact of academic work in the social sciences and other disciplines. We hope to encourage debate, share best practice and keep the impact community up to date with news, events and the latest research” (link).
I do think the power of blogs compared to academic books and papers is their immediacy and connection with current practice. Their digital form means that the posts can be updated and new links added. In my case, I have been able to add postscripts to enrich posts with recommendations made. As an action researcher it has also enabled me to modify my texts when there have been strong objections to content. I see blogging in this sense as an inclusive activity without abandoning critical judgement.
The LSE Impact blog shows hoe to cite blog posts. For this article on WordPress, I have used these references:
Lyons, Keith (2010). Cloud Computing and Ubiquitous Support for Coaches. Clyde Street blog https://keithlyons.me/blog/2010/09/21/cloud-computing-and-ubiquitous-support-for-coaches/ 21 September 2010 (Accessed 24 January 2020).
Patrick Dunleavy (2014). Shorter, better, faster, free: Blogging changes the nature of academic research, not just how it is communicated. LSE Impact blog https://blogs.lse.ac.uk/impactofsocialsciences/2014/12/28/shorter-better-faster-free/ 28 December 2014 (Accessed 24 January 2020).
Alan Levine (2019). Lacktribution: Be Like Everyone Else. Cogdog blog https://cogdogblog.com/2019/09/lacktribution/ 29 September 2019 (Accessed 24 January 2020).
Catherine Moore (2019). What is Appreciative Inquiry? A Brief History & Real Life Examples. Postive Psychology blog https://positivepsychology.com/appreciative-inquiry/ 19 November 2019 (Accessed 24 January 2020).
LSE Impact Blog (nd). How to cite our blogs. LSE Impact blog https://blogs.lse.ac.uk/impactofsocialsciences/our-blog-family/how-to-cite-our-blogs/ nd (Accessed 24 January 2020).
Stephen Downes (2020). OLD Newsletter. OLD blog https://www.downes.ca/news/OLDaily.htm 23 January 2020 (Accessed 24 January 2020).
Michael Metts and Andrew Welfie (2020). Northwestern blog Standards for Writing Accessibility. https://alistapart.com/article/standards-for-writing-accessibly/ 23 January 2020 (Accessed 24 January 2020).