All 6 entries tagged Blogging

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March 19, 2008

Interview with Peter Kirwan, succesful student blogger

Peter Kirwan is a student in the English Department, and author of the popular Bardathon blog, in which he has become a really good theatre critic. The success of his blogging has led him to speak at conferences, and to write for the Guardian. I recently interviewed Peter about his blog and how it has contributed to his success as a student and a reviewer.

A great result. When Kay Sanderson and I first promoted the idea of academic blogging in 2003 we had hoped that it would help students in just this way: becoming active and self-reflective writers, and becoming part of the research and cultural process.


Created using an Apple MacBook, with the built-in camera. Recorded and edited with iMovie. Screen captures created in Screenflow. Converted to FLV format using Flix.


September 13, 2006

Alex Gregory (cartoonist) on blogging

Kay recently gave me a card by the cartoonist Alex Gregory. I have shown it at various events about blogging. It always raises a laugh!

Now I’m tempted to buy a framed copy from CartoonBank.


August 29, 2006

Random opinions about blogs and bloggers

As part of the symposium on blogs in teaching and learning I sent out one of our assistants, Steve Ranford, with a video camera and the instruction to "compile the opinions of a random selection of people on the subject of blogs and blogging. This video is the result.

We did try to get a mix of bloggers and non–bloggers, however, there seemed to be few bloggers around (perhaps they were all locked away in dark rooms desperately trying to write something worthwhile).

Note that it was compiled from victims found in University House during the summer vacation. The undergraduate population, at whom the blogs publicity campaign had been targeted, was scarce.

My observation is this: all of the people interviewed defined 'blog' on the basis of the content that they have seen (or heard about) in other people's blogs. None of them considered it as a technology with a wide range of possible uses. The range of blog use (the audiences and messages associated with those uses) that they will have seen is quite narrow, and hence less likely to fit into their own lives.

It reminds me of Aardman's Creature Comforts. Perhaps we could substitute animals for some of the familiar faces that appear. Any suggestions?


July 20, 2006

Poetry in blogs

I had a request for advice on how to format poems in blogs. This can be achieved with the addition of a little css code.

There's a lot of poetry in Warwick Blogs. I will refrain from making aesthetic judgements on a literary form that I know little about. So here's a poem by Pablo Neruda, assuming that his work is the kind of thing that slightly romantic motorcyle travellers should recite. It is followed by details of the css code and how to use it.


‘Leaning into the afternoon’
VII From:’ Veinte poemas de amor’

Leaning into the afternoon, I cast my saddened nets,
towards your oceanic eyes.

There, in the highest fire, my solitude unrolls and ignites,
arms flailing like a drowning man’s.

I send out crimson flares across your distant eyes,
that swell like the waves, at the base of a lighthouse.

You only guard darkness, far–off woman of mine,
from your gaze the shore of trepidation sometimes emerges.

Leaning towards afternoon, I fling my saddened nets,
                     into the sea, your eyes of ocean trouble.

The night–birds peck at the early stars,
that glitter as my soul does, while it loves you.

The night gallops, on its mare of shadows,
spilling blue silken tassels of corn, over the fields.


…OK, time to forget those silken tassles and the far–off woman. What about the css? A while ago it became possible for blog owners to add extra styles to their blogs using the CSS language. To do this, you create a named style with a definition of what that style is like, and copy that definition into the textbox at the bottom of the Appearance page in the Admin section of your blog. In this case, I have added a defintion called "poetry". It looks like this:

.poetry {margin-left:100px; margin-right:50px; font-family:verdana}

The effect of this is to indent the poem text 100px from the left of the blog entry, 50px from the right, and with the font verdana. You can adjust these as required, or leave out elements of the style such as the font. I have written a previous entry on doing this in Warwick Blogs for other effects such as highlighting. A good place to find out about css and other style attributes is the W3Schools css documentation and tutorials.

To apply this style to the poem text, the whole block of text needs to be wrapped in a "div" element with the class "poetry". In the blogbuilder entry editor, this looks as follows:

<div class="poetry">
Leaning into the afternoon, I cast my saddened nets,
towards your oceanic eyes.
…more lines of poetry
</div>

Warning!: make sure that you don't forget the closing </div> tag, otherwise your whole blog will end up looking rather odd.


July 04, 2006

Blogs in Learning Research Symposium – agenda first draft

On the afternoon of Friday July 21st we will be holding an informal symposium (for want of a better word) on the topic of 'blogs in learning, teaching and research'. With a couple of years of experience in building and running the world's largest single academic blogging community we have much of interest to say on the topic. I occasionally get requests from other institutions to open up our experiences to discussion. My personal interest in doing so is motivated by the belief that in explaining it to outsiders I improve my own understanding. For this session, we have groups from Manchester Metropolitan University and from Oxford Brookes. I will also advertise a few places to the rest of the University and the learning technology community. My first thoughts for an agenda are listed below. I will open this up to comment from the participants and others who may be interested.

A more final, but still draft agenda can be seen in the e-learning web site.

Feedback?

If you are already an invited participant, then please feel free to comment on whether this fits your interests, and if there is anything missing.

If you want to come to all or part of the session, then please contact me, we might have some spaces left.


The power of Warwick Blogs 2

Writing about Google results from Blogbuilder news

Yesterday at 5pm I received an intriguing phone call thanks to Warwick Blogs. Yet another example of the benefits of expressing ideas in a system that attracts such a high Google ranking to one's posts.

He was, I immediately understood, a researcher from a television production company. They are in the early stages of developing a documentary about birdsong. It seems that they are interested in questions concerning the role of birdsong in art and music. The very interesting David Rothenberg provides the starting point, but the researchers are discovering many connections, including Paul Klee's twittering machine, Deleuze and Guattari's Of The Refrain, Olivier Messiaen, and of course that magnificent song cycle Aerial by Kate Bush.

So, TV researcher, what then is your method? Try these Google searches and instantly see the power of Warwick Blogs:

The interview was fascinating. He asked about birdsong and philosophy. I talked about Of The Refrain and the role of sound, rhythm and birdsong in D&G's philosophy. He asked the big question: do birds sometimes sing just for pleasure (yes was my answer, but justified by an argument concerning the limits of biological functionalism and the drivers behind evolution). I talked about nocturnal birdsong as a penetrating a–visual deterritorialized refrain, and how the refrain works as a minimal and portable germ of territory carried across night and day (and how that idea drives Aerial).

All of these ideas I have developed in my blog. Some of these ideas may soon in some small way help to shape a television documentary that promises to be fascinating. All because I use Warwick Blogs.