September 12, 2011

Keeping up to date

Writing about web page

I took part in one of the Guardian's online "Q&A" sessions recently, on the theme of surviving your first academic post. How it seems to work is that an article introducing the theme and the experts is put onto the website, and then participants are invited at a particular time, whereupon they all start writing in the comments stream for that article and the experts start responding.

As an experience, it was rather disorientating and I confess that I dropped out of the conversation after 30 or so comments, because I couldn't follow all the different threads and different people. I went back to scan through the posts later, and I had a look at other such "Q&A" sessions too: there are some gems of advice and handy links amongst the content, but you do have to wade through a lot of other people's concerns! I might have persevered if I had a question to put to the experts myself.

It made me think about how I might like to host an online "Q&A" for our researchers, and I think it would not be a live session, but we would ask researchers to post questions in advance. I guess that the attraction of the session is that it takes place at a particular time, and you'd lose the sponteneity of people's questions/ideas prompted by others, but you would gain a structure that visitors could follow. Something for me to think about some more!

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