Warning: Blogging as therapy session follows
I usually end the year with a review of my own year on blogging. Not a review of ed tech blogging as a whole and the themes of the year, but just me. And in that is something of my current identity doubts with my own blog. This is my 44th post of the year, down on my usual 50 or so, which hints at that questioning also. The thing I’ve been struggling with is that a lot of the bloggers I admire have effectively become very good ed tech journalists, writing very well researched, thoughtful essays. These are excellent, but working in academia, blogging performs a different function for me – I write research papers and books which is the place for the carefully argued work. My blog felt like an antidote to that in a way – a place to put out half baked ideas and quick posts that are knocked off in-between other things.
This is exacerbated by the political situation and general crapness of things. I used to comment on this stuff, but increasingly I feel that it’s more useful to just STFU and let people who are better informed and write about such with a greater depth than I do have the space. Don’t add to the noise (this is also a useful approach to being a man asking questions at conferences I find).
These two aspects – of wanting to write in an informal manner and not wanting to distract from better placed voices on many issues means I often find myself thinking about a post and then going “nah”. And once you start doing that in blogging, the threshold to post becomes greater, and the inclination to do it declines. I didn’t comment on the demise of the OpenEd conference or the recent arguments about Instructure, for example because I felt others had said it better.
The result of this can be a solipsism – the thing I do know about, which other people won’t blog about, and which I can do quickly and informally is me. Although there has always been a personal aspect to blogging, one that’s just me, me, me quickly becomes tiresome (as this post attests). Anyway, no answers to this, just working it through. I do have plans for a series next year but it has a Martin-centric focus, so we’ll see how it goes.
Get on with the review!
In terms of blogging this year, I had 320K visits from 118K visitors. I started the year with my 1000th post. The most popular post was my confessional Academicing with Depression. This also attracted the most comments – which shows that people are nice. I had fun playing with the Ed Tech Metaphor (and Open Degree) Generator which reminded me of the old days of blogging, when Tony Hirst and Alan Levine would patiently explain stuff to me. Perhaps the most EdTechie post of the year was VAR lessons for Ed Tech. A random one I’m re-bigging is Situated degree pathways.
On a professional front it has been a good year for me and I have a lot to be thankful for. I feel a tad guilty about this given the general chaos the world is descending into, but it’s a reminder that personal and global tides can operate at different frequencies. Some people meet the love of their life during war time after all. I started the year with my (rather belated) inaugural lecture. I have sort of become one of the unofficial spokespeople for the OU, and in our 50th year got to present at the Hay Festival which was a real privilege. I became Chair of the Open Programme, and this really provided an opportunity to bring together different strands of open education. We managed to secure funding for a further three years for the GO-GN project which is simply a delight to work on. I completed my 25 Years of Ed Tech book and had it accepted by Athabasca Press, so it will be out early next year. And towards the end of the year I was awarded a Commonwealth Learning Chair in OER, which will allow me to help expand the GO-GN network.
I can’t imagine we’ll look back on 2019 with any fondness more generally though. But I am thankful for what I have. And look, it’s hard to be down when you get greeted by this enthusiasm every day. See you all in 2020.