DEE conference: blogs and social software

DEE logoAs I mentioned yesterday, I was at the Developments in Economics Education conference in Cambridge last week. Here are a few thoughts on the session that I participated in.

The brief was to cover the use of blogs in economics teaching and use the workshop format, which to me means audience participation, groupwork and sharing best practice. Luckily, it was the second day of the conference, so people had had a chance to socialise at the conference dinner and were happy to talk, plus my fellow conspirator, Bhagesh Sachania of the Economics Network has run plenty of workshop style events in the past and is good at chivvying people along, so they don’t just chat about the weather!

What I learnt from the delegates contributions was:

  • We still need to provide definitions of the basic terms and language of blogging
  • There is a reluctance to publish on the open web, for privacy reasons
  • People are unaware of the range of possible pitfalls and opportunities of blogging

I also got the impression that there is more blogging activity going on than we are aware of, but some of it is happening in closed systems, within VLEs such as Blackboard, which is a shame as I’m sure we could learn a lot from what is going on there.

The slides from the workshop are available from SlideShare

I had the privilege of sharing the session with Steve Greenlaw from the University of Mary Washington, who tackled the topic of Using social software to empower teaching and learning in economics in just 45 minutes. What followed was an amazing gallop through a whole range of ways of using freely available social software tools in economics teaching – which Steve is turning into a website using a WordPress blog, called Augmenting Teaching and Learning with Social Software or you can read his thoughts on teaching economics via his interesting blog, Pedablogy.

Intute: Social Sciences features more resources on blogging in economics