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1I am going to be giving a paper called ‘Blogging the Past as Wider Engagement?’ at the Teaching outside the HE history classroom: field visits, oral history, museums and monuments conference. The conference takes place on 18/06/2014 in London and is primarily concerned with the sharing of ideas about the theory and practice of education beyond the classroom walls.

Making the past accessible is something I feel pretty strongly about and I’m really looking forward to presenting the case for blogging as a great way of doing this. Although my teaching experience is somewhat limited at this stage, I definitely think blogging can be a great compliment to traditional methods. Furthermore, and in my opinion most importantly, blogging is a great way of making education accessible to a wider spectrum of people, including those who haven’t been in a classroom in a while.

The organiser of the conference shares this passion and is really keen to get individuals interested in new technologies and approaches to get involved. There is the possibility here of a session based solely on such approaches, so if anyone reading this is interested in contributing then please email me (matthew.austin@pgr.reading.ac.uk) or get in contact directly with the organiser (peter.dsena@heacademy.ac.uk).

Inspired by how the blogosphere came together for the Blogging Archaeology e-book, I thought it would be great to include some testimonies in my paper. Not only would this lend some traction to my arguments, but it would also serve to advertise the growing (and, quite frankly, great) community of bloggers who put unpaid time and effort into education and engagement.

I would really love to hear from bloggers who are lecturers or PhD students with teaching responsibilities. I’m also keen to hear from people who have no formal teaching duties but see blogging as a form of wider education, somewhat akin to Massively Open Online Courses. If you read informative blogs about the past it would be very useful to hear your thoughts as well! If you are interested in being quoted, please drop me an email or leave a comment below.


Conference website

The Higher Education Academy website

My contribution on a similar theme in the Blogging Archaeology e-book

Paper abstract

This paper discusses the role of blogging in teaching beyond the HE classroom. It is argued that blogging represents an important means in which to disseminate knowledge, analysis and interpretation of the past in a widely-accessible and concise format. Beyond the obvious benefits to students, blogging also offers the perfect medium in which to reach a wider audience. As ‘public engagement’ and ‘impact’ become increasingly more important to universities, funding bodies and the Research Excellence Framework, blogging can allow researchers and academics to present the past in novel and interesting ways. Moreover, statistics and analytics offer ways in which engagement and impact can be quantitatively and qualitatively measured. Remarks on the relationship between blogging and traditional scholarly publication, and the ways they can complement one another, are the subject of the latter part of the paper. In order to service wider audiences, and to affect greater interest in our disciplines, it is argued in the closing remarks that blogging represents a valuable form of scholarly dialogue which should be supported and encouraged.