Wednesday, March 29, 2017

Thriving, Diving, & Striving: Successes and Challenges in Teaching First-Year Academic Writing

It was an honor to be interviewed for this article on successes and challenges when teaching first-year academic writing. Check out the full story, written by Michael Beneszewski and published in the March 2017 issue of "We Rise", UOPX's College of Humanities & Sciences quarterly faculty digest.

Monday, March 13, 2017

AET/562 Social Media in the Classroom asssignment: Creating a Blog

"Blog" Defined

A blog is a social media tool that can be used for many purposes, such as a personal journal, a place to share one's thoughts, or as a way for someone to establish his or her self as an expert on a topic. Typically, blogs are updated often. The term "Blog" is a shortened version of "weblog", which has the same meaning (Byrd, 2015). There are several blogging platforms available online and many of them are free.
Image retrieved by Walsh (2010).

Marsha Solock Morgenstern - Blog Description 

The target audience for this blog is potential employers and anyone interested in my articles and writing. It is important because it serves as a portfolio of my writing, professional development, and includes other tidbits related to my careers as an Adult Educator and Freelance Writer. This impacts my online reputation by: 1) Demonstrating that I am an established writer. 2) Highlighting my writing skills and professional scholarship.

Image retrieved by The Blue Diamond Gallery (2017).

Best Practices for New Bloggers

Remember the audience; it can be local, national, or international. Consider whether or not the blog will include password protection (for privacy and/or to limit viewing). Consider team authoring because it allows groups of participants to publish blog posts. Ask participants to comment because this expands use of blog and encourages two-way communication (Morrow, 2008).

Image retrieved by Pixabay (2017a).

Advantages and Disadvantages of Blogging

There are both advantages and disadvantages to blogging. The advantages include the fact that blogs are easy to use, come in many free and/or low cost options, and can be accessed after training ends (Boulos, Maramba, and Wheeler, 2006). A possible disadvantage is if posts are too long, bloggers risk losing their audience's attention. Another disadvantage is sometimes links become outdated, so content that is posted can go missing.

Image retrieved by Pixabay (2017b).

How Blogs Can be Implemented as Training Tools

Blogs can facilitate student collaboration and discussions. For example, students can post, comment, or create their own blogs. Blogs replace training newsletter and calendars. They can be used to post updates about assignments or links to materials that support training objectives, such as pictures, links, or videos. Blog posts can also be organized by categories (Nussbaum-Beach, 2012).
Image retrieved by MacEntee (2010).

Five Blogs to Check Out

1. Steel City Insider: A Beginner’s Pittsburgh Guide

This blog post is the first of several I have written for Ruby, the Virgin Atlantic Airlines blog. It is important to my target audience because it provides a sample of my writing in an professional blog format. The post is engaging because it includes hyperlinks embedded into key words and correlating images. I am unable to determine how many people have frequented the blog. There is an option for visitors to comment, but at this time, no comments have been made. It is reputable because it is based on research and credit is given to the key sources of information. It affects my online reputation as a blogger by showing that I am knowledgeable about the city. It also impacts my online reputation by demonstrating effective written communication skills (Morgenstern, 2013).

2. January 14: Marsha Morgenstern, Educator and Freelance Writer

This blog post was written by Lucy Kelly, an artist I had the pleasure of interviewing for an article in 2012. It is important to my target audience because it relates to my work as a freelance writer. The post is engaging because it is embedded with hyperlinks and includes an image. Three people liked the post. It is reputable because it is a first person account of this artist's interaction with me and she interviewed me for the blog. It affects my online reputation because it acknowledges her positive experience with me as a freelance writer (Kelly, 2012).

3. Focusing on the Learner with ePortfolios

This blog post is written by Ana Cristina Pratas, a former regional speaker for the 2016 Teaching, Colleges & Community Teaching, Colleges & Community online conference. It is important to my target audience because I have attended and presented at this conference and because the topic of ePortfolios aligns with what I am learning about the use of of social media in education and training as a student in the Master of Arts in Adult Education and Training program at University of Phoenix. This post is engaging because it is embedded with hyperlinks, images, and a video. There are no likes or comments on the post. It is reputable because she is an expert in her field and this post affects her online reputation by reinforcing that reputation (Pratas, 2016).

4. No Time to Blog? Hire a Freelance Writer!

This blog post, written by Lindsay Flanagan, is important to my target audience because it discusses the benefits of hiring a freelance writer to write the content for company blog posts. This post is engaging because it asks strategic questions. It is reputable because the author is an editor. It affects Flanagan's online reputation by highlighting her expertise (Flanagan, 2016).

5. A Few Benefits of eLearning?

This blog post, by Henson Gawliu Jr. is important to my target audience because it focuses on eLearning, which is the area of Adult Education in which I have focused my career. It is engaging because of its use of headings, an image, embedded hyperlinks, and tags. One person commented on the blog post and the author responded. It is reputable because of the author's background in technology. It affects his online reputation by expanding his area of expertise beyond digital marketing (Gawliu, 2015). 


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Morgenstern, M.S. (2013). Steel city insider: A beginner’s pittsburgh guide. Retrieved from

Morrow, L. M. (2008). Comprehension instruction: Research-based best practices. C. C. Block, & S. R. Parris (Eds.). Guilford Press.

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Pixabay. (2017a). Computational [Online Image]. Retrieved from

Pixabay. (2017b). Training [Online Image].

Pratas, A.C. (2016). Focusing on the learner with eportfolios. Retrieved from

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