Adult 641, Reflection Six

I am going to be honest with you. I have been getting burned out on these weekly blogs. It’s hard to come up with things to write about every week and I’m spending so much energy planning and thinking about my big project.


I am too scared to count the total number of blogs in my Google Reader, but there are 55 in the Fashion category. I don’t read all of them–I will often check a blog or category and look at the bold headers and click the ones that interest me, then mark the rest as read. I don’t think that makes me a Reader phony, just a realist! I would never be able to read this many blogs through bookmarks. There is so much information out there. Here are my favorite tips.

1. Google Reader’s built in stats are so helpful

Scroll to the top of your subscriptions and click Trends. This gives you information about your own personal reading trends (which blogs you read the most often) but also Subscription Trends. Here you see which blogs are updated the most, and more important, least frequently. Since I subscribe to so much I often read the blogs by category (ie, all home blogs at once, in order of posting time). This means I don’t keep up with which blogs have stopped updating, but I go through the Inactive list pretty often and end some subscriptions. Sometimes I find that the blogs have moved to another location so I end up even on my number of subscriptions.

2. Google Alerts are your friend

I would have trouble filling the VCU Summer Studies Twitter and Facebook without subscribing to “summer and university” and “university and social media” without Google Alerts. It’s such an easy way to have information delivered to you. I am lazy.

3. Google stars

Even though you can tag these, I find that tagged starred items just clutter up my nice Reader dashboard. I star things in my Reader (especially in my iPad app, which is much simpler than the web-based version), then go through the starred items and pin home or food stuff on Pinterest or use others for work or school (and now Diigo). Then I unstar them. It’s still a pain in the ass but there’s no Diigo or Pinterest apps that work on the iPad so there’s some back and forth.

4. Not putting entire post in RSS

I have a blog. I understand that pageviews are important. But if you put one line in your RSS feed and make me click through for the rest I will just unsubscribe and forget about you.

There’s so much more to RSS that I’m learning, like setting up custom feeds for jobs.

I’ve loved hearing everyone’s experiences with RSS! Katherine made some pipes! I really enjoyed Rhett’s story in class about how he made Net Vibes work for him at his job. And Wally writing about becoming a blogaholic (I should be in recovery for blog addiction, it’s unhealthy!). You all continue to be so inspirational to me, so thank you!!

Social Networking sites as learning spaces

The most disturbing thing I learned in class was that Jess hasn’t seen The Social Network (don’t worry girl, I’m bringing it for you to borrow). While this movie has many flaws (fake cold-weather breath; changing the truth to create a specific narrative; misogyny), it is such a fascinating look at the most important social network of our time from its dorm room beginnings. The questions it brings up–who owns ideas? what if someone makes them better?–are timeless and will continue to arise in our society that values technological advancements.

I think Facebook is a great tool for general learning, to me it does not function as well as Twitter does for learning. I check #adlt641 but I don’t read anything in my fb groups (what I believe people in education want to use). People would have to be retrained to use fb differently.

The answer isn’t making a LMS function more like fb (I don’t want to be friends with people on four places!), but integrating SNS (Wikis, Netvibes, etc) like apps make so much sense. The ways Britt and Jeff were able to manipulate Bb and make it work for our classes have been really eye-opening. Getting other instructors and students to use LMS like we have been is definitely the real challenge.

Google Reader logo from Wikipedia. EW cover from here.


11 thoughts on “Adult 641, Reflection Six

  1. Thanks for your candid responses and sincere honesty, Mel! I imagine that those who are true bloggers must find deadlines difficult. I, too, plan what I am going to blog, but often find that it may not coincide with the topic of discussion for the week. Sometime I need to mull over a class lesson for a week or two before the thoughts gel enough to be placed in a blog. for example, I discovered something about my Coursera account that is bothering me. I relates to something that Joanne wrote in terms of marketing. Do I stop and “feel” the moment and work with the passion that is simmering inside of me or do I do the assigned topic of the day? What to do, what to do? Real bloggers like you must find it difficult to be bound by a weekly deadline? The pressure to meet a deadline is certainly one reason why I abandoned journalism as a possible career years ago!

  2. I haven’t watched the movie that you mentioned, an you know from my blogs, that movies seem to thread through my blogs with regularity. Why don’t you mention this as a instructional tool for this class? We watch “Educating Rita” in Adlt 601, yes? (last year it fell on my birthday…woo hoo!) It was certainly a useful tool to tie in Women’s Ways of Knowing along with other topics of interest to adult learners. It might spark some interesting conversation. Quite frankly, I loved it when my students made connections outside of class and then brought those connections to class. This behavior encourages learners to be accountable for their learning!

  3. Amen on the weekly blogs. I find myself reflecting and finding pieces of class content on a daily basis but it doesn’t always formulate to a substantial blog. I don’t like feeling the pressure to write without inspiration. Blog or no blog, I am still actively learning! By looking at the trends within our class portal, I suspect others may be feeling the weight as well.
    I also agree Britt and Jeff’s use of apps within Bb has made it a friendlier space for learning. Thanks for sharing your Reader tips ๐Ÿ™‚

  4. Hahaha, I’m very sorry to have disturbed you. ๐Ÿ˜‰ I’ve been meaning to rent it through Netflix for a long time but other things keep getting pushed to the top of our queue (should never have given husband the password). I agree with Laurie 100%– we ought to watch it in class! Except, I have no idea where we’d squeeze it in…we’re on a pretty tight schedule, it seems. Anyway, amen from me, as well. I’ve been getting a little behind with my blogs and am feeling somewhat unmotivated to write lately. Things have just gotten so busy! This is a really helpful post, though– thanks for the tips. Now I just need to figure out a blog topic of my own and do some writing. Oh wait…strike that. The presidential debate is coming on in 15 minutes. Yeeeesh! I need about 4 more hours in each day.

  5. Some interesting comments here … and I can add my endorsement to the suggestion that everyone watch The Social Network. Even if “Hollywood-ized”, it makes a fascinating study.

    Just a note about blogging weekly. I agree that this can be tough, but many blog “professionals” (for lack of a better term) note that (1) they write for themselves, not necessarily the outside world, and (2) they make it a routine … because the more they write, the better they write. Go back and rewatch that short Tom Peters / Seth Godin video on blogging. From the comments, I would suggest that some of you still see blogging as an assignment and not personal reflection…and this is natural in academic courses. I still do not blog that often, but I do find value in personal reflection. I am still processing the conference Jeff and I attended last week…and a post will percolate up from that!

    • I like using this blog when I have something specific to write about but I think we (me and my classmates) were suffering through the mid-semester slump. It happens to the best of us. ๐Ÿ˜‰

  6. Pingback: M.Ed, HRD: Jess Hill- Reflections of an adult learner - ADLT 641: Catching up

  7. Thanks for your post. I enjoyed reading the various tricks of the trade that you have for blogging/keeping up with your various information. I have done the same thing as you with making various lists for my blogs. I don’t follow 55 blogs but I do have some outside school ones that I try to keep up with.

  8. Amen to 4 more hours in the day! How refreshing to read your honest comments on the task of the “weekly blog”. For me, it has come down to one thing – discipline – the “D” word no one likes. Nevertheless, pushing through and deciding to record reflections, revelations or just plain routine rhetoric is important. Every week may not yield a “Pulitzer prize award winning post” but it is the commitment to routine practice that builds competence. I don’t like that “D” word any more than others do but it does bring results!

    • Yes, discipline! i have that in my personal blog, but not so much in this one. It’s certainly something I need to work on.

      I also find that it’s easier to do it in pieces–create a blog one day and write it over the course of a week! I think sometimes it helps make my reflection and writing stronger.

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