A new beginning (in more ways than one)

Hi there

As a relatively new EdD student I was somewhat encouraged by my lecturers to get involved in this alien, to me at any rate, concept that is social media. Blogs was the terminology used, and one which I have heard of but didn’t actually know what it, or they were. Please tell me I’m not the only one? I’m a mature student and I know I can’t use age as an excuse, but you can get a bit stuck in your ways and I’m afraid technology has kind of left me behind a bit. Oh I’m not saying that I’m a dinosaur or anything, just a little limited in the technology department shall we say. Emails not a problem but facebook, twitter and all the other equally bewildering social media platforms leave me confused. See how I slotted in the ‘down with the kids’ terminology there? I may be selling myself short actually, I’m not to bad with powerpoint slides either! To be honest, I fear the safety side of it all… if I hit a wrong button, who knows where my information is going. I think that’s what’s stopped me getting involved in social media in the past… until now that is! I’m still nervous, I must admit, but I keep thinking about the saying ‘every day’s a school day’ and that’s why I’ve started this blog. Well that, and the ‘encouragement’ from my lecturers.

Anyway, as you can imagine, my fear and anxiety levels were creeping with every sentence the lecturer was saying. It’s like they were talking in a foreign language and of course I didn’t want to be the only one to put their hand up and ask the dumbest question in the world, so I just went along with it, nodding in all the appropriate places whilst making a mental note to actually do a bit of research on this mystical phenomenon.

If you’ve ever typed in ‘blogs’ into the internet, all you get back is how to build one. I still don’t actually think I’ve seen a proper one. I did however stumble across one website that was actually quite informative but it was trying to sign me up to a hosting site, who charged a monthly fee… I had to pay? Nobody mentioned this! My lecturers never said it would cost me, well maybe they did but in the panic situation, my ears must have turned off. So after about 4 hours toing and froing on the internet I was parched and in need of a coffee and some conversation. Relaying my findings and voicing my frustration at paying, my husband said ‘I’m no expert but can’t you use facebook?’ Genius!

The afternoon was spent creating a new facebook page and using the notes section to write my first blog. That’s what I had read somewhere and they said it worked ok for them, but of course, not for me! I spent a few hours writing my first blog and then posted it. I was trying to make the blog public so that the world and his wife (or husband) could read it but in the process, I think I lost it. I say think because I didn’t delete it, it just went somewhere. See what I mean about hitting the wrong button? When I logged onto my facebook page from my husbands account, it said ‘content not available’. I forwarded my facebook address on my family WhatsApp group, and opened it up from there, but no joy. Needless to say, the air took on a blue tinge. I frustratingly deleted the page and went back to square one.

After a few days searching further and pondering what to do, I made the monumental decision to go ahead and pay for a proper blog. My thoughts focussed on commitment to the blog and necessity for the blog. I decided that I would have time to upload a blog a week (perhaps a little adventurous, or naïve?) and my studies do lend themselves to it, so here I am. After getting in touch with a really nice guy from a hosting company I came across on my internet travels, I checked the credentials of the chap who owns the company using linkedin (turns out quite handy this social media stuff) and he looked ok to me. He answered all my questions, both stupid and technical, well maybe less technical, more ‘reasonably professional’. I’m sure he could tell I was a complete novice, but he was polite and courteous in his replies. More importantly, he put my mind at rest. I then splashed the cash and took the gigantic, and daunting leap into social media.

I suppose what can be taken away from my story is that as long as the barriers to learning are not made of reinforced steel and you have a modicum of interest (even if somewhat ‘encouraged’!), then anything is possible. If I can get my head around social media, and believe me, it is taking some getting around, then anyone can. I will persevere with it, and undoubtedly learn a lot about this new (?) form of communication in the process. Every day’s a school day don’t forget.

I’m hoping to use this blog to share my thoughts and experiences as a mature student on my doctoral journey, and if you would like to share yours with me, on your academic journey, that would be great. That’s assuming I can actually market this thing!… now that appears to be a completely different ball game.

Until the next time, take care.

12 thoughts on “A new beginning (in more ways than one)”

  1. I think this is a splendid start. I had a little difficulty with the blinding yellow but then realised that it was unforgettable and maybe that was in fact a Very Good Thing. If I can muddle up what students are working on and get confused between people with similar names then I surely can’t get muddled if I just remember the brilliant yellow of the blog and associate it with your study!
    There are some wonderful blogs out there. I particularly like Wonkhe (https://wonkhe.com/blogs/) because you can get articles published if anything moves you. One of my favourites is John Field’s The Learning Professor. Try it at https://thelearningprofessor.wordpress.com/ .
    I look forward to reading more!

    1. Thanks for this Peter. Your my first comment, I’m thrilled. I like the yellow too, distinctive and memorable. I’ll check out the links, thankyou.

  2. Its such as you learn my thoughts! You appear to understand
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    1. Hi Will. Thanks for you comments, much appreciated. This is all very new to me, as you’re aware, so any feedback is greatfully received. I’m in the UK. I have put another page on ‘a little bit about me’ so that should give you a bit more of a background to how I got here. Not sure it’s easy to find though if your using a phone. I do need to get my head around the set up of my page, which is going to take me some time, no doubt! But thanks again for your interest. I cant find your blog. You say, the topic is close to your heart, what is that your doing?

  3. Love that Gillian, great read. I look forward to the next installment, I’m a long way off studying at the level you are but hey…anything is possible!

    1. Hey Holly, thanks for your feedback matey. Not sure what my next instalment’s going to be about, depends what I get frustrated about next week when I’m studying. Hey, if I can do it, so can you 🙂 Anything’s possible, if you want it enough.

  4. Oh I truly ‘get’ you here my friend. Back in the good old days people used to try stop me from using FaceBook as a teaching tool. Who knew I was ahead of my time haha. Great first blog and very honest reflective account. What role is this going to take in your teaching going forward? Are you considering online strategies for all units / delivery? Or none at all? Fascinating and if I can help in anyway please shout. Well done and good luck my friend.

    RP

  5. Thanks Rob, Oh, I remember that well… now that was a long time ago!! I wonder if they have changed their mind these days?? Your a veteran at this, and you can certainly teach me a thing or two, I’ll be asking, don’t worry.

    I think online delivery is certainly something that I think will be encouraged. Lockdown is something that has forced this issue, but I think my college are open to this new form of delivery. I do think though that there need’s to be some half way house situation though. I feel that it has worked so far for me as I have built up a relationship with my students first but not so sure it would work without that prior engagement. You need, or I do anyway, to build up the trust and confidence in one another for sessions to play out successfully online.

  6. Hi Gillian, it is great to see you finding your feet in the blogging world, welcome to the crazy world of our online diaries, thought dumps, sharing ideas and opportunities and learning from each other. Although I have been blogging on and off for around 8 years, it’s only this year that I have began a reflective academic blog and that itself is a huge learning curve, so you are not alone. I am looking forward to sharing this journey with you. Lisa

    1. Thanks Lisa,

      Thanks for having a read of my blog, and commenting. This online communication is definitely a mine field, however the more I engage with it the more I am getting my head round it all. Most platforms actually seem similar to me. The issue I have with my blog is what I actually want it for. Do I use it as a forum for my doctorate, and use it, like you say, as an idea sharing platform for others like us, or do I use it as a general forum? Perhaps I can combine the two? I need to work on that conundrum though. I think the issue I have is, how many thoughts can I ‘dump’. I’m thinking of safeguarding personal info here, and the responses I’ll get. Do you think about these issues?

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