The Academic Blogging Mini-Series has highlighted some of the many benefits of academic blogging. This post by Lorna M. Campbell (LTW), Susan Greig (LTW) and Daphne Loads (IAD) explains how you can use blogging to develop your professional profile and contribute to professional accreditation…
I’ve been blogging for many years now and it’s hard to overestimate the importance of my blog in supporting my career and my professional practice. My blog, Open World, is where I have built my academic identity, it’s where I gather evidence of my skills, keep a record of my professional outputs, and reflect on my experience of working as a learning technologist and open education practitioner. So when I decided to apply to become a Certified Member of the Association for Learning Technology (CMALT), my blog seemed like a natural place to build my professional portfolio. I was supported in developing my portfolio by Susan Greig (CMALT, SFHEA), who provides guidance for CMALT candidates through the University of Edinburgh CMALT cohort scheme.
CMALT accreditation requires candidates to produce a structured portfolio in which they reflect on their recent experiences of working with learning technology. CMALT portfolios may be submitted on any platform the candidate chooses, and, although blogging is not a required part of the portfolio, platforms such as WordPress can be used to develop and submit portfolios as a series of blog posts. Candidates in the University of Edinburgh scheme are encouraged to blog as they develop their portfolio because the process of writing helps them to reflect on their current working practice, and finished posts can later be used as supporting evidence within the portfolio.
Blog posts are also a good way to disseminate practice. The CMALT scheme is underpinned by a series of principles and values, one of which is: “A commitment to communicate and disseminate effective practice”. If candidates are not already actively communicating and disseminating their practice, then blogging, for example, by contributing to a moderated blog such as Teaching Matters, can be a great way to start.
Blogging is also at the heart of the Edinburgh Teaching Award (EdTA), one of the professional development pathways to Fellowship of the Higher Education Academy. Daphne Loads (SFHEA), academic lead for (EdTA), explains that participants are required to demonstrate development of their teaching practice over time, by posting a series of short posts over a period of between six months and two years. Following regular feedback from their individual mentors, they submit their finished blog, along with a record of teaching and CPD activities and letters of support to a panel of assessors. If successful, they are awarded one of the categories of HEA Fellowship (Associate Fellow, Fellow, Senior Fellow or Principal Fellow), depending on their particular roles and contribution to learning and teaching. Blogging is particularly well-suited to writing about the professional values that inform practice as it brings together the personal and the professional and it lends itself to reflection.
Reading candidates’ blog posts is always a pleasure as they are informal and engaging, but also supported with references to relevant reading and research.
~ Daphne Loads, EdTA Academic Lead
To support colleagues to use blogs to develop their professional practice the Academic Blogging Service runs a workshop on Blogging to Build your Professional Profile. To find out more about using blogs to apply for CMALT and EdTa please contact Susan Greig at firstname.lastname@example.org and Daphne Loads at email@example.com, and you may like to read their blog post Building academic community through professional development: The value of reflection and motivation.
Blogging to enhance your professional practice is also the topic of Episode 5 of the Teaching Matters podcast (released later today).