Friday, July 23, 2010

Blog status: I'm here and I'm elsewhere

After the ruckus over at Scienceblogs recently, I've had some questions about the status of my blog. So here's a late official announcement: I left Scienceblogs permanently last winter. I've been busy lately, and things aren't likely to slow down any time soon, but if I have time and inspiration to continue blogging, I will do it here.

However, I'm also contributing to my department's new blog: FLC Geo News. The new blog will include news about happenings in the Four Corners area (Four Corners Geologic Society, Four Corners Gem & Mineral Club, talks at Fort Lewis College), active geoscience in the Durango area (debris flow videos, Animas River floods and low water, snowfall, avalanches), and stories from the department. I won't be duplicating anything here, so if you visit Durango for field camp (or for work or play) and read this blog for news, you might want to follow the department blog instead.

Why are we making this move? For the past nine years or so, the department has been sending a newsletter to alums and friends of the department. The newsletter started as a collaborative writing exercise for our junior writing class, but it's become important to the department beyond any educational benefit. The writing class is changing to a research methods class (because the college now requires two writing classes that are guaranteed to transfer, and we didn't want to change our class to fit the state's requirements), and that meant that the newsletter assignment no longer fit into any of our classes. At the same time, one of the college's web designers suggested that we add a blog to our department web page. So we decided that we would partly replace our newsletter with a blog.

The plan is, initially, to use the blog to post stories similar to what we've put in the newsletter. That means snow reports, news about student/faculty research projects, and lots of stories about field trips (including field camp). One of the advantages of a blog is that we'll be able to share pictures in color. Another is that we'll be able to share news quickly, and let friends and alums know when faculty and students are coming to their town for a conference. (And yes, we'll be able to give snow reports before everything melts.) We're planning to use the blog posts as the basis for a paper newsletter, for people who avoid the internet. (They exist. No, really, they do.)

I'm hoping that we'll also be able to use the department blog the way the Wooster geology department uses theirs. Their senior geology majors have to do an Independent Study for graduation, and this summer, the students are telling stories and sharing pictures from their field work. The stories are great, and I think it's good practice for the students to tell stories to non-specialists. (We're going to have students give their articles to faculty members to post, too, just like the Wooster department is doing.) We require senior thesis projects, too, and our students also have stories to tell. The blog will allow them to do it (and do it before their papers and presentations are due at the end of the year).

I'm the only one who has posted anything so far. If you want to see pictures from field camp's week backpacking near treeline, come check us out.


Brian Romans said...

Glad to see you're still doing some stuff in the blogosphere ... it's interesting to see how different blogger's venues/topics for writing change as their situations change.

Kea Giles said...

Good news! I really like the Wooster Geologists blog, and I think it's a great idea to get students working on this.