The End of an Era…
So my time as a contributor to this Urban Design blog has come to a close. But being a part of this innovative learning task throughout the year has been an excellent experience. It is not often that university examination adapts to the technological world, and it is refreshing to see that Urban Design course has chosen to do so.
This has been the first time I have helped to manage a blog. Subsequently, my first posts followed an essay structure, instead of considering them as pieces to be read online. However, on discovery of the readability ratings, my blog posting and commenting saw an improvement.
Interacting with social media has also been exciting. Linking the blog posts to an Instagram account, tagging and sharing those who might be interested and including friends and family in the examination process are particularly exciting aspects of this module – getting likes and comments for university work is certainly a novel experience!
We met as a year group every two weeks to discuss how the blog was progressing. Generally these were positive meetings that allowed us to bring up technical issues with the blog, questions about the course or submissions, and . This allowed us to take control of the process and curate and tailor the blog to our interests. I chaired the final meeting on 08.01.2020 to try and bring across issues I had found with people’s posts (such as readability and SEO ratings), the regularity of posts, and the process (clarity of marking criteria).
However, the phasing of blogs didn’t work so well. We created a rota to try and combat this, but personally I found it difficult to adhere to it. This was because of its lack of clarity, other, more pressing commitments, and occasionally just slipping my mind.
…or the Start of a New One?
The blog format is an interesting way to talk about topical or political issues concerning the profession. In the APL school at Newcastle University, I have taken an active part in writing and managing our zine FOLD. This so far has been the platform from which I have spoken about specific issues in the profession that I find important. Yet the blog provides a slightly different medium to talk about these issues, and its connection to social media is key. It could be exciting to continue writing in this format for personal development.
However, the blog is not a perfect process. One of the key issues was phasing the posts – most have been posted in the last few weeks. We created a rota to try and combat this, but personally I found it difficult to adhere to. This was because of its lack of clarity, other, more pressing commitments, and occasionally just slipping my mind.
Also, there is a lack of formality in blogs. This is a natural effect of linking them to social media, but can be difficult to be taken seriously in a university context. There is a line to be toed when considering a mark scheme.
Whatever the future holds, I will always look back on this blogging experience as a positive one, and it has given me great skills to take into future employment and beyond.