By Molly Wright Starkweather
Kaplan University Writing Center Tutor
One of the most unique opportunities for growing a campus culture in an online university is through clubs and societies. There are many places for students to get plugged in, whether in an honor society like Sigma Theta Tau International Honor Society for Nursing or in a club like Disability Rights, Education, Advocacy, and Mentoring (DREAM). Faculty and staff can get involved in Parenting Group or Night Owls (a professional development group that meets exclusively in the evenings). Another opportunity for fostering an involved campus community is through Writing Across the Curriculum. WAC involves students and faculty focusing on improving writing skills in a supportive, even collaborative way. After all, writing is a lifelong skill that anyone at a university can grow.
What better way to cultivate writing and solidify community at our university than by hosting a group of faculty, staff, and students interested in writing?
An inclusive Bloggers Group provides this very opportunity for the academic community. The group
- focuses on blogging as versatile, engaging writing;
- welcomes bloggers of all interests and skill levels;
- includes faculty, staff, and currently enrolled students at an online or brick and mortar university.
The best part of being in a blogging group is that a member’s identity– whether student, faculty, or staff member– is a badge and not a barrier. What that means is that a student can ask questions and give advice, as can a faculty or staff member, without worrying about the constraints of the classroom or writing for a grade. Bloggers read and comment on each others’ blogs, share their challenges and successes during meetings, and offer each other supportive emails with writing ideas and advice. Meetings are a place for students to participate as aspiring professionals on a more even plane with fellow bloggers who just happen to be faculty or staff members. Just as in course seminars, the expertise of a professor blends well with the experience of a student, but no one is grading anyone for his or her writing or participation. As a writing tutor, I can give advice to a student blogger about hooking the audience, and that same student blogger can give advice to me about embedding videos into my blog.
Blogging to improve your writing is a wonderful journey that gets even better with support from fellow bloggers. Anyone in the university community can start a bloggers group. Do you have a blogging group at your institution?