The SoTL Advocate

Supporting efforts to make public the reflection and study of teaching and learning at Illinois State University and beyond…


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Blogging in the SoTLsphere — A bit of reflection and a call for folks contribute!

Written by Jennifer Friberg, Cross Chair in SoTL and Professor of Communication Sciences & Disorders at Illinois State University (jfribe@ilstu.edu)

Almost 5 years ago, while working with Kathleen McKinney (who was then ISU’s Cross Chair) as a SoTL Scholar-Mentor, one of my duties was to establish a blog to share information related to SoTL with campus stakeholders. Though it felt like a reach, we also hoped to engage folks from outside ISU as blog readers and contributors, but we were unsure that would happen. I had blogged before, but solely as a personal endeavor…a diary of sorts that was only shared with a handful of people. Kathleen was completely new to blogging. We knew we had much to learn. Despite all this, and with hope in our hearts, we sallied forth and the SoTL Advocate was born in October 2014.

Our aim was to create a space to encourage discussions about SoTL and highlight interesting SoTL work, varying our content to appeal to a wide variety of stakeholders. We weren’t sure what sort of impact our content had, in terms of reader interest, but our numbers of views continued to increase steadily as you can see from the table below.

Year Number of Views Number of Visitors
2014
(blog launched 10/31/14)
835 493
2015 4306 2202
2016 5869 3764
2017 6692 4501
2018 7633 5154
2019 (through May 1) 3493 2350
Total for life of blog 25,678 18,464

Happily, these views have come from all over the globe, with 250+ views from ten different countries across four continents.

As viewership continues to grow for the SoTL Advocate, so does my desire to not just increase views and viewers. I want to increase stakeholders’ engagement with the blog. If SoTL is a Commons, then blogging about SoTL should be, too. While guest bloggers are featured in this blog from time, to time, my current goal for the SoTL Advocate is to feature the work of a broader number of contributors, representing varied cultural, geographical, personal, and institutional perspectives. Please consider this blog post an invitation to contribute your thoughts about any aspect of SoTL: a project, a reflection, a failed attempt at SoTL, methods that are new or different (to you or to the world!), or advocacy/outreach ideas or case studies. Tell us how you’ve applied SoTL to your teaching/learning contexts. Share what you’re reading. Present point and counterpoint about a hot topic. Let your voice be heard in a new and different way.

Here are the guidelines I offer prospective contributors, in case you — or someone you know — might be interested in contributing a post:

Prospective blog authors should submit blog manuscripts to Jennifer Friberg (jfribe@ilstu.edu), SoTL Advocate editor. Blogs should be approximately 750-1000 words. Blogs should be written in a friendly and accessible manner, absent unneeded disciplinary jargon that might make a general SoTL readership unable to benefit from accessing the content of the post. Visuals (e.g., open source pictures, photos, videos) are encouraged, as more people will “click” on a blog link if a visual is attached!

Submission of a blog does not guarantee acceptance for publication. All blog submissions are reviewed by the SoTL Advocate editor for content and form prior to notification of acceptance status. Blog posts may be conditionally accepted for publication pending revision/clarification. Blogs accepted for posting will be published as soon as possible following acceptance.

Thanks to those of you who have been so very supportive of this blog and the work Kathleen and I started here together. Sustaining a blog isn’t an easy task, but my work here has been and remains one of my favorite SoTL advocacy-type tasks.

Please do consider joining the ranks of SoTL Advocate contributors. Let me know if you have questions!