Virtual School Meanderings

July 30, 2019

EDTECH537 – Potential Hazards Of Blogging

Earlier this summer, as you were preparing your blogging disclosure, we discussed some of the cautions about blogging. You read through such entries as:

In addition to those earlier items, I’d also encourage you to take a look at:

Now that you have been blogging for a few weeks, have you encountered any situations that have made you feel uncomfortable in your blogging? Are there any potential issues that you could foresee occurring in the future (particularly when school is back in session and you have students, colleagues and an administrator to consider)? How have you or will you deal with these delicate situations?

As I described in the Week 5 overview, please post your response as a comment to this blog entry. For those reading this who are not a part of my EDTECH537 – Blogging In The Classroom course, feel free to leave examples you have experienced.

110 Comments »

  1. My goals in blogging for classroom purposes are modest. What little controversy that may exist, could result from important and stimulating prompts and peer response. I welcome such responses. I’m sure I will offend someone eventually as well, likely by the end of this response. It is not my intention, and I have grown a thick skin in my visual art mentality for my own content consumption. When I focus my intentions regarding the purpose of the blog for students in the classroom, the blog will be offering its intended cuisine; photographic deconstructions and constructive critiques. I may even start over. This would take the practice menu of the first try and refine the cuisine in a more professional and targeted platter for the part of the blogosphere I would consider my audience. Who knows? I may even spring for a premium template.

    My mindset toward blogging is similar to my reaction to all social media. First, I wonder why anyone would listen to me in the first place. Second, I will be very careful what I release. Sometimes that will be nothing (Facebook, Twitter, Instagram). Finally, just how much of my precious remaining life, am I willing to spend on the endeavor? The only remaining impetus I can conjure is for the sake of students. So I will continue to blog in a very narrow focus regarding constructive criticism beyond 537.

    I have already experienced the sting of minor offenses in my nascent blogging. However, I do with those instances what I always do with any offensive comments. I gauge their importance, work to understand their derivation, and use it to test my knowledge and opinions. I have a very workable insight into how I will employ this tool for learners. Currently, I teach learners how to develop thick skins regarding criticism in face-to-face constructive critique sessions. Now I will do the same by extending that reach online and further work to attempt the greater challenge of thickening their skins asynchronously.

    I can imagine a great work around for dealing with any challenges from administration (and I would expect few to none) in my college setting. However, I will make the blog optional. The blog will not exist under the purview of the institution. Learners can do what they want with the link. It will not be available through any mechanism of the college. I will write the URL in disappearing ink on edible paper that learners will be instructed to eat after they bookmark or feed it to their RSS feed. And Hogwarts will be none the wiser.

    Regarding blogging under my own name, no problem. I have the grand luxury of nearing the end of my career. That is to say, I do not foresee interviewing for any new faculty positions. Not unless the system wakes up and permits professors to maintain tenure while migrating. Ain’t gonna go down. However let’s say a miracle occurs and I can take a pill to reverse my age, or tenure is universal. Human Resources departments are so thoroughly frightened of exposure to litigation from applicants regarding hiring committees and level playing fields, that if a blog came to the attention of the committee, HR would shut down the investigation into that blog unless every single applicant to the position had a blog to investigate. It sounds to me that many institutions have exposed themselves to litigation for capriciously investigating faculty candidate backgrounds. But really now, with whom do I kid? I’m talking as if we have any individual rights left in the first place. How silly of me. Do I think it’s the 1960s or something? Certainly not!

    Here’s a dose of controversy for you. We live in the age of Trump-dumb; fake presidents, fact-free rampant lying, and zero constituent representation. We are in the age of gerrymandering and election tampering, with a corporate-owned Supreme Court to protect us. How’s the blogosphere doing in Russia, China, or Saudi Arabia or in Trump’s buddy’s neck of the woods in North Korea? There, put a little mayo on that heap of controversy, and you have a heaping helping of $&%# sandwich. So, if there is a larger delay in my next post, you will all know what happened to me.

    Comment by keithhanz — July 30, 2019 @ 3:04 pm | Reply

    • Keith, what will you do when you post something that you believe to be innocuous, and in this age of a dumbed down society, it blows up on you? For example, take a look at this entry, where I asked a simple question about the data that I found about an online program. Just take a look at the nature of responses that I got, and the tone that the conversation too.

      Comment by Michael K. Barbour — July 30, 2019 @ 4:34 pm | Reply

      • Yes Dr. Barbour, exactly. It will become a fur ball of gnashing teeth and claws quickly. My point was less about religion and more about a lack of quality critical thinking, which was my take on the module reading. If I broach the topic of religion and politics in the process, and some get their dander up. That’s fine too. If it gets threatening or ugly, one can always turn off the switch. Thanks for the link demonstrating the fur ball. It was kind of entertaining even if it seems to go nowhere. I could say the sky is not blue and cause a ruckus. Beyond the challenge, experimentation, and theory of this course, I will likely keep my blog for the classroom focused tightly on art.

        Comment by keithhanz — July 30, 2019 @ 7:11 pm

      • But that’s just the thing… What was limited to religion and politics a decade ago is just about everything now. I mean pick a topic – media, climate, public health, free speech, education, etc. – and the nature of the discussion around it is just as bad. It only takes one dedicated individual and you could have the same type of interaction. So you have to be ready for when, not if.

        Comment by Michael K. Barbour — July 31, 2019 @ 6:45 am

      • I heed your warning. I’m not sure how to prepare other than with prescient reason, however, I will expect the “dedicated individual”.

        Comment by keithhanz — July 31, 2019 @ 1:09 pm

      • Thinking about what you would do when you see it happening or what you would have done when someone else tells you about it is a good start. While each situation is different, it gives you an initial point of contact for what you are and aren’t comfortable doing.

        Comment by Michael K. Barbour — July 31, 2019 @ 1:20 pm

  2. I have been blogging about my teaching since 2015, and have only had one negative experience.

    In general, I’ve received a lot of support and gratitude for what I share. My blog is a little different from many of the blogs we’ve examined in this course in that I only post every 1-2 weeks (less so right now, as I’ve been blogging in this space much more), and my posts are either reflections or strategy-based. My blog is similar in nature and frequency to many of my other teacher-blogger friends.

    My negative experience came from this post on how I use social media in my classroom. Someone found my work email address, then send a fairly anonymous email to me berating me for bad practices. When I chose not to respond, they emailed me again. I handled this by forwarding the message to my principal and our site IT specialist. Our site IT specialist blocked the email address, and my principal thanked me for letting her know.

    Ultimately, nothing came of it, even though I was quite shaken up. My principal reassured me that the person’s opinions were unfounded, and she fully supports what I do in my classroom. Nonetheless, it felt especially uncomfortable because the person chose to send their email to my work email from a fake email account/server, rather than confront me face-to-face.

    I prefer to blog under my own name. I stand behind the work I do in my classroom and at my school, I want my work credited back to me, and I know that my blog can and will provide opportunities. I’ve received requests to present at conferences, been asked to be on podcasts, and had many teachers reach out for more resources. I am grateful to know I am helping other teachers make their classrooms welcoming and engaging places for their students!

    Additionally, blogging under my own names feels more transparent. As a teacher, I really only listen to voices of individuals who are currently in or deeply tied to the field. If an individual has been out of the classroom for a while, I begin to question their relevance. By blogging under my own name, I know I am more appealing to other teachers who are looking for resources and strategies.

    Comment by Mari Venturino — July 31, 2019 @ 7:15 am | Reply

    • Mari, what would your course of action been if that individual had posted a comment on your blog with that or similar content? I ask because a comment on a blog post is much more public than a private e-mail that could have resulted in a your eyes only scenario.

      Comment by Michael K. Barbour — July 31, 2019 @ 7:31 am | Reply

      • I may have done the same thing–let my principal and IT specialist know. Even though it’s my personal blog, it is something that impacts work. However, the person overstepped by finding and emailing me on my work email; that account isn’t listed on my blog or in my contact information.

        Also, I’m not sure how anonymous comments work on WordPress? With comment moderation, I wouldn’t necessarily have to post that comment either.

        Comment by Mari Venturino — July 31, 2019 @ 7:36 am

      • Yes, you do have the option to delete the comment outright. If you have moderation turned on, you could just not approve it (or even send it to spam – as most moderated systems will require an e-mail address). The other option would be to post it, and then either you or your administration comment on it.

        Comment by Michael K. Barbour — July 31, 2019 @ 10:01 am

    • Mari, that sounds like a very challenging situation to be in, and I likely would have had the same reaction as you. I would be curious to know if the person who emailed you even had any connection to education or if they were more of the traditional “internet troll” who was just causing trouble. By not responding and having your IT person block the email, you did not add fuel to their fire, so to speak, which shows your character and professionalism.

      Comment by mspetitmermet — July 31, 2019 @ 9:10 am | Reply

      • Danielle, I don’t think you have to be that much of a troll to take those kinds of actions. For example, there is an issue right now in the Canadian province of Ontario, where back on 15 March the government announced a variety of changes to the education system. Maybe of them fell into the realm of K-12 online learning – or what they term e-learning. Being someone who is actively involved in that area (see here for just how involved), as well as managing the social media for a pan-Canadian e-learning organization, I waited for about a month to collect information before joining the conversation. I am several of my organizational colleagues created this resource related to the announcement and began blogging and tweeting. Our focus was on outlining the lessons from other jurisdictions in an effort to ensure that if the government were going to move down this particular road, this is how it should proceed based on what we already know to ensure that students can have success.

        However, there was one doctoral student who was conducting a case study with a single online program in the province, and she was simply opposed to everything we said. Like most research, what we were presenting had limitations. So there were lots of caveats from our perspective. However, given that the current government in that province is quite right wing; and this particular individual was also someone who fancies themselves a bit of an activist fighting against the evil, neo-liberal, nationalist, hegemonic government; those caveats and limitations became errors or intention oversights by us (who were, admittedly, largely a group of White males).

        Now this doctoral student, soon to be doctoral graduate, wasn’t a troll in the stereotypical sense. But for all intents and purposes, it walked like a duck and quaked like a duck. Yet because she was attending a larger university, and her faculty recognized the opportunity, the university’s marketing folks did a reasonable job of getting her in the media and in front of audiences. As this has been, and continues to be, a public discourse through various social media channels, how do you handle a troll that doesn’t come across as troll-like?

        Comment by Michael K. Barbour — July 31, 2019 @ 1:36 pm

      • What an interesting current events issue! It is so hard to say exactly how to respond to a situation like this, but I defer again to professionalism and remaining true to yourself. As I teach younger students, netiquette and online safety are a huge part of teaching about technology in my classroom. I suppose in an instance like this I would fall back on being polite and trying to understand the other person’s side. However, being a human being, it can be frustrating when someone posts things that we do not believe in and staying polite in conversations as such can be challenging. I know I typically do not post political or controversial things on my personal social media accounts, but every once in awhile this arrises. I feel as though knowing your opinions are not meant to change the mind of others has helped me when things like this have occurred.

        Comment by mspetitmermet — July 31, 2019 @ 3:31 pm

      • Thanks for giving me the context, it makes the situation much easier to understand.

        Comment by mspetitmermet — August 1, 2019 @ 9:25 am

      • And I should note that these two examples are two of the tamer ones. In comparison to some of the earlier ones – and the private Twitter messages some of those folks engaged me in.

        Comment by Michael K. Barbour — August 1, 2019 @ 1:13 pm

    • I’m curious from where the motivation to get combative or aggressive originates on the Internet. It is one thing to flame or troll, and that’s bad enough, but to attack in professional email, that approaches stalking. I think you handled the situation really well. Is it a cowardly gesture to use asynchronous digital communication tools to attack? Or do those engaging in such behavior consider themselves self-righteous crusaders. Or are they simply bitter and lack life, logic or reason? I wonder.

      I had a letter sent to me from a private community member addressed to one of my students c/o myself, and simultaneously addressed to a small local online and print newspaper. I was not sure how to handle the letter. So, I delivered it to the student after arranging our meeting for hand delivery. I told the student that I’m sure that it was none of my business, however, I invited the former student to talk with me after she read the letter if she thought it necessary.

      She came back to me in tears. She insisted on sharing the letter with me. It was filled with vile judgment regarding the images she exhibited in our gallery at the end of the term (her capstone project). The tone of the letter was a puritanical rant on “displaying too much of her skin”. It got worse from there.

      There is , of course, a rich history of the nude in art. I instantly regretted delivering to her the letter. I then spent an hour consoling her in my office with regard to her beautiful artwork and her need to continue, and not to let a hysterical puritan diminish her creativity. This student’s background was full of abuse and psychological trauma, and she did not need the attack she received in that misguided letter. The author of that letter probably walked through life oblivious to the ironic trauma they leave in their wake. I feel strongly about a great many issues, as we all do, however, I have never attacked.

      Comment by keithhanz — July 31, 2019 @ 1:02 pm | Reply

      • Keith, all I can say is wow! I mean I used to be involved in the art community back when I worked in politics, but I just can’t imagine anyone that I knew or even encountered doing something like that. If you had to do it again – without knowing what the letter might say, would you do anything differently?

        Comment by Michael K. Barbour — July 31, 2019 @ 7:47 pm

      • That is such a tough one. I’m conflicted. If it happened again, I might not have a student whom had such terrible challenges in her past to exacerbate this ‘hateful censorship’, therefore making the offense easier to cast aside. I think ultimately this was a strong learning moment for myself and especially my student. So, even bad experiences can net rewards. The person I have the urge to confront is the author of the letter. But, I’ve crossed the path of that sort of individual many times. Most of the time any discourse would be a waste of syllables. Ignoring the hate and working it out with trusted sympathizers might be the only remedy. I feel really good about offering that young lady emotional support.

        Comment by keithhanz — August 1, 2019 @ 5:37 pm

      • Given that they are your student, would you consider opening the letter and gatekeeping it?

        Comment by Michael K. Barbour — August 1, 2019 @ 6:46 pm

      • I gave that serious consideration. I almost felt compelled to do just what your are suggesting for the reason you are suggesting it. The privacy of a sealed letter won over in my mind, so I delivered it sealed. Next time, I will likely open the letter, then determine its intent.

        Comment by keithhanz — August 2, 2019 @ 10:31 am

      • It is a tough call for sure. I can’t say I know what I would do had I been in your situation. Having gone through it once though, you now have the benefit of experience.

        Comment by Michael K. Barbour — August 2, 2019 @ 11:47 am

    • Hi Mari, I also blog under my own name. Similar to you, I stand behind my work, and it also helps to build your personal brand. My blog is around educational technology, so it’s always exciting being at a conference and having someone recognize you from your blog or tell you that they’ve implemented something you’ve posted. I think blogging (and Twitter) is an amazing tool in the education community to share ideas and collaborate on what we’re doing with people around the world.

      Comment by Eric A. Silva — August 4, 2019 @ 6:51 pm | Reply

      • Eric, I was interested by your comment “it also helps to build your personal brand,” as one of the other lines of conversation I’ve been having on this thread is about one’s online brand – or lack thereof. Would you be able to expand on your thinking about this a bit?

        Comment by Michael K. Barbour — August 5, 2019 @ 7:18 am

      • Dr. Barbour, I feel that after you’ve been blogging for a while, you develop your niche area. Therefore, people begin to recognize you with your work. In my case, my personal blog is about various educational technologies, but primarily Blackboard Learn. Having been blogging for several years and sharing my knowledge of the product, it’s helped develop my brand as a “Blackboard Expert.” It’s not something that I call myself, but because of the type of content I produce and my experience that I’m considered an expert amongst the Blackboard community.

        Comment by Eric A. Silva — August 6, 2019 @ 8:18 am

      • Yeah, I have been blogging since March 2005. And while I have developed a bit of a community or brand, the funny thing is that when it comes to my blogging the vast majority of my traffic – like 75%-85% of it comes from people searching for something. So much of the traffic to this site isn’t from the community that I have built my brand around, but based on the fact that I’m quite active so that I pop in a Google search.

        Comment by Michael K. Barbour — August 6, 2019 @ 10:10 am

      • I agree that it is so validating to meet someone who finds what we post useful! Anytime someone says they’ve tried something I shared, it makes me feel excited and happy. It makes the time and effort we put into blogging worth it if other teachers are benefitting, trying new things, and making their classrooms better for students.

        Comment by Mari Venturino — August 7, 2019 @ 2:22 am

      • Mari, one of the interesting things is that search engines preference user generated content. So if you have a static website, but also a blog that gets updated regular, and then a public Twitter stream that you post to multiple times daily. A search engine will often give a higher ranking to your Twitter than you blog, and you blog higher than your website (unless you have a personalized domain name). What this should tell folks is that the more you post on your blog, the more likely people are to just stumble upon your content when they are searching for content you’re posting about.

        Comment by Michael K. Barbour — August 7, 2019 @ 8:48 am

  3. I have only been blogging for about the last 7 months for various courses in my MET program and have luckily not come across any situations that have made me feel uncomfortable. The only interactions that I have on my blog are from classmates and for the time being, that is alright with me.

    One situation that I could see becoming uncomfortable began over the course of the last week as we posted guest blog entries. I really enjoyed the post my guest blogger (my mom) posted on my blog and decided to share it on my personal Facebook as I am friends with many educators. I found the content to be important for general educators and had a great response on my Facebook post. After I posted it I began to worry about what would happen if people started reading the other posts on my blog. I am friends with many parents of my students (that is the culture of my small community) and have posted about things such as the drama their children (and they) have caused in my classroom. I could foresee that if a parent decided to look into my blog, they might not be pleased with what I had to say about the drama in the classroom.

    This type of situation occurs to me as one that could occur in many different settings over the course of blogging. To me, my blog is a place to talk about my classroom, both the successes and the aspects that I could use more support. Blogging is a great way to network with other educators, and there are times when support or suggestions are needed. I could see that to a parent, this may seem as calling their student or students out. To an administrator, it may look like I am tarnishing the image of my classroom and the school. To my colleagues, it could look like I did not value their advice.

    All of these scenarios are realistic and could take place when blogging about my classroom. However, to deal with these delicate situations, it is important that I remain professional and upfront about the purpose of my blogging. It should always be clear that my blog is a networking tool that allows me to grow as an educator and learn from others. Also, I should (and do) ensure that no student names, pictures, or other identifying qualities are posted on my blog. By keeping the information general, I am not intentionally calling out a student or group of students on my blog.

    Although these strategies for mitigating uncomfortable situations on my blog may be useful in some scenarios, the most important thing for me will be to remain authentic and professional in my postings.

    Comment by mspetitmermet — July 31, 2019 @ 9:06 am | Reply

    • Danielle, it is interesting that you mention Facebook. When I was a faculty member at Wayne State University I used to teach a course on Internet in the Classroom, which had students using different Internet-based tools and exploring how they could be used to teaching. One of those tools was Facebook, and we were exploring the use of closed groups. Anyway, one of the students was quite upset with me over a grading issue and posted a comment on the wall of my Facebook profile. At the time I simply deleted it, but in debriefing later with other faculty colleagues online (i.e., not at WSU), I came to the conclusion that I shouldn’t have deleted the comment. I should have responded to it publicly. The comment on my wall was the same thing as the student who acts out in a classroom. You can’t delete that classroom interaction. You have to address it somehow, and my colleagues argued that the same thing would apply in the online classroom. What’s your opinion on this kind of situation?

      Comment by Michael K. Barbour — July 31, 2019 @ 10:20 am | Reply

      • I agree that it needs to be addressed publicly to a point. In my classroom in face-to-face interactions, I do not address all behavior issues in the moment. In fact, most of the time I wait until that student is alone with just me to give them the opportunity to have a discussion in a calm manner. I might in the moment say something to the effect of, “we can talk about this later”, but rarely do I handle the situation where other students can see. In that sense, I would make a general comment on the post such as, “I appreciate your feedback, we can talk about this in further detail via email” (or whatever media makes the most sense in the context). That way, it is clear that the student is valued through your response, but also you value the student to the point that you want to give them privacy to the matter.

        I do understand that this is not the solution to all problems of this nature, but in the spirit of Love and Logic, publicly “calling someone out” (even if the student did it first) is not my typical style.

        Comment by mspetitmermet — July 31, 2019 @ 11:32 am

      • At the time it happened, one of my colleagues said it was like threw a spitball onto the “online blackboard” and the student – as well as those watching – waiting for the teacher to respond in some way.

        Comment by Michael K. Barbour — July 31, 2019 @ 11:43 am

    • I think you did a good job of talking about the drama in your classroom. You spoke in general terms and didn’t talk about any specific incidents or students. I think if parents from your classroom saw it they would not be bothered by it. Of course, I understand though that there is always the concern of how people will react. If that happens, I think you are right that you just need to be clear and professional with your intentions.

      Comment by Hannah Fast — August 1, 2019 @ 1:15 pm | Reply

      • Danielle, based on Hannah’s comment, I went back and re-read your discussion question entry. It is really only the second paragraph that I suspect you might be a little on edge about. As someone who taught in a small community myself, unless the parents were just clueless or felt that their child could do no wrong, I suspect that this was probably a known issue (as I’m betting it continued outside of the school setting). In fact, the way you have it written there, I could envision you even making some of those comments during a parent-teacher interview (not sure if you did raise it in that setting, but the general and descriptive nature of the comments led me to believe that you could have).

        Comment by Michael K. Barbour — August 1, 2019 @ 1:26 pm

      • Thank you! It was the kind of talk that I have had in parent-teacher conferences and I tried to keep it general enough that there were no identifying factors. However, having only 14 students it is challenging to keep it unidentifiable. So far I have had no backlash from it, but could see that it could potentially be an issue.

        Comment by mspetitmermet — August 4, 2019 @ 2:22 pm

      • Yeah, I taught in a small community like that myself. The students – and their parents – knew how well I did in darts on Wednesdays based on whether my car was in my driveway or still at the local bar (i.e., the better I did, the more likely I was there latter and decided to walk the 0.4 mile home). They knew if I made it down to my buddy’s shed to play cards or darts or whatever on Friday nights. They knew where I ate out (granted, there were only about three or four places to do that).

        Comment by Michael K. Barbour — August 5, 2019 @ 7:12 am

    • I haven’t got too personal in my blog posts yet as I am still new to the concept, but I could sense it may cause anxiety when I finally do. I worry that someone may view what I write in the wrong perspective than intended and the unnecessary drama it may bring. I think the topics you write about are very helpful to understanding the perspective of teaching, and written in a non-harmful way. Hopefully no one views it negatively!

      Comment by Jake Dalton — August 6, 2019 @ 3:04 pm | Reply

      • Jake, if you have your comments set to moderation you have the ability to ward off some of that drama.

        Comment by Michael K. Barbour — August 6, 2019 @ 9:09 pm

  4. My experience with blogging has only dealt with presenting assignments as a student, and I have never blogged about a topic that has made me uncomfortable or received negative responses. I do see myself using blogging in the future for my professional career and if I do ever cross over into the teaching field.

    Any online writing presence whether it be on social media or blogging needs to be prepared to expect negative responses especially if the topic may be considered controversial to some people (even if the author did not intend it). The world is very sensitive these days and whether the author presents their opinion with or without bias, some people may just not agree and respond with anger. If you are creating prompts and questions for students to engage with each other, you may encounter hostility. I feel you should always discuss how students should present themselves professionally because that is a skill they will need to practice in the real world.

    For myself, I view blogging the same way I would for my social media profiles. Using online etiquette techniques and presenting yourself professionally is a must. If what you write is something you would not say in a face to face setting, you should probably not be writing it online. Especially since blog posts are not private, and your name is attached so your reputation could be at stake. I will always use my name on my blog posts and for that I got to be open for others to disagree with what I write. A healthy debate is ok, but when it becomes personal and attacks start flying that’s when it should stop. There is also the anonymity that comes with the internet. Just like social media, anyone could create a fake email to reply to your blog with hate filled messages. Even if this happens you must stay civil and not give in. Best off not replying especially with anger.

    Comment by Jake Dalton — July 31, 2019 @ 9:47 am | Reply

    • Jake, you mention social media, which got me thinking about my own Twitter experience (and if you didn’t get a chance to review this issues in the Week 2 content, I describe the experience here). After reviewing this experience, what are your initial thoughts in relation to your own use of these tools?

      Comment by Michael K. Barbour — July 31, 2019 @ 11:05 am | Reply

      • I have been using the internet since the days of dial of up having been a part of many online forums and I still do not fully understand the cyber bullying troll fascination people have. It is obviously worse now days with the popularity of social media and the current climate of the world. What is weird is that it is not a specific demographic that seems to be the major issue either. The anonymity that comes with using these online tools gives people the ability (or feeling) to hide or shield themselves from repercussions. However, people take for granted just how private online conversations can be as we commonly see in news threads of someone who said the wrong thing get their life turned upside down.

        It is situations like that that would make me nervous about utilizing such technologies in a course. A lot of good and cool things can come from using social media for learning activities but unlike learning management systems like Blackboard that keep outsiders out of the institution, you risk trolls and cyber bullying. I think it also depends on what you are teaching that could make a difference to attract these trolls, like controversial subjects. I have had courses use social media in learning lessons since my undergrad days, but it has applied to edtech and computer science related matters so I have not had a bad experience (yet).

        My professional experience with education has only been with adult based learning and I know adults can be just as nasty as kids online, but I feel that a level of maturity may help to keep things in order (maybe). No matter the age range, if you use such technologies you should also teach how to be a good digital citizen and netiquette techniques. It might also be useful to teach how to handle bad situations like the one you had.

        With social media I keep separate accounts for personal and professional uses to prevent anything that can be negative or unwanted from crossing over. The algorithms and functions of these applications sometimes work in weird ways. I have had a personal Twitter account for almost 10 years, but I never posted anything of my own. Earlier this year, I made a professional Twitter account for coursework and work purposes but never ran into any issues like you experienced. I will admit I did not know the terms of service and how I would even handle a situation like yours. I do not blame you for removing using Twitter as a requirement because the length it took to get those posts removed was ridiculous. I work remotely and by contract, and if my name was being thrown around that way it could easily ruin my career. Basically it comes down to if you want to roll the dice or not and take the risk.

        Comment by Jake Dalton — August 2, 2019 @ 10:36 am

      • In my case, I had the benefit that my attacker had a history of doing that kind of thing, and using the same kind of tactics and slander. But it was disappointing how much effort it took to get Twitter to act. Given that I’m based in the north Bay Area, I had considered driving in to San Francisco and showing up at their headquarters on Market Street, asking for something to be done. My university were quite supportive, and worked with me hand-in-hand to get the stuff done. Additionally, since it was a group of us that he was attacking, we were able to use our collective resources – one of which was that one of the faculty being attached had a friend that worked at Twitter. So we would send in our case numbers to that individual to get them escalated.

        I did learn that many of these companies outsource the dealing of these complaints, and those individuals often get paid by the number of cases they close. It is easy to close a case when all you have to do is click on button that says no, it doesn’t constitute whatever the person is claiming, and then a section button to indicate which section of the terms of service allows it.

        Comment by Michael K. Barbour — August 2, 2019 @ 11:55 am

    • Jake, I really like the statement you made on viewing blogging the same as social media. I feel that this is so important given that employers are now searching for people’s social media profiles online. Between this and internet trolls, I try to blog mostly about factual items and not discuss controversial subjects.

      Comment by Eric A. Silva — August 4, 2019 @ 7:09 pm | Reply

      • Eric, I’m fascinated by your comment about “factual items,” because in many cases facts are quite subjective. I was actually reminded of a conversation that I was having with a colleague, who ask if I could recommend some respected researchers related to charter schooling and school choice. My response to her include:

        I’d also suggest that “the most respected researchers” are largely based on the perspective that you have. Those who are in favour of charter schools and/or school choice would see the work of the Center for Research on Education Outcomes, the Center on Reinventing Public Education, or the Mackinac Center in Michigan would be seen as respected. However, those with a more progressive perspective would point to the researchers of the National Education Policy Center are being respected – and would claim methodological creativity, even fallacy, in the work of those from CREDO, CRPE, and Mackinac.

        ….

        So, even using your criteria of “academic researchers who use sound methods and do not have a starting bias,” if you asked someone like Robert Maranto (see http://www.uaedreform.org/robert-maranto-phd/ ) who are the respected folks, you’d get a very different answer than if you asked Kevin Welner (see https://www.colorado.edu/education/kevin-welner ) the same question.

        CREDO, CREP, and NEPC would all contend that they are dealing in factual items, so would Bob and Kevin. But their facts would not only not argue, but would actually contradict each other!

        Comment by Michael K. Barbour — August 5, 2019 @ 7:24 am

      • Yeah if you plan on blogging it is probably best practice to stick to subjects you would be willing to defend in front of potential or current employers. As for the factual topic argument, I try to aim that way myself but that’s not so easy these days as so many subjects can be seen as offensive in some way. Sometimes it makes me rethink if I should even put my opinion into research topics I post about.

        Comment by Jake Dalton — August 6, 2019 @ 2:55 pm

      • Well, no one took Keith up on his comment about the issues of everyone having their own set of facts to back up whatever opinion they want to express. I was hoping to see a bit of a discussion on that one.

        Comment by Michael K. Barbour — August 6, 2019 @ 9:01 pm

  5. There are a couple of things that make me feel uncomfortable. First, I’m not huge on letting people know my opinions. I definitely have opinions and share them with those that are close to me but I don’t feel comfortable writing about them on the internet where everyone can see them. Secondly, once something is posted then it’s out there forever. Just like one of the articles said, even your Grandma can read it. I’m not a controversial blogger and only post things that are family-friendly and anyone can read but the permanency bothers me especially because the audience can be so wide-reaching on a blog. Not like a private conversation where you have a small and specific audience.

    I was sure to use my real name on my blog. I have had experiences with people that have blogged under another name just to cause trouble or to be hurtful. If you have ever had that experience you can see how hurtful it can be. Using my real name is important to me because I want people to know that I’m authentic. Since I use my real name I have to be careful when sharing real-life examples or stories. I would never want to break a confidence or disclose information that I shouldn’t. At this point, I’m just sharing with my fellow online students but someday I might be sharing with a larger audience, who knows? So that might be another tricky or delicate situation that could arise in the future.

    Comment by Tanneil Kuchynka — July 31, 2019 @ 4:32 pm | Reply

    • Tanneil, this is an older entry – http://notofgeneralinterest.blogspot.com/2012/04/can-blog-have-identity-crisis.html, and the topic has nothing to do with the reason I’m posting it. But in that entry there are links to several bloggers from higher education that don’t blog under their real names. Many of these folks I followed for years, and I would consider almost all of them authentic.

      Comment by Michael K. Barbour — July 31, 2019 @ 7:59 pm | Reply

      • Michael, Oh yes, I completely understand other bloggers are authentic even if not using their real name. That works well for them and I’m ok with that. I just mean for me personally I want to be transparent. I know it depends on the person and different things work better for different people.

        Comment by Tanneil Kuchynka — August 1, 2019 @ 6:58 am

      • One that always comes to mind for me is ProfGrrl – who I don’t believe is blogging anymore actually. But she was an assistant professor in a critical studies discipline at a small liberal arts university in the Midwest. I followed her blog for four or five years, and she used to post one or twice a week. It was a collection of things from her field, life as a junior faculty member, life in the academy in general, and what it was like to be a young, female academic. It was always fascinating stuff!

        But because much of what she said was personal and specific to her employment situation, and being a junior faculty member that didn’t have tenure – as well as being in a small field where almost everyone knew everyone – she felt that she couldn’t use her real name for fear of something happening to her professional status or her employment.

        Comment by Michael K. Barbour — August 1, 2019 @ 9:20 am

      • Michael, That would be the tough part of it. I think it depends on your intentions and how you would like to use your blog. In her case, it was a good choice to use an author name. I can see how this would be important depending on what kind of blog you are writing.

        Comment by Tanneil Kuchynka — August 1, 2019 @ 12:56 pm

      • I agree. I take some very specific, defined, and definitive positions on political and ideological issues on my own blog – and I blog in my own name. But I’m in a large field (although admittedly a very small sub-field), and I do recognize that I’m a White male that doesn’t have to face many of the biases and discrimination that some of my colleagues that aren’t encounter.

        Comment by Michael K. Barbour — August 1, 2019 @ 1:12 pm

    • Tanneil, I also am hesitant to write opinion posts. Although, I have no problem writing transparent reflection posts on my teaching blog. As teachers, we have to be careful about how we present our opinions on social media. Do you think being comfortable with posting opinions on your blog comes with more experience? I’m not sure the answer to that one.

      Comment by Mari Venturino — August 3, 2019 @ 10:03 am | Reply

      • Mari, I think if your opinion is based on factual information, I think you might be safer. For example, I take some very specific opinions about various issues related to K-12 distance, online, and blended learning; but I always like to think that they are based on the data that is available based on research in the field. So I feel comfortable taking very specific positions based on my opinions.

        Comment by Michael K. Barbour — August 3, 2019 @ 10:43 pm

    • Putting my opinion out in the world is not something I am exactly comfortable with myself. I always take precautions and avoid anything negative or harmful to myself or organizations I am a part of. I just follow the same practices as I would with anything else that could be seen by my professional network. If you wouldn’t say it at work, you probably shouldn’t post it on the internet. Any negativity involving my name may hurt my career and any organization I have ties too. I also find blogging under a pseudo name to be a bit misleading. I only see it as potential for false narrative but I may just be relating it to trolling as I do not actually know of a blogger who doesn’t use their real name.

      Comment by Jake Dalton — August 6, 2019 @ 3:32 pm | Reply

      • Jake, I’ve seen a lot of folks that blog under pseudonyms for professional reasons. They can still be authentic without using their real name. They just need to keep certain aspects of their identity hidden from their professional network.

        Comment by Michael K. Barbour — August 6, 2019 @ 9:22 pm

      • Jake, I think in the humanness of education, attaching a name to a blog helps with credibility. At least, that’s how I feel when I’m reading blogs, especially when looking for classroom resources. That’s not to say individuals who blog under pseudonyms are bad or wrong, it just doesn’t feel as, welcoming (? Not sure the word I’m looking for, hopefully this makes sense).

        Comment by Mari Venturino — August 7, 2019 @ 2:30 am

      • Mari, I have to disagree with you here. I do believe that you could be just as welcoming using a pseudonym. I’ve used the example of Profgrrrrl before. Unfortunately, she doesn’t maintain a web presence anymore, but using the Internet Archive you can see her presence at https://web.archive.org/web/20140518075755/http://profgrrrrl.com/, and if you spend some time reading through her entries I think you’d find it just as welcoming as if she blogged under a real name. I think the problem for her was when stuff like this happened. Being an untenured, female academic in a small department at a small university in a small town, I can see why she would not use her real name. And there are a lot of academic that have done this – for example, see this blogger or this blogger – both of whom actually reference Profgrrrrl in the entries I have linked.

        Comment by Michael K. Barbour — August 7, 2019 @ 9:05 am

      • Michael, we’re talking about two different types of blogs here. Reflective blogs that are more like web journals, sure, pseudonyms are just fine. Profgrrrrl hasn’t written since 2013, and her blog reminds me of our high school LiveJournal days. However, when I’m looking for lesson ideas and classroom practices, I want them attached to a real teacher.

        Comment by Mari Venturino — August 7, 2019 @ 7:34 pm

      • I think that is one of the difficulties with the Internet Archive access… Profgrrrrl post almost 2100 entries over the years, but the archive only captures about a dozen of them. Interestingly, during that time she did blog about most aspects of the academy. Everything from ideas or challenges of teaching large first year general sections to strategies or requests for ideas for small, graduate seminars. She spoke of the annual review process, as well as promotion and tenure journey, for a female in a male dominated field. She provided tips for academic writing and presenting, and asked for advice on those same topics. She spent a lot of time on entries related to the interpersonal aspects of working within a small department, at a smaller university – and many of these entries were about things that she had done in successfully navigating that space and also describing disasters that she experienced and hoping for guidance from her community. As her own academic and life journey progressed, more of her posts were focused on work-life balance between the demands of the academy and the new family that she was creating. Even the trials and tribulations of being a working mom in higher education. The fact that she felt the need to blog under a pseudonym didn’t make her any less of a real academic or make her advice or experiences any less real. But the higher education workplace being what it is, I think most understood that she couldn’t be that open, that vulnerable, that honest in a public space and not face retribution from her colleagues, leadership, institution, and even field.

        Comment by Michael K. Barbour — August 8, 2019 @ 11:00 am

  6. I don’t have any issues when it comes to blogging because WordPress and Blogger allow me to moderate the comments that I receive. Therefore, I have the option of deleting any negative or approving any positive comments. However, I haven’t received any negative comments because my readers are awesome.

    Also, I used to work in a field where I had to review comments and report the negative comments that I couldn’t remove. Hence, I learned that it’s good to know how to dispute or else you might fail to convince the support team. Furthermore, I learned that there’s always a reason as to why someone wants to argue. Thus, it might help to try to understand why to determine how you should handle that situation.

    Nevertheless, what’s the point of blogging if you’re going to be worried about what others might say or think? In other words, blogging should be about having fun unless it might cause an issue with your co-workers or employer. Hence, I don’t recommend using your real name or full name if you’re posting something that might cause you to get fired. Most of all, don’t post anything that you might regret later.

    Comment by Dianna — July 31, 2019 @ 9:26 pm | Reply

    • Dianna, are there other strategies for dealing with this beyond deleting or removing the comments. For example, in this School of Tomorrow entry, I could have deleted over half of the comments as being off topic, irrelevant, and just downright negative. Instead I chose to engage and try to highlight or illustrate how off topic, irrelevant, and uninformed those individuals actually were. I think the interactions with Patti later in the conversation are particularly appropriate.

      Comment by Michael K. Barbour — July 31, 2019 @ 9:30 pm | Reply

    • Dianna, I really like this feature too. It’s nice to have the option to not post. I’m not worried about negative comments as each of us are entitled to their own opinion. I am more worried about someone posting something inappropriate or a spam link to an inappropriate website. I even see this on Facebook from time to time.

      This approval feature is necessary for some things. For example, our local funeral home has a comment thread on people’s obituaries. There is always a delay as they moderate to make sure comments are appropriate, I think this is a great feature for certain things like this.

      Comment by Tanneil Kuchynka — August 1, 2019 @ 7:07 am | Reply

      • The examples that you provide are interesting ones Tanneil. I know for me my spam filter that WordPress has gets rid of almost all of the inappropriate. I’m not sure if this is because I have been blogging for so long that the filter has just been trained that well, or if their own algorithms are just better now. But I do know that when I first started I had to identify things as spam much more frequently, whereas now I can’t recall the last time I had to do it. How has the automated spam filter been working out for folks in EDTECH537 this semester – particularly those of you using Blogger and Edublogs?

        Comment by Michael K. Barbour — August 1, 2019 @ 9:24 am

      • Michael, As a new blogger I have not gotten any spam so far. I was just thinking further down the road or if you have a blog that has more traffic than mine. ;)

        Comment by Tanneil Kuchynka — August 1, 2019 @ 1:09 pm

      • Interesting… I’ve been blogging for so long that I don’t recall how much spam I got early on. Does anyone have any items that WordPress, Blogger, or EduBlogs just sent directly to their spam folder? You may have to go to your dashboard, click on comments and then check to see what might be in the spam folder manually (as, in theory, these programs should send most stuff there automatically without you even knowing).

        Comment by Michael K. Barbour — August 1, 2019 @ 1:18 pm

      • I’ve been checking the spam folder, and have received none so far in this course.

        Comment by keithhanz — August 1, 2019 @ 5:49 pm

      • Keith, that is good to know. Thanks!

        Comment by Michael K. Barbour — August 1, 2019 @ 6:46 pm

      • That’s a really interesting example, and one I’m sure families and friends appreciate. There’s a time and place for different comments. As I tell my students, we have inside thoughts and outside thoughts!

        Comment by Mari Venturino — August 7, 2019 @ 2:34 am

      • Inside thoughts and outside thoughts… I’ll have to remember that concept.

        Comment by Michael K. Barbour — August 7, 2019 @ 9:07 am

    • I like the ability to moderate comments and could see that being very helpful if my blog received a lot of traffic, especially from people I do not know. If your blog becomes very popular it may become too much of a hassle to moderate every comment so you have to ask yourself at what point do you allow comments without moderation?

      Comment by Jake Dalton — August 6, 2019 @ 3:12 pm | Reply

      • Even if you blog isn’t that popular it is still useful. I have posted a half dozen shy of 22,000 entries. However, I’ve only had just under 8,750 comments left. That’s less than one comment each 2.5 entries. But I still have my blog set to moderate everyone’s first comment.

        Comment by Michael K. Barbour — August 6, 2019 @ 9:14 pm

  7. This class is, for the most part, the first time I have ever blogged. I did have to write a couple blog posts in college but only a few other students in the class saw it. I have also contributed to a friend’s blog where I baked pies for Pi Day. Other than that, I am pretty new to blogging so I haven’t experienced any problems with it.

    Posting your personal ideas and feelings can be a bit nerve-racking. It’s hard knowing that if you regret what you have posted later that deleting it won’t do the trick. My mom was a law librarian and she would use The Way Back Machine all the time to do research for attorneys. She would pull up websites or posts from many years ago. I remember when she showed me this as a teenager it definitely made me think carefully about what I posted online.

    Another thing I have heard a lot is employers Google searching your name after an interview and looking at your blog. For the most part, I believe that if a prospective employer looked at my blog and chose not to hire me because of it, then it is probably not the right job for me. I would hope an employer would appreciate what I am writing about. I do know though that one poor choice in a post could come back to haunt someone, which I don’t think it should.

    Overall, I think what’s most important to me is to be careful what I post. If I post something that offends someone though I would not delete the post or the comment right away but would rather want to engage in a polite conversation with the person. I would want to try to understand their perspective.

    Comment by Hannah Fast — August 1, 2019 @ 1:06 pm | Reply

    • Hannah, I Google every individual that applies when I am part of a hiring committee. Personally, in this day and age, I’m almost just as concerned with the ones that I find little or nothing about, as I am the ones I find negative or questionable things about. Finding little to nothing about a person means one of two things: 1) they have enough knowledge to make all of their activity private, but not enough knowledge to know how to cultivate a positive web presence; or 2) they simply don’t use the tools. As a teacher and academic, I have concerns recommending either of those individuals for a position in the K-12 or higher education environment.

      Comment by Michael K. Barbour — August 1, 2019 @ 1:16 pm | Reply

      • That’s fascinating. Under this umbrella, I would be passed over from my carefully managed social media presence. I wonder who is in control, the educated professionals or the haters? If I did that on a formal hiring committee, I would be removed by HR admins and an alternate would be placed in my stead.

        Comment by keithhanz — August 1, 2019 @ 5:58 pm

      • Keith, you really believe that you’d be removed from a hiring committee for investigating your applicants?

        As an aside, I did an incognito search on just your name with no other terms. This is what came up.

        Comment by Michael K. Barbour — August 1, 2019 @ 6:52 pm

      • You would not believe the hiring committee orientation “talking to’s” that I have tolerated regarding faculty or admin positions. Realistically, if I searched on my own equipment, the college would be none the wiser. However, if they were aware of the “out of school” search say in my college office computer, they would indeed thank me for my service as they showed me to the committee door. We can’t even ask our own questions unless the exact question is asked of every applicant. It’s nuts. The questions are scripted and read to the applicant in the interviews.This is done in the spirit of fairness, I know, still, It smacks a bit of Russia.

        On the search on my name, I noticed the Facebook item. I don’t have a Facebook page. My ex-wife initiated that account against my will. And there I am, right where I don’t belong. Laughing.

        Comment by keithhanz — August 2, 2019 @ 10:50 am

      • It is also important to note that while your institutional faculty profile pops first, the RateMyProfessor entry for you is what pops next. Now I suspect you have some input into the first, and likely none into the second. This is a good example of what I described to Jake below, about your web presence being curated by others. I’d argue that you want what I find about you to be things that you want to put out there. By not putting anything out there yourself, you allow others to curate your online persona.

        Comment by Michael K. Barbour — August 2, 2019 @ 11:46 am

      • Michael, I think you are right that it would be just as concerning to find nothing about someone when you search them online as it would be to find questionable things. I do agree with others too that it is better to curate your own presence online rather than letting others curate it for you. Actually what everyone has said made me do a little Google search of myself. I have most of my social media accounts on private and set so you can’t search them through Google. What I noticed though is someone with the same name has a Twitter account that came up. They had some very inappropriate things posted on there. It made me worry that people could possibly think that’s me, and made me think that maybe I should change my settings on my Twitter account so it would show up in a Google search. I’ll have to think about it.

        Comment by Hannah Fast — August 2, 2019 @ 3:36 pm

      • Hannah, I hadn’t thought about this issue of mistaken identity, but as you rightly note that it is can be quite common with social media accounts. So many people use these very small group pictures or a symbol or a pet or something other than themselves as their profile image, as well as not included that much in the way of a description of themselves in their profile. And if some of the content could be applied to your context (e.g., another teacher or at least someone posting about education) or your demographics (i.e., same approximate geographic), it would be quite easy for someone to assume it was you.

        BTW, when you Google yourself, be sure to use incognito mode – as Google collects information on what you click and a regular Google search will preference sites you frequent.

        Comment by Michael K. Barbour — August 3, 2019 @ 6:58 am

      • “Rate My Professor, or Teacher” is the quintessential example of a useless source of information. Love or hate, it’s a popularity contest, or misguided retribution, and therefore, meaningless. Imagine if students had to suffer a ‘Rate Your Student’ site. I have no interest whatsoever of impressing anyone who uses that site, let alone their opinion of my teaching after visiting it. If someone uses that site as a valid source of information, it says more about their character then my own. The chili pepper icon for judging an instructor’s physical appearance is an example. It’s debased, petty, superficial, demeaning, and libelous.
        And this hits my main point with the social use of the Internet. It’s like social behavior in any situation. The trolling, stupidity and superficiality happens first and foremost. Every one cowers from offense or defense, panicked about revealing what they hold to be true or hurting someone’s overly sensitive feelings. One has to fend off a tumult of garbage to get to something fair and of value. I believe this is due to a lack of education and that education is the cure. If we can just get more people to value education and be brave enough to stand up to any onslaught.

        Comment by keithhanz — August 3, 2019 @ 11:50 am

      • I agree that RateMyProfessor is a bad site. But imagine that you applied to a position at my institution and THIS was all I was able to find about you online.

        Comment by Michael K. Barbour — August 3, 2019 @ 10:55 pm

      • Agreed those are ‘sad-slim-pickens’. Perhaps the answer is in the application docs. A quality candidate will likely have extensive documentation of their peer and student evaluations, and be proud to share those documents if they are not already required. When I interview Associate Faculty for our department, I place heavy emphasis on the f2f meeting and specifics regarding their education and teaching experience. I expect that the position I am offering is where the candidate will experience important growth in teaching with my leadership. I can’t expect stellar teaching practice for the paltry sum offered part-time instructors. Our entire system rides on their under-paid backs. I say this for the entire higher educational system. The first time I looked at an online site regarding one’s teaching record was my own profile force fed to me by a family member, and then the example you linked.

        Comment by keithhanz — August 4, 2019 @ 10:07 am

      • Keith, I think you are missing the point a bit. It isn’t that most individuals would’t recognize RateMyProfessor or RateMyTeacher for what it is. It isn’t that a committee would take what they find at these sites over submitted teaching evaluations that you bring with you to the interview. But when the committee is sitting around together in a room, and we’re finalizing the short list of the 5-8 we want to telephone interview or the 2-4 we want to bring on to campus (i.e., in both cases you’re looking fr reasons to elevate someone or drop someone), if the only thing shows up when I Google you is the kind of negative information that shows up at RateMyProfessor or RateMyTeacher – I’m sorry, but that person is getting dropped by most committees.

        Comment by Michael K. Barbour — August 5, 2019 @ 7:09 am

      • I truly appreciate and comprehend your point. All I’m trying to communicate is that at my college, for good or bad, we would not be given the choice and luxury of the process you describe. It took our institution fifteen years to realize we were starting our searches way too late, thereby, missing the quality candidates scooped up by more efficient institutions. I’m describing a somewhat ‘townie’ mentality to the hiring process. It is better than it used to be.

        Comment by keithhanz — August 5, 2019 @ 9:06 am

    • A lot of employers I have worked for in recent years searches for new candidates and current employees digital footprint to see what they are saying and posting online. I think people need to realize and be taught just how public the internet really is to world before it is too late.

      Comment by Jake Dalton — August 2, 2019 @ 10:46 am | Reply

      • Your so right Jake, still, I’m saddened by the chilling effect this has on discourse. I refuse to let the important point you share affect my courage. I do have to admit, however, that a great deal of my courage is facilitated by tenure and the fact that I am nearing the end of my career. At this point I feel a bit more like John Cleese yelling from the ramparts of the castle in “Life of Brian”.

        Comment by keithhanz — August 2, 2019 @ 10:57 am

      • Jake, the reality is that people are creating an online presence for you – so you might as well participate. I’m thinking less about the social media stuff or what a person might post. I’m thinking a basic website through Google Sites or some other free service. I recall when I was on a K-12 hiring committee and the only thing I found in my Google search on an applicant for a secondary social studies position was the negative comments of several students on RateMyTeacher.com. I mean those comments will still be there, but if that individual had created a basic [insert_name}.wordpress.com or sites.google.com/site/[insertname] and put up a page with a bio or resume or a sample lesson or whatever. That would have popped before the RateMyTeacher based on Google’s algorithm. For me it is less about finding negative stuff the individual posts, but more often than not negative stuff posted by others about the individual and little stuff from the individual themselves.

        Keith, it is interesting that you mention tenure. I was on the tenure track at my two previous institutions, but left both before I went up. I’m at an institution now that has three year rolling contracts and no tenure, and I have to say I’m not sure I feel or act any differently. I think it is more the academic freedom, and the fact that each institution I have worked at has believed in the the principles that it stands for, that has given me the confidence to take whatever positions I feel need to be taken.

        Comment by Michael K. Barbour — August 2, 2019 @ 11:43 am

      • Three year rolling contracts sounds interesting. I had not heard of such a policy prior to you sharing the idea. The vast majority of administrators holding power to hire and let us say ‘insure one’s success elsewhere’ are wonderful, fair people. So what, that type of leader should be compulsory and the sort that all faculty should expect in collaboration. It is the rare weasel that prefers passive aggression and the use of the ‘knife-in-the-back’ method of destroying departments, careers and the security and academic freedom tenure assures. I have come across three really deplorable examples during my tenure. Interestingly enough, one was so bad that they were on their way to prison when they first died of liver failure. The person to whom I refer is reason enough for the protection tenure provides.

        Comment by keithhanz — August 3, 2019 @ 11:15 am

      • Keith, it is an interesting model – and more common in private institutions than you think. We can be on one, two, or three year contracts. Most faculty are on three year contracts. But faculty can be let go at will based on enrollment. And even if you are on a three year contract, each March the administration can inform a faculty member that they won’t be renewed the following year (i.e., so they have one year to find a new position).

        Comment by Michael K. Barbour — August 3, 2019 @ 10:51 pm

  8. […] EDTECH537 – Potential Hazards Of Blogging […]

    Pingback by Statistics for July 2019 | Virtual School Meanderings — August 1, 2019 @ 8:45 pm | Reply

  9. Up to this point in the course, the only situation that made me feel uncomfortable was writing the Examining Generational Differences post. The reason for this is that on my personal blog, I tend to avoid opinion-based postings. I try to keep everything factual to avoid any issues. What also made me uncomfortable with this is that I didn’t know much on the topic. While I completed the readings and it was an opinion-based post, I didn’t feel as confident had it been on a subject where I have more experience with.

    Aside from my personal blog and this class blog, I also blog on my university department’s blog. Any time I make a post, I’m always extra careful to make sure I don’t post anything controversial, and that everything mentioned is supported. In this case, this is critical since I am blogging on behalf of my department and university. If anything goes wrong, someone would probably go after the institution and department first.

    Luckily when blogging, I haven’t had to deal with any type of negative comments from people. On all blogs I’ve managed I’ve made sure to enable comment moderation to help remove negative and inappropriate comments. However, when working for the city information center, I would occasionally have to deal with comments like these on social media. My recommendation, and one that I share when presenting to organizations on social media use in the workplace, is to take each negative post case by case. There is no one size fits all model. Some comments can be approached with a simple acknowledgment, some should be deescalated and moved to email if possible, or lastly politely responding with helpful information.

    Comment by Eric A. Silva — August 2, 2019 @ 9:12 pm | Reply

    • Eric, are you able to give us an example of a case that you faced in your role with the city information center and negative social media?

      Comment by Michael K. Barbour — August 3, 2019 @ 6:59 am | Reply

      • One example I can remember is around a new marketing campaign we did. We had contracted this company to produce a video and article for us that would be published on the official USA tourism site. Once the video was launched and posted to social media, we began to receive a mix of comments. Some were happy with the video, while others were not. The bulk of the negative comments were of people not happy because their favorite entity/activity wasn’t included or that they felt it wasn’t an accurate representation of our city. Our response to that was that the items featured in the video were selected by the tourism marketing company producing the video. For this instance, we took it on a case by case basis of how to respond to comments.

        Comment by Eric A. Silva — August 3, 2019 @ 8:25 am

      • Interesting… Thanks for this specific example Eric.

        Comment by Michael K. Barbour — August 3, 2019 @ 10:35 pm

    • I appreciate you bringing up a variety of blogging experiences. I never fully considered factual v opinion posts as part of the overall nature of a blog. Do you ever add a separate disclosure statement to separate blog posts stating the purpose or that you are writing on behalf of someone else (like the university or the city)?

      Comment by Mari Venturino — August 3, 2019 @ 9:59 am | Reply

      • Yes, for some. When I post anything related to the VLN Primary I always mention that I am a trustee (see Seeking New Trustees For VLN Primary Governance Group as an example) and back when I did serve I would always mention that I was on the board for the Michigan Connections Academy (see Your Child’s New & Improved Education Option as an example).

        Comment by Michael K. Barbour — August 3, 2019 @ 10:39 pm

      • When it comes to factual vs. opinion, that was something that I never really established for my personal blog. Since it’s primarily tips, how-to guides, and lessons learned in educational technology they’re not usually opinionated in nature. Sometimes I’ll include my opinion, but the post itself isn’t just to share my opinion.

        Usually, when blogging on behalf of someone else, it’s a separate blog altogether. I sometimes cross-post content that was for my university that I want to share on my site as well. Then I’ll add a short disclosure message at the top of the post stating that it was originally posted on my university’s blog and I’m resharing. As far as a disclosure page, I haven’t created one yet for my personal blog. However, each blog I’ve worked on, I was employed or contracted by the organization. So that information was included on my About/CV page.

        Comment by Eric A. Silva — August 4, 2019 @ 6:44 pm

      • Eric, I often repost items that I have written from another blog to this space. Like you, when I do I reference the original posting – and I also try to remember to turn off the comments on my own blog to force the conversation back to the original space (e.g., see the statement at the bottom of here).

        Comment by Michael K. Barbour — August 5, 2019 @ 7:17 am

      • Dr. Barbour, That’s a great idea to disable commenting on cross-posted posts. I hadn’t thought of that. I’m going to try that out for my next post.

        Comment by Eric A. Silva — August 6, 2019 @ 7:59 am

      • Yeah, for me it serves two purposes. First, I only have to watch the discussion in one place. Second, it doesn’t take away traffic and activity from the blog/organization that allowed me the extra exposure (or non-traditional exposure – i.e., beyond my own blogging community).

        Comment by Michael K. Barbour — August 6, 2019 @ 9:57 am

  10. I am very new to blogging and find that I am uncomfortable putting my personal thoughts on a blog but enjoy sharing educational topics. When I am writing an assignment for class, I find I spend an extraordinary amount of time writing by making sure the terminology is correct and that I am somewhat knowledgeable on the topic, which makes me slow to respond to comments. I know that when I am in an online class, I want to read something worth reading. I probably will never write about personal feelings and thoughts, but will write to connect and share content with other educators. My blogging habits will most likely resemble my teaching style in the classroom–sharing the excitement and passion I feel about education and how it will provide the path to success in the workplace but refrain from topics that are not school related. I try to keep opinions to myself both on social media and in the classroom. You would definitely classify me an online introvert, and most connections I have on social media know that I am a quiet observer. I think that will change once I am more comfortable online.

    Comment by cynthiaott — August 4, 2019 @ 3:11 pm | Reply

    • Cynthia, I’m not sure you can disconnect the personal and the professional quite that easily. As an example, most educational topics are not unbiased or without personal beliefs. If you are a behaviouralist you probably don’t think much of discovery learning approached, whereas if you are a constructivist you probably have little time for standardized assessments are a measure of understanding. Both of these items are personal beliefs that impact one’s professional life. I often see the same thing kind of comment about politics or ideology. For example, if you believe that competition creates excellence in public systems, within the educational landscape you are a neo-liberal. That is an ideology or a political perspective that would impact how you perceive this and your professional views on an education related topic.

      Comment by Michael K. Barbour — August 5, 2019 @ 7:01 am | Reply

    • I do not think it is a bad thing to want to separate your professional teaching life with your personal life in your blogging. I can relate as I am a private person and do not want the world to know everything about me, but my online presence is how I work and builds my reputation. I am also a bit of an observer with my social media habits, but recently I started taking the risk of throwing myself out there and it has been mostly a positive experience. As Michael says it might not be that easy when explaining your opinion on certain topics to separate both worlds. Becoming more comfortable with posting online may help you to find that perfect mixture in your blogging.

      Comment by Jake Dalton — August 6, 2019 @ 3:43 pm | Reply

      • This is quite true. But I think like most things, the more you do it the more you find the balance between the two. The more you blog, the more comfortable you’ll become.

        Comment by Michael K. Barbour — August 6, 2019 @ 9:27 pm

      • I agree that a lot of this has to do with comfort level. And, each person has a different set of boundaries for how much, if at all, their work lives cross into their personal lives. For example, who are you willing to add on Facebook? And how much are you willing to share about work on personal social media?

        Comment by Mari Venturino — August 7, 2019 @ 2:38 am

      • That is a good question. I suppose it depends on how you use your social media, For example, I friend everyone on Facebook – or at least anyone who asks. So students, friends, family, colleagues, folks that just want to monitor what I am working on, whomever. But I also use both Facebook and Twitter as primarily professional accounts.

        Comment by Michael K. Barbour — August 7, 2019 @ 9:09 am

  11. […] an experiment within our 537 posts on Dr. Barbour’s Virtual School Meanderings regarding ‘potential hazards of blogging’ and issues that can be construed as controversial in blog posts. I posted my response to the […]

    Pingback by Reasons for Not Responding: A Poll – PixelRiver3Ds — August 6, 2019 @ 5:26 pm | Reply

  12. […] Potential Hazards Of Blogging […]

    Pingback by EDTECH537 – End Of Course | Virtual School Meanderings — August 17, 2019 @ 7:03 am | Reply

  13. […] EDTECH537 – Potential Hazards Of Blogging […]

    Pingback by Statistics for August 2019 | Virtual School Meanderings — September 1, 2019 @ 6:33 am | Reply


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