In this video Professor David Pyle discusses his public engagement work for the University of Oxford Department of Earth Sciences, how social media (blogging, Facebook and Twitter) has allowed the team to engage with a wider audience.
If you’re still sceptical about how blogging and tweeting can help your academic project or your research, I can only recommend you to read authors such as…
The Department of Earth Sciences have recently used two activities to increase awareness of their research on volcanic risk: Volcanoes Top Trumps (a card game), and the London Volcano (a 5 day exhibition).
Repeatedly in this blog (e.g.What to blog about?), we have pointed to the following:
- Dr Melissa Terras, UCL for example Is blogging and tweeting about research papers worth it? The Verdict. Also available as audio or video podcasts podcasts in the University of Oxford Engage series.
- Patrick Dunleavy and Chris Gilson, LSE: Blogging is quite simply, one of the most important things that an academic should be doing right now.
Setting up a blog for others to contribute to
My favourite example of all early ‘crowdsourcing’ initiatives was the Science of Ghosts blog.
Dr. Caroline Watt of the Koestler Parapsychology Unit, University of Edinburgh runs an online course to introduce interested members of the public to her discipline. She points to interactive experiments, using blogs, embedded YouTube videos and Twitter, which enable assessments of psychological experiences. She helped set up the Science of Ghosts blog for the 2009 Edinburgh Science Festival, a project which won particular notice and publicity.
Richard Wiseman, Professor of Psychology at the University of Hertfordshire, ran the blog and asked people to submit photographs of ghosts. His team received some 250 photographs from all over the world. Wiseman posted the best of these online and asked people to vote and comment on whether or not they thought the pictures were of real ghosts. None of the photographs proved the existence of ghosts, but the blog received thousands of comments and over a quarter of a million votes.
One example springs to mind: World War I Centenary: Continuations and Beginnings “An Open Educational Resource supporting new directions in teaching World War I”:
Read the other posts in this blog about writing for impact.