Way back in 2013, I was invited to write a review
of the online grammar checker, Grammarly. I was paid by Grammarly directly to
write this blog, with the only requirement being that I had to open with the
phrase ‘I use Grammarly’s free online grammar check because…’ At the time, I
found Grammarly to be a fairly useful tool, though I did raise several concerns
including the academic implications of plagiarism checkers, and the danger of Grammarly
becoming a crutch for weaker writers.
Now, six years on, I find cause to revisit my original
review of Grammarly, and reiterate many of my original concerns as Grammarly continues
to expand its reach.
For many years now there’s been a trend in university libraries to focus on the provision of e-books and online resources over physical publications. This is especially true in recent times as university libraries seem to be moving towards a space to study rather than a place to find knowledge. Continue reading
It’s quite the trend in academia these days to set up a series of ‘conference accounts’ on social media to promote said conference and bring together all related materials. However, these accounts are rarely (if ever) worthwhile and can actually detract from what should be your primary marketing goal; namely to promote the work of the wider organisation to which your conference is attached. Continue reading
I’ve been involved in higher education for some time now – both as a student and an employee – and still to this day it surprises me just how obsessed some people are with posters.
And by posters here I don’t mean posters to stick on the wall; no, rather I mean posters to send out by email or for users to download from social media or a website. Got a conference coming up? Make a poster and send it to your mailing lists. Got an event? Make a poster and upload it to your blog.
But the thing is, pdf posters just aren’t made for digital media. Here are some of the reasons why:
- Posters are not SEO-friendly. Their content is not searchable online.
- Errors are difficult to correct. If you have a change of date or change of venue, you can’t just go out and edit all the posters you’ve already sent out into the ether.
- Posters are not mobile-friendly. Large files are slow to download and impact on a user’s data allowance. They also don’t make for easy reading on a mobile device.
- Posters can be time-consuming to create. They are not an efficient means of communication and can often be overlooked by a time-starved audience.
Blogs are everywhere these days. In the world of academia you almost can’t move for the sheer number of blogs popping up all over the place. From academic departments to research centres, reading groups and individuals, there more blogs out there than any sane person could hope to follow.
So why should you bother writing one? Do you need to write one? Can you get by without one?
To blog or not to blog…
There seems to be a trend in academia at the moment where many people feel compelled to start a blog because it’s the ‘done thing’ without really stopping to think about why they are blogging, or even if they should be blogging at all. Just because other people are doing it, doesn’t mean it’s the right thing for you, or even your department. In some cases, it’s far better not to blog than risk the potential damage a poorly run blog could cause to you and your reputation.