An Unexpected Surprise
Every once in a while we are presented with an unexpected surprise in our work. These past two years have become my unexpected surprise. “What is it that has been so surprising?” you ask.
On August 24th, 2019, the Office of Teaching and Learning marked a significant milestone for the We Learn Together Blog… the two year mark of writing and editing blog posts about all sorts of teaching and learning topics.
You read that right… 2 YEARS!!!
I want to take a moment to thank our “We Learn Together Blog” readers: without you, this blog would have failed spectacularly. Keep reading to learn the story behind this blog and the writers who helped make it so successful.
…without you, this blog would have failed spectacularly.
How it all began
When the Office of Teaching and Learning began this blog, the idea of writing about teaching and learning seemed daunting to me, if not impossible. I will admit, I was not fully on board with the idea of producing a blog because there were so many unanswered questions.
- What topics would we write about?
- Who could possibly write enough content to fill a blog?
- Who could write content people would want to read?
- Would anyone read our blog?
In my head, the list of questions went on and on and on.
But, with faith similar to the Field of Dreams movie and in true “team-player style”, I believed if I built it, they would read it. So, I went about creating the shell of the blog based on what I would want to read.
People… We Have a Blog
The Office of Teaching and Learning officially had a blog.
Never mind that there was zero content on the blog or that I still hadn’t found an answer to some of the most pressing questions, like, “Who would write for the blog?”
I tried to write a post several times but I have never seen a Microsoft Word document look so blank.
Still… having a blog with no content was progress and that gave me fuel to stop trying to write for the blog and start finding people who were capable and had the credentials to write for our blog.
I have never seen a Microsoft Word document look so blank.
With help from our former director, Dr. Paul Kelter, I was provided a graduate assistant to help with the task of writing for the blog. Mind you, this graduate assistant only worked 20 hours per week for our office and only a small portion of that time was devoted to assisting with the blog. But, help had arrived.
We Have a Team!
Turns out, the graduate assistant, Jamie Kopco, was a pretty good writer and collaborator. Between the two of us we came up with a variety of posts he was interested in writing about. I have a sneaking suspicion he used some of his personal time to write for our blog because as the two of us found out, writing for a blog is way more time consuming than we anticipated. I cannot express how much I appreciate his dedication to making this blog a success.
Right around the time Kopco started writing for us, we had a faculty member volunteer to write articles for us under the pseudonym, The Transformed Teacher. The Transformed Teacher, who still wishes to remain anonymous, had (probably still has) a style of writing that was fun and informative. This became another well received series of posts. Another win for the blog!
Bring on the Writers
The next few months we recruited a lot more writers who added additional content to the blog. Brent Seewald Marquart and Emma Swenson, both formerly from the NDSU Bookstore, each wrote a post. The Office of Orientation and Student Success had Kaelen Napoleon, Betsy Carter, Casey Peterson, and, most recently, Michelle Pearson writing for us. Then another faculty member volunteered to write under the pseudonym, The Grizzled Teacher, and provide an experienced-faculty view point.
Comment below if you want to see another post from any of our bloggers.
Another big break happened when Dr. Melissa Vosen Callens agreed to assign writing a blog post to her COMM 702 Introduction to College Teaching in the Humanities and Social Sciences graduate students. With this, we acquired individuals who were experienced researchers and could write intelligently about various teaching methods. Many of these posts are scheduled to release in the coming school year.
And finally, our most recent graduate assistant, Amy Tichy, enthusiastically jumped in to write several posts for the upcoming year. I think you will find her posts full of ideas you can implement right away.
It now seems silly to think I was worried we wouldn’t be able to find writers or have enough content. But as I’ve learned in life, when you have something good going people tend to gravitate toward it. We’ve definitely got something good going with our blog.
As I mentioned before, these past two years have been an unexpected surprise for me. I jumped into this project with no idea how I would provide content for this blog and to my surprise, I found a team of people who believed in the value of this blog and contributed in their own special ways.
What topics would you like to see the We Learn Together Blog write about? Or, if you have an interesting teaching technique you would like to write about, email Connie Jadrny.
About the Author
Connie Jadrny, is the marketing and public relations coordinator for NDSU’s Office of Teaching and Learning.
In more than 12 years working in marketing at NDSU, Jadrny has written a lot of copy about a lot of different topics. Her extensive collection of everyday writing samples includes email content for the Information Link emails, the office’s strategic plan, social media posts that enlighten, an occasional blog post, and your run-of-the-mill email communication.
Let’s learn together!