For the sixteenth time, I’ve been marking a bunch of weblogs from students taking our course An Introduction to Digital Environments for Learning (which I’ve taught on twice a year since 2007, apart from a break in 2009). It occurs to me that I should turn our assessment criteria on myself.


You started strongly in this respect, with a good number of posts wondering what you were trying to achieve by blogging, and how it related to your life and work. These reached their peak with your 2005 conference paper on blogs and identity, which seems to have answered your own questions to your satisfaction, as your posts along these lines died down in later years (with occasional exceptions). You might like to think about including a retrospective post looking back over the entire blog, and situating it in relation to your current practice and future plans.


You began well, with a few years (2000–2003) of regular and substantive posts, but seem to have lost your way a little in 2004–2005 before coming back strongly again in 2006. Things really fell off a cliff in late 2007 through 2008, though, with only two posts in that entire time. You made a reasonable return in 2009, before dipping again in 2010–2011. We then saw a frantic four months of daily posting in 2012 before you settled into a steadier pace, dropping off again in 2015. Now you seem to be posting daily again, but for how long? A more consistent schedule would be more satisfying for readers.

Knowledge and understanding

You display an impressive knowledge and understanding of the main subject of the blog, which appears to be yourself. As for the other areas covered over the years, your occasional moments of insight are sometimes obscured by a glib and evasive tone which makes it hard for the reader to discern what you actually understand. Referencing is sometimes incomplete (where do all those links come from?) and fails to meet proper academic standards.

Communication style and multimodality

You have a readable, conversational style, with moments of humour, but this sometimes comes across as rather contrived, as it isn’t always clear who is reading and the conversation appears to have fallen away in the second half of the blog. Who is your intended audience? It can’t just be me as your tutor, because I am you.

Your multimodal efforts have been commendable, with the inclusion of photos, cartoons, podcasts and even music; you make good use of links to relevant sites and across your own. Not all of your pages are valid HTML or XHTML, and your CSS sometimes displays inconsistently across browsers and platforms. I like the continuing touches running through the designs: the Futura font of the header (most years), the aqua headings and links, the snail logo, and the occasional call-backs to past designs. But then I would, wouldn’t I.

Other comments

On the whole, this was a solid blogging effort, particularly given that you have sustained it (apart from that 15-month gap in 2007–2008) for almost 16 years. More work on regularity, focus, and tailoring your posts to a wider audience would see you score even higher marks.

20 January 2016 · Site News