Blogs are engaging?

Filed Under (program evaluation) by Molly on 17-06-2014

“Engaged scholarship most commonly refers to a range of collaborative research, teaching, and learning initiatives rooted in sustained community-university partnerships and pursued across various disciplines and social and cultural contexts.” That is a commonly agreed upon definition of engaged scholarship. So let me ask you: Are blogs engaging?

If I tease apart the definition this way:

  1. it is collaborative IF (and only if) you consider that reading a lot of other blogs is collaborative learning (someone writes; someone reads=collaboration);
  2. that is sustained in a “partnership” that consists of other bloggers who are in the community and bloggers who are  in the university;
  3. that is pursued across various disciplines (remember, I read a lot of other blogs); and
  4. that are in a variety of social and cultural contexts (remember, I read a lot of other blogs);

then I would say yes…and no…because what is really collaborative learning? Or collaborative teaching?  (I’m certainly not doing research.) To me, collaboration is an agreed upon working together in an intellectual effort. I would guess that in this case there is tacit agreement; I write and the reader agrees to read either by subscription or random search engine optimization. Some how that feels really one sided–until I realize that I’m still getting comments on posts that I wrote two-three years ago. So something must be engaging–even if it is random SEO. (though I’m not sure it is collaborative in the usual sense of collaboration).

And since this is a blog about evaluation, my question is, “How do you know?” Chris Lysy has a cartoon about knowing  that always makes me smile (actually several).evaluation and project working ..research v. evaluationI-have-evidence cartoon Remember, you need a rubric to determine if something works you cannot work on gut impressions; only through rigorous evaluation can you determine if a program has merit, value, worth (the root of evaluation is value); and only if you have evidence do you know it works. Can I use comments (many over the last four years of this blog) to say the blog is engaging, that I have evidence? One comment received in the last week suggested that since folks are still commenting on this post, perhaps that is evidence….don’t know.

Any thoughts–comments are welcome; please.

My two cents.





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4 Comments Already, Leave Yours Too

karen on 3 July, 2014 at 11:50 am #

Molly, I’d say analytics and comments are helpful in determining if a blog is engaging. I think it’s important, however, for the blogger to determine what engaging is for them. Ex. 100 followers may seem engaging to some while having 60% of the posts and emails read by followers may be the definition of engaging to someone else. I’ve had spikes of comments and followers when I posted on aea365 or did a guest post but it’s likely that those people aren’t truly engaged according to my standards.

How do you define engaging for your blog?


Keith Koons on 25 April, 2015 at 7:43 pm #

Hey Molly-

Unfortunately, the link-juice from a .edu website can be quite helpful for us bloggers if used in moderation, but there are always those who abuse a good thing and turn it into something else entirely. So is this collaborative? Probably not in the literal sense, but yet here you and I are having a conversation as you do you teach and I thank you…that has to count for something, doesn’t it?


Mohit Arora on 6 March, 2016 at 11:13 am #

Hi Molly,

This is a wonderful write-up. I somewhat agree that we can say blog is engaging if you are getting comments (comments not only for the sake of commenting but if they add value to your topic). What Say?

Mohit Arora

Molly on 7 March, 2016 at 2:11 pm #

Some comments are just acknowledgements (nice acknowledgements, to be sure); others (like yours) are why I blog. Exchange. I truly would like to have more exchange.

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