Engaging Leadership: Revisioning How We Learn to Lead

This is my first blog post and I must admit that I do not follow/read any blogs. I will have to begin to do so to get a better idea of how I might use a blog in my Communicating Leadership course. One idea I am considering is creating a blog for students and the local leaders with whom they will partner for the 10-week course. I envision this blog as a place where all students and local leaders gather for conversations thus extending the students’ engagement beyond one leader to all leaders who have partnered with their peers. This idea was stimulated by my reflection on the course as taught in the past: Students have a hard time deciding which leader (non-profit, for-profit, government, education, etc) they are most interested in engaging throughout the course. Often the students ask to work with multiple leaders which isn’t practical for the leaders who volunteer their time. Perhaps a blog would provide this access and interaction. Another possibility is to work with the leaders to identify blogs relevant to their careers. Students and their leader could possibly read, reflect on and post to the blog collaboratively. This would allow for more focused engagement with the leaders as well as networking.

I hope to learn more about how to utilize blogs—when, to what ends, etc. My struggle is not to assign “busy work”. Instead, I would like the work to reflect the type of blogging used in their desired profession.

Lastly, I am reflecting on how to combine my service-learning components of the Communicating Leadership course with the elements of hybrid courses. As is, I ask students meet with their partner leaders about once a week, often the second time the course meets that week. I don’t want to loose this engagement in the workplace setting yet I want to incorporate more hybrid elements in the course as currently designed.

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5 Responses to Engaging Leadership: Revisioning How We Learn to Lead

  1. Amy Ford says:

    Natalie, I found your idea to start a blog very interesting! You mentioned this would be for a class – one of the questions I have is whether to start a blog for the short-term or long-term with my students. A long-term blog might be useful for professional development; a short-term blog might be good for a project or a class. What are some of your thoughts as to how you might use the information gained from a time-limited blog? Would the information be recorded, disseminated, analyzed, etc.?


    • Natalie says:

      Amy, great questions that I really hadn’t yet thought of. After some pondering (and reading links on the blog) I am wondering if we (students, leaders, myself) could create a long-term blog associated with the course that remains open to all participants beyond their time in the university course. So this winter term group would initiate the blog with the goal of sustaining it beyond the course–the ultimate goal to add the next class group, then the next, and so on. One huge challenge is the course is currently offered every other year so sustaining the blog between adding new members may require some creative blogging.

      Even so, I like this idea more and more. Reading the links sara included have contributed to my thoughts as well. I particularly enjoyed the link for the history syllabus revision and module allowing students to set goals, learning outcomes, etc. Perhaps the blog as a long-term resource could be part of this type of module……

      • Cub Kahn says:

        Natalie, that’s an excellent idea to have a long-term blog for everyone associated with your course! There’s potentially a lot of learning value in students having access to the posts of previous student As you note, sustaining the blog between student cohorts can be a bit of a trick, but if you–or a few of your colleagues or a few of the “leaders” who work with your students–post even occasionally, you could certainly keep it alive. Our hybrid faculty blog functions successfully in very much the same way.

  2. newsomej says:

    Amy, Interesting question about short time versus long term blogs. As new to blogs, I wonder if blogs ever “die.” My sense is that they may just stay in the great cloud forever. Is that true?

    Natalie, I wonder if your “leaders” might not post on the blog either a short bio or answer to one or more specific questions. This electronic introduction may help students select the one or more leaders that they would like to engage with.


  3. Natalie says:

    Julie, asking “leaders” to post self-introductions on the course blog is a fantastic idea. It also allows for extended learning opportunities such as “leaders” and students collaborating on student-leader self-introductions and other professional uses for a career-related blog.

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