The Connected Leiden Researcher

Teaching Through Tumblr

Teaching Through Tumblr

As a somewhat less formal, or even frankly informal, form of communication Tumblr has a low barrier to engagement and as such can serve as a great way to interact with many types of public and for many different aims. For example, it can not only be used as a research tool, but as a teaching tool as well. There are many ways in which the network can be used. It can be used as a virtual extension of the classroom, where students can interact, share experiences, or ask questions, or as an alternate digital syllabus. But more often it is used as an alternative way of completing class projects. Whether it is a group blog where the entire class posts assignments, a group project, or a final (solo) assignment, creating a final report on Tumblr allows for creative approaches and the incorporation of multimedia elements, such as photo's, videos, and audio clips. This will also bring a greater need to educate students on the basics of copyrights and plagiarism, for which Tumblr is again a great source of examples, both of how to do it right and how to do it wrong. Using Tumblr as a teaching tool can create fascinating projects that live on after the course is finished, such as this "art-piece-turned-website".

Tumblr as outreach

Another element that is connected both to research and teaching is outreach. Trying to generate interest in your subject and attention for your research or showcasing what you've accomplished is a good way of creating a loop back to your regular website where people can discover even more about your work. Often these sorts of Tumblrs are official blogs to showcase research done at a particular institute or university, research on a particular topic, or to show other accomplishments such as this Tumblr, which was created as the digital version of our library's annual report for last year (in Dutch.) They can also be the group effort of academics working to interest people in their field, be it medieval book history, sociology, or science.

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