Reflecting on the blog experience
This was my first experience of writing a blog and overall, the assignment has helped me to develop new skills in writing for different audiences, it has allowed me to develop skills in working collaboratively and has allowed me to develop technical skills in website design. The blog was also a useful way to reflect on lecture content, it encouraged me to think more deeply about the subject and to apply my learning to wider contexts and places.
Simon’s session on how to create a web page and Dilan’s session on how to present information effectively for a blog were particularly helpful as I had no prior experience of blogging, web design or even creating posts for social media. Following their session, I conducted some personal research looking at Urban design blogs from around the world to get a sense of what works well from the point of view of a blog viewer. I collated a sample of good quality sites into a list which is now shared on the NCL Urban Design page. These sites shared similar characteristics to those described by Simon and Dilan- they were visually appealing, information was written concisely, and there were links to enable the user to find out more; overall, these good quality blogs were intuitively designed, so I set out to bring these elements to our own blog.
Our first meeting was an opportunity to discuss what we, as a group, wanted our blog to look like, and it was encouraging that we left the meeting with several action points. We agreed we wanted the blog to be a collaborative activity, so agreed we would alternate the chairing of meetings and the writing of minutes to different members of the group as we went through the term. My contribution to the collaborative goals of the group were that I volunteered to chair two of the meetings and wrote up the minutes following the first meeting. I also volunteered to create the schedule of blog posts and updated these a number of times throughout the Semester. I summarised my understanding of “good quality” urban design blogs in a PPt which I shared with Luke, who had volunteered to create a new logo for the group, and I worked with Louise to update the homepage section named “How can we contribute to the world of Urban Design?”
I completed 3 blog posts throughout the Semester and found writing the posts was a useful way of exploring subject content more deeply, whilst also developing my skills in writing about academic content in a reflective, engaging and concise style. I particularly enjoyed applying knowledge of neighbourhood design to the city of Newcastle and feel this ability to apply complex information to new contexts is a relevant skill for working in the field of Urban Design.
As we begin Semester 2, I hope to follow each reflective blog post with another post in which I apply the subject content to a case study. I also hope to present my feedback to the other bloggers in as constructive a way as possible, as I feel some of my feedback in the first Semester may have focussed too much on features of writing style and grammar, punctuation, spelling etc., rather than on the content of the blog posts.