Blogging Tips

The MIIS website and blogging network is a place for students, faculty, and staff to collaborate, communicate, share stories and spark meaningful discussions about the issues we’re passionate about.

Why create a site?

Online documentation of your academic work, professional development, and field experiences will help showcase your skills and expertise. You can expand upon your material at a later date to build a professional portfolio. We recommend focusing your posts on a specific topic, i.e. what you’re researching or which projects you’re working on in the field.

FAQs

How do I join the community?

It’s easy! Log in at http://sites.miis.edu, using your email username (everything before the @ symbol) and password. Go to your dashboard and create a new blog.

Once I’m part of the MIIS blogging network, how should I participate?

  • Never forget the Golden Rule of Blogging: Create posts that you would want to read, and content you would share.
  • Blogs aren’t academic papers. This is your opportunity to break out of your researching, term-paper-writing routine and write something FUN! Blogs are renowned for their informal, conversational tone. It also doesn’t hurt if you make us laugh and cry at the same time.
  • Blog posts aren’t just text. They should also consist of a photos, photo galleries, videos, or something else that you dream up!
  • Try to post weekly on a regular basis about a specific topic such as a class, research project, field practicum experience, campus event, or life-changing experience. Blogging should only take ten minutes to an hour each time.

What should I blog about?

  • Tell a story that you find interesting. What are you learning that could interest a wider audience? Are there any policy or cross-cultural communication issues on your mind? Are you traveling abroad for a J-term practicum in Chile, or an internship in Geneva? It could be something you had no previous experience with or knowledge about – that’s great!
  • Would you like to blog in a language other than English? As a multilingual community, we hope that students from all programs will write a few blog posts in other languages. Just remember to adapt your blog posts to your audience (Ex. Do Chinese speakers have different expectations of blogs than English speakers? Are there certain keywords that are resonant to Spanish speakers; if so, should I use them in my blog title and content?)

What if I’d like to create a multimedia project or digital story?

Think of yourself as a producer or journalist. You have to find the story and capture it with photos, video, audio, or words. We would love to see photos you’re taking, rough cuts of video, and hear project ideas you have as you develop them. Editing as you go probably works best because you can circle back for any missing story elements.

Uploading videos to the blog: post them to youtube then use the wordpress plugin (just type [ youtube unique ID ] without the spaces between brackets…).

What’s in a story?

A good story has a clear focus, conveys a message, and has an emotional impact. What story are you telling? Who are the characters, what is the narrative arc? What’s inspiring about the people you’re working with, the place you’re in, what you’re doing? That’s your story.

  • One option is filming a reflective interview and create a narrated piece using footage or photos from the field. OR
  • Figure out the narrative arc, and then film people and places that fit your story’s needs. It would be ideal to interview people documentary-style, without a planned story line, but you don’t have that much time or manpower. Instead, finding an authentic story that you want to learn more about, and using multimedia to explore it, is probably your best option. Here’s the Monterey Institute media release form for permission to use multimedia content (audio, video, and photos) from your interviewee.

Joss Whedon, creator of Buffy the Vampire SlayerFirefly, and Dr. Horrible’s Sing Along Blog, would say: tell your story with “clarity and emotion.” And it doesn’t hurt to break out in song.

Resources

The MIIS website and blogging network is a project of the Digital Learning Commons located at 420 Calle Principal (aka McGowan 001) on the Monterey Institute campus. If you have more questions about blogging, make an appointment, or swing by anytime between 10am-4:30pm Monday through Friday. To answer your WordPress questions, you can also check out our Knowledge Base site.

Sites DOT MIIS: the Monterey Institute site network.