Blogging Archaeology: December Questions

This is the second post as part of the Blogging Archaeology  Carnival hosted by Doug’s Archaeology. To learn more about this, please see our first post: Why do we blog?

This month, the theme for the Blogging Archaeology Carnival is the good, the bad, and the ugly of blogging. To see the complete question as well as the answers from last month’s question, check out Doug’s Archaeology’s post. Last month we discussed we why blog, however this month we’re looking more specifically at the good and the bad that has come from this type of communication.

The Good of Blogging Archaeology

We’ve had numerous positive interactions and outcomes of blogging. The first, is that we are often sharing a unique part of MSU’s history that alumni, faculty, staff and students cannot learn from other places. We get the change to share a different version of the past. We’ve had discussions about the difference between what people said they did and what actually occurred on campus. For example, we’ve talked about campus rules that banned alcohol in the 19th century, but have excavated alcohol bottles from this era on campus. It is moments like these that many members of our MSU community find fascinating, and it encourages discussion.

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My favorite “What is that?” artifact, via Katy Meyers

Blogging also allows us to learn from our community. Sometimes we find things on campus and have no idea what they are. Two summers ago, we were called out to check out an artifact found by Beaumont Tower. It was a circular piece of concrete with a horseshoe in it. While we still don’t know quite what it is, we had some fantastic discussions about what it could possibly be, how it was created and who many have made it.

The work done with blogging over the two summer field schools in 2010 and 2011 also led to Campus Archaeology, specifically Dr. Lynne Goldstein and Terry Brock, receiving an honorable mention for the AT&T Award for Instructional Technology- Blended Classroom. In the article, which you can read online here, they listed benefits of blogging during the field school. These include that students learn the importance of interacting with the public through social media, gain the ability to share complex archaeological topics to a non-specialist audience in an approachable way, and it increases students’ digital literacy.

The Bad of Blogging Archaeology

For the most part, blogging for Campus Archaeology has been a major boon and is an important form of communication for us. However, there is one bad: new bloggers can become discouraged by lack of comments. In general, if our blog posts don’t have direct questions like ‘what is this artifact?’, they receive few comments. That doesn’t mean no one is reading, but to student bloggers it can be discouraging. In the future, we hope to improve commenting by introducing more questions to encourage discussion and bolster our new bloggers.

What have you learned through CAP’s blogging? What do you see as the good of continuing this type of communication?

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