The Value of Blogging

I enjoy blogging, but I have recently had some more tangible evidence of the value of blogging.

First, we recently went through the process of hiring a tenure-track professor. One of the applicants told my colleague at an interview that they had been reading my weblog. Because the applicant still decided to show up for the interview, I am viewing this as a positive effect (at least, not too much of a negative effect) of my blogging.

Even more concretely, I was recently put in contact with Andy Rundquist, a physics professor who is interested in many of the same pedagogies as I am (I believe that Jason Buell may have virtually introduced us; I am coming to believe that Buell is some sort of Gladwellian Connector).

Andy teaches at a college just 90 minutes from mine, and we had a chance to have lunch yesterday. I picked his brain on a whole number of topics, including how he creates his screencasts. Andy (and his children) were delightful.

But the point is…today is a snow day for us, so my classes were canceled. I had planned to give my students some definitions to use on some assignments, but I could not longer do so in class.

Of course, my conversation with Andy was still fresh in my brain, and so I decided to create my first screencast. It was shockingly easy to do, and I have already had one student email me to say how helpful it was (I just sent the screencast an hour or so ago).

The point is: if not for blogging, I would not have met Andy. If not for Andy, I would not have thought to create a screencast. If not for the screencast, I would have lost one day in an already-tight semester.

So thank you, Al Gore, for creating the internet.

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18 Responses to “The Value of Blogging”

  1. Scott Sorheim Says:

    Agreed! I’m learning more-and-more how social media enhances/creates relationships and learning.

    And if it wasn’t for social media, I would not have learned of this:

    you’re welcome 😉

  2. Scott Sorheim Says:

    haha! you’re comment system is too smart! I was hoping that would just be a link, but now you have the actual video embedded on your site! Funny. Feel free to delete or modify my comment. 🙂

    • bretbenesh Says:


      First, I only know about RB from social media, too. Second, thanks for the link to the video game via Twitter (another example of the importance of social media).

      Third…I got nothing more.

  3. Andy Rundquist Says:

    It was great to meet you Bret. I’m glad to hear the screencast went well. Did you use Jing/ tablet?

  4. Andy Rundquist Says:

    Beamer the LaTeX class? Awesome!

    • bretbenesh Says:

      I love Beamer. I am currently shopping for a pen tablet (Wacom Bamboo?). Still, I am hoping to use Beamer for a lot of my future screencasts even when I have a tablet. Beamer is just so nice.

      What sort of pen tablet do you have?

    • Bret Benesh Says:

      I will likely be getting a Wacom Bamboo soon. I almost pulled the trigger last night, but then decided that I should play around with the department MOBI that is kicking around before I do.

      I have another question: you have a Pro subscription to Why did you choose this over getting a Pro version of Jing and uploading to a free youtube account?

    • bretbenesh Says:


      You have a pro subscription to Why did you opt for that instead of getting a pro subscription to Jing and uploading to YouTube?

      Have a great weekend!

      • Andy Rundquist Says:

        I think I did that originally because of a video quality issue. doesn’t do any compression and my original tests with youtube seemed a little grainy. I should check that again, though.

        I do have the pro version of Jing because every once in a while I like to collect video from my web cam into a jing screencast.

        Another nice thing about are the different levels of privacy you can put on your screencasts. You can also upload supporting documents for a video.

      • Andy Rundquist Says:

        I’ve been thinking more about this (including checking some quality things) and I think the reason I still like better is the ease of organization. In Jing you can set up different buttons for different folders in In youtube I can make different playlists but after using Jing it seems I’d have to log into youtube and add the new video to the appropriate playlist.

      • bretbenesh Says:

        Thanks, Andy. I need to figure all of this stuff out (including funding), and this helps a lot.

        Have a great night!

  5. Jason Buell Says:

    LOL. Not a connector. Just a guy who reads a ton of blogs. I’m glad this is working out for you because it’s certainly been helpful for me.

    • Bret Benesh Says:


      You do not get to judge whether you are a connector; you are a connector.

      This is working out for me, and I (think I) am about to make a bigger conceptual leap in understanding what should be done in the classroom. I am looking forward to understanding all of this better.

      You have been very helpful, and I am looking forward to you continuing to be helpful.

  6. Siouxgeonz Says:

    I got me a Bamboo… just can’t get it to actually *work.* Did you have any trouble setting it up?

  7. Bret Benesh Says:

    No Bamboo yet for me—I am just thinking about it. It just doesn’t do anything when you plug it in? What type of computer do you have?

  8. Physics Blogs « Solvable by Radicals Says:

    […] to have started reading a lot of physics blogs recently. In fact, they are beginning to make up the bulk of my PLN, […]

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