Thursday, September 25, 2008

Spot blogging contest at MSRIT and my talk

This Monday (22nd Sep) I had the opportunity of spending some time with students and faculty of M.S.Ramaiah Institute of Technology (MSRIT), Bangalore. As a part of one web day celebrations, (oneWebDay is like an earth day for internet, celebrated worldwide on 22nd September every year) a spot blogging contest was organized in which over 150 participants got exposed to blogging.

What exactly was done in spot blogging contest? (And how is it different from essay writing competition?)

The idea behind the contest was to make students familiar with the concept of blogging and make them comfortable with blogging platform like wordpress and blogger. Students were given an internet connected computer each and were required to create a free account in wordpress or blogger and set up their own blog. They were asked to refer to Amit Agarwal’s or Kiruba’s blog as an example to explore and get an idea how a blog is built and maintained. This exercise of setting up a blog took nearly half of the contest time as many were totally new to this. As they created an account and built a blog, they got an idea of various components like title, layout, template, post, comments, publishing, permalink etc.

Next the participants were required to write a post on any topic of their choice in about 200-300 words max. They were free to do any research on internet about the topic they were planning to blog about, but were instructed not to copy paste and give credit to third party content they might be using. Some also experimented with adding images and videos to their post and how to edit the post after publishing. (all these may look like a simple task for a seasoned blogger but for those totally new to blogging, this was a good learning exercise). Once they publish their post they were required to submit their registration number and blog URL so that judges could visit their blog, evaluate it and select prize winners.

Many students felt this exercise very exciting, as they were not aware how to rest of the world through this powerful medium of blogging. I hope most of them will continue to add new posts to the blog they created during the contest. Few students who were familiar to the concept of blogging served as volunteers and guided participants whenever they faced an issue in creating a blog or publishing a post. They introduced me to the participants as a top blogger..blah blah taking me to cloud 9. I also supervised the contest and assisted few participants with the troubles they were facing. Internet connection at the lab gave some trouble at times, teaching participants how important it is to keep a backup of whatever they type.

Evaluation doesn’t seem to be complete yet. It is being done by some of the faculty and ISOC Chennai. Will try to keep you posted on that front.

Subsequent to the contest, Siva from ISOC gave a talk about internet evolution and next to him, I gave a small talk about blogging. I covered topics like how blogging (and other new media) has brought the power of internet to the end users, why many people stop blogging after sometime, the need to build an effective online identity, what and what not to expect from blogging, how having a good blog can aid them in their career prospects etc. I took some questions from students related to money making from blogging and so on.

It was good experience for me supervising the contest and giving a talk. I think I fared better than my talk at Manipal during April. Still lots of things to improve…

Dr. Ashwath Kumar, HOD, Sr. Lecturer Mohan Kumar S and Assistant Professor Mr S.R.Chickerur were instrumental in successful completion of the program. Following students volunteered during the event: Ashwath Desai, Varun Deshpande, Sahana Ramesh, Chethana S, Nisha Sherra, Sritan, Radhika Jodhani, Shweta Raj Mishra, Sourabh Siroya, Srujana, Krupashree, Aniket Deshpande, Pooja R and Vijeta.

M.S. Ramaiah group got autonomous status last year and the institute appears very much enthusiastic in offering new new programs, including few on Social media. Written test for my campus recruitment had happened here and I had done a certification course in M.S.Ramaiah School of Advanced Studies-so I feel connected to this institute. It was a nice feeling to speak with students and members of staff. I was not comfortable with the undue respect and VIP treatment I was given-I would have been more comfortable as a  student standing in front of a professor…

Also I had to do a major rework on the ppt Monday morning. The template I'd downloaded via legitimate version of Office 2007 was just not visible when it was converted into ppt and opened in the cyber cafe. Had to quickly download a 2003 template and move all contents there. Anyway, all's well that ends well. I was given a beautiful gift at the end of the talk and we departed.

Photograph courtesy: Volunteers


Raveesh Kumar said...

Way to go nidhi. Becoming famous in academic circles too. All the best for future talks.

Shrinidhi Hande said...

Thanks Raveesh

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