The UK Web Focus blog was launched on 1st November 2006 so today sees its 10th anniversary!
I suspect there will only be a handful of blogs which have been in operation within the UK educational technology over this period: Tony Hurst’s OUSeful blog is one that springs to mind (although posts prior to 24 July 2008 seem to have been lost); Martin Weller’s Edtechie blog seems to have been launched around May 2006 with Steve Wheeller’s Learning with E’s blog having being launched around December 2006 (note for all of these blogs I haven’t been able to find a post announcing the launch of the blog, so they may be older than this).
The edtech environment has seen many changes over the past 10 years, of course not only due to technological developments (in particular the mobile environment and the social web) but the impact of political and funding changes – with the fall-out of the Brexit referendum still to be fully felt.
Blogs which have been published over that period can provide a useful record of the changes in the environment. On this anniversary of this blog I will provide some links which have sought to document developments described on this blog.
I was aware from the start of the importance of blogs as an historical record, rather than simply transient reflections. I therefore published a series of posts on anniversaries of the launch of the blog during the time I was employed at UKOLN:
- The First Year Of The UK Web Focus Blog: 1 Nov 2007 which described how the blog took about 6 months to reach a stable readership plateau of ~4,200 visits per month and averaged about 4 comments per post.
- The Second Anniversary of the UK Web Focus Blog: 31 Oct 2008 which described how the content of the first two years had been backed up as a Scribd document – which is still available 8 years later.
- The Third Anniversary of the UK Web Focus Blog: 1 Nov 2009 which described how a PDF document of blog posts had been created in order to provide an estimate of the volume of content published. The 616 page document was uploaded to Slideshare, and can still be accessed there.
- Fourth Anniversary of this Blog – Feedback Invited: 1 Nov 2010 which summarised the main purposes of the blog “The use of the blog as an open notebook was partly for my own benefit: the writing process has helped me to reflect on my thoughts as well as helping me to ensure that I will be able to revisit the ideas in the future – indeed many ideas initially described on the blog have subsequently been reused in my talks and my papers. The open approach using this blog has also provided an opportunity for others to comment on the thoughts and ideas, which again has helped me in developing these ideas.“
- How People Find This Blog, Five Years On: 1 Nov 2011 which highlighted the importance of Twitter for driving traffic to the blog
- The Sixth Anniversary of the UK Web Focus Blog 1 Nov 2012 which revisited the services which drive traffic to the blog.
On 31 July 2013 I ceased work at UKOLN due to the cessation of Jisc funding. In order to continue a tradition of documenting my professional environment in my final week at UKOLN I published a series of posts on Reflections of 16 years at UKOLN (part 1, part 2, part 3, part 4 and part 5).
The blog continued to be published after leaving UKOLN (incidentally Friday marked the 20th anniversary of starting work at UKOLN so this blog provides a useful summary of a significant proportion of my time advising the UK’s higher educations sector on web developments). During the transition from UKOLN to initially working at Cetis and then as an independent consultant the blog was migrated from ukwebfocus.wordpress.com to ukwebfocus.com. Much less time was spent on writing blog posts as I no longer had responsibilities for advising the sector. However occasional posts are still published, with the focus now on supporting the annual IWMW event (the Institutional Web Management Workshop which also celebrated its 20th anniversary earlier this year), and my continued interests in digital preservation, use of Cloud services and continued use of online services after leaving one’s host institution (an area which I feel will grow in importance once the higher education sector feels the full impact of Brexit 🙂
I hope to revisit these areas in subsequent posts.