Whiteknights campus includes some outstanding green spaces that attract students to make Reading their university of choice. Scattered on shelves, in filing cabinets on computer disks, and sitting in brains, are pieces of research by staff and students recording the biodiversity and the edaphic and physical environment of campus. From ‘Alien vs Enchanter‘ to ‘Wriggly Worms‘ or an erudite series on Campus Galls, the Whiteknights Biodiversity blog is giving our green space a cyber-space in which campus occupants can share what they observe and know. Whether it be simply a report of what’s in flower today, a sighting of a dragonfly or a detailed account of a group of species. This semi-formal forum brings together students, staff and the local community to exchange and publish their knowledge and love of biodiversity on campus.
Our Biodiversity bloggers gain a series of ICT skills as well as the chance to develop a literary style in online publishing. Initial blogs have been written by a small group of staff and students over the summer period . Now our taught students are back I am busy signing up our extensive group of MSc students from Biological Sciences and using student club Facebook sites to recruit undergraduate bloggers to get Whiteknights Biodiversity up to full speed.
Already I’m looking at new challenges for the blog – how to include sound files of bird song is a current one. Getting institutional buy-in to a blog spam filter is another.
Yesterday I gained an undergraduate moth enthusiast to the blog, tomorrow it could be bats… or freshwater algae… or maybe ancient trees.
Whiteknights Biodiversity blog is certainly developing my digital literacy but also bringing together a community of wildlife lovers to develop a mutual digital literacy through shared experience.
Alastair Culham, trying to be Digitally Ready!