Weekly Digest #21: Academic Blog Reading List

Weekly Digest #21: Academic Blog Reading List

A couple of weeks ago, we published a list of interesting blogs from our edu-blogging Facebook group. Those blogs are typically written by current or former teachers. But what about academics – people whose day-job involves conducting ground-breaking research? Some of them blog, too (our own blog being, of course, a case in point). What’s unique about these bloggers is that they are writing from a place of expertise, but breaking down that expertise so that non-experts can read and understand it. It’s not a practice that is actively encouraged and recognized by many academic institutions (yet), but this attitude is changing as the benefits of social media to researchers become more widely acknowledged (1).

In this digest, we highlight five academic blogs from a wide range of disciplines. These blogs translate complex research and research practices to non-academic audiences, discuss the trials and tribulations of academia more generally, and sometimes also sprinkle in unique personal stories. One thing is clear: you’ll be sure to learn something from these blogs. And, if you’re a fellow academic on the fence about starting your own blog, please see this article for compelling reasons why you should do it.


1) 3 STAR LEARNING EXPERIENCES by Dr. Paul A. Kirschner, @P_A_Kirschner, and Mirjam Neelen, @MirjamN

“This blog aims to present […] learning professionals with evidence-informed ideas on how to make both the instructional and the learning experience more effective, efficient, and enjoyable.”

Mirjam Neelen is a Learning Experience Designer who is passionate about everything that has to do with learning and learning technologies; and Dr. Kirschner is a Distinguished University Professor who describes himself as an educational realist and grumpy old man (he’s actually nothing of the sort, and a very charming character – look out for our interview with him in the next couple of weeks!) Together, they co-write this blog, which they named after the Michelin star system for restaurants – likening research-based educational practices to the cooking techniques and ingredients that make 3-star chefs succeed. We featured their blog post on homework a few months back. Their blog has been going strong for over a year, with 1 to 3 solid, informative posts per month; their very first post was provocatively titled Neurocrap, and takes a look at why myths about education thrive amongst well-meaning educators.


2) Small Pond Science By Dr. Terry McGlynn, @hormiga, & co-authors

“This site is about how scientists research, teach and mentor in all kinds of academic institutions, including teaching-centered universities.”

This blog is run by a trio of academics, but of the three Dr. McGlynn has posted most recently, so we focus here on his contributions. Dr. McGlynn covers a huge range of topics in his blog posts - topics as diverse as feminism, funding, and sexual misconduct – while also finding the time to produce a weekly curated list of interesting articles from all over the internet. But perhaps most interestingly of all, Dr. McGlynn has charted his journey through tenure denial – a terrifying prospect for most academics who are lucky enough to get on the tenure track in the first place.


3) Diary of Dr. Logic by Dr. Sara L. Uckelman, @SaraLUckelman

Dr. Uckelman writes about her research on logic and its history, but in addition to this topic she also frequently writes about philosophical teaching and process. The blog linked above is her primary blog; Dr. Uckelman also contributes to a blog on onomastics (did you know that meant “the study of names”?), another blog on medieval logic, and in addition to that has numerous personal blogs! So, why should you – or the average person – care about the history of logic? Dr. Uckelman has you covered. Do you want a more personal take on what it’s like to be a woman philosopher who is not a “woman in philosophy”? Then read this piece, which got a lot of attention.


4) Stat Girl by Dr. Leslie Ain McClure, @StatGirlLAM

“I am the mother of two wonderful, unique, fun, smart, silly children, the wife of a brilliant scientist-teacher, and a biostatistician – a collaborative scientist who works with a lot of other scientists to help them understand their data better. This blog is my attempt to help make sense of my every day life.”

Dr. McClure’s expertise is in biostatistics, clinical trials, and environmental epidemiology. She only recently started her blog (in April 2016, with this inaugural post which explains why she felt compelled to start), but already has some very interesting essays on the many roles she plays in her life: daughter, mother, teacher, mentor, scientist, statistician. Dr. McClure also wrote a candid piece titled “Are you depressed? (I was.)”, in which she urges those struggling with depression to seek help. You are not alone.


5) Raul Pacheco-Vega, PhD by Dr. Raul Pacheco-Vega, @raulpacheco

Dr. Pacheco-Vega is doing a huge service to the academic community and beyond with his blog. Updating the blog almost every day, Dr. Pacheco-Vega seems to blog about everything he works on, including academia in general and his own research on natural resource governance in particular; but his most popular posts are about his productivity and writing techniques.

Dr. Pacheco-Vega has recently shared his system for writing memorandums, his office organization strategy; and how he plans his workflow to be as amazingly productive as he is – not to mention his frequent posts on motivation. Dr. Pacheco-Vega is also very active on witter, and started the very intellectually stimulating #ScholarSunday hashtag for people to recommend their favorite Twitter academics.


(1) Lupton, D. (2014). ‘Feeling better connected’: Academics’ use of social media. Canberra: News & Media Research Centre, University of Canberra.

Every Sunday, we pick a theme and provide a curated list of links. If you have a theme suggestion, please don’t hesitate to contact us! Our 5 most recent digests can be found here:

Weekly Digest #16: On the Importance of Taking Breaks

Weekly Digest #17: Sleeping and Learning

Weekly Digest #18: How to Blog About Education

Weekly Digest #19: Meet Other Edu-Bloggers

Weekly Digest #20: Plagiarism