USC academic helps baby boomers to blog

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USC academic Dr Karen Sutherland (centre) with Noosa U3A members Elizabeth Cameron and Irene Mews during the two-week blogging course

A USC academic is helping students aged over 50 launch into the blogosphere with websites about topics that range from genetically modified food to gothic horror fiction.

Lecturer in Public Relations Dr Karen Sutherland has been teaching baby boomers how to set up blogs through the Noosa branch of the University of the Third Age (U3A) – a volunteer organisation supported by USC for retirees who want to continue learning.

Dr Sutherland said that despite some students having limited knowledge of the online world, the blogs were easy for everyone to pick up.

“Most of the students managed to set up their own blog and had started to post by the end of the session, which is great because it’s a really good way to express yourself,” Dr Sutherland said.

The social media expert, who ran two blogging courses for students over two weeks late last year, pitched the classes as a good way for seniors to document family stories.

“Family history tends to die out because it’s not shared anywhere,” Dr Sutherland said. “I think blogging is an amazing way to capture that history.”

However, she found some students had other ideas about what they wanted to share online, with blogs emerging on topics as diverse as gothic horror fiction, genetically modified food, and life and death on India’s Ganges River.

The courses proved so popular that Dr Sutherland has been asked to teach more classes later this year.

Ingrid Gane, 71, who started a blog about photography, said she liked the course because it had been taught in plain English without any jargon.

“The course is there to enjoy yourself and to make friends,” Mrs Gane said. “No-one gets judged or criticised. It’s all about having fun.”

 
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