Farhad Manjoo calls listservs “one of the most important things on the Internet.” He says that “we should all be participating in more listservs.” He even goes so far as to claim that listservs are better than Facebook, Twitter, and Tumblr (“The Joy of Listservs,” Slate.com, Aug. 5, 2010).
I think I agree.
Joining and participating in listservs on teaching and learning in higher education (whether LISTSERV® discussion lists or email discussion lists by other means) is a wonderful way to “get into the conversation.”
Good scholarly listservs are powerful resources. They put participants in touch with an impressive breadth and depth of knowledge. They facilitate ongoing interaction among intelligent, informed, and invested people in the field. Moreover, the really good listservs turn into communities, with impressive reservoirs of energy and support.
What listservs on teaching and learning in higher education should you go right now and sign up for?
Generally speaking, my first recommendation would be POD Mailing List, the listserv of the Professional and Organizational Development Network of Higher Education. However, my personal favorite is WPA-L, the listserv of the Council of Writing Program Administrators, though, for obvious reasons, this one would be less relevant to those not particularly interested in writing, composition, etc.
Listservs are the way to go for:
- finding out about important books and articles,
- discovering useful links, resources, etc.
- hearing commentary on relevant current issues and breaking news,
- getting Calls for Papers,
- getting answers to your questions and requests for leads, information, and ideas,
- giving back by responding to others’ questions and requests,
- feeling connected, included, and involved.
Different lists have different cultures. Some involve frequent and rigorous discussion, while others focus mostly on posting occasional announcements. Some have heated exchanges from time to time, while others keep it cordial.
Listservs often have impressive archives that contain the full-text of all of the list’s discussions and can be browsed or searched for an accumulated wealth of information and ideas. For instance, Russ Hunt’s comment to this effect can be accessed in the STLHE-L archives, which go back to 1991. The WPA-L archives go back to 1993, POD archives to 1998, and IJ-SoTL archives to 2006.
How do you get onto a listserv? Click on the links above. Follow the instructions for subscribing.
Sign up for a listserv or two or three. If you don’t like it, unsubscribe.
What other listservs on teaching and learning in higher education would you recommend?
Image from Slate.com