New – or returning – to writing for TECHE?
For issues or questions, please email teche at mq.edu.au.
What to write about for TECHE
The focus of TECHE is on recognising, sharing, and celebrating good practice in all things learning and teaching at Macquarie University – and beyond.
Writing a TECHE blog post
Audience – TECHE has a wide audience composed of Macquarie and external academic and professional educators and learning support staff and students, who want to find out more about what is happening in learning and teaching across the University. As such, TECHE welcomes contributions from Macquarie’s L&T community, in the form of scholarly, educational, instructional, technical, informative, and/or reflective pieces on learning and teaching issues and topics.
Your posts for TECHE should be written in language that is accessible to a diverse and educated lay audience, conversational in tone, and less formal in style than for academic publications. Stories, case-studies, how-to guides, thought pieces and commentary on any learning and teaching topics are all welcome.
If you’ve already written something for another forum or publication that would be suitable for a post, the TECHE team can help you revise and restyle it.
Student contributions to TECHE are always welcome.
Structure / content – TECHE posts don’t need to follow any specific format or structure, however, this basic structure should work for posts on any topic:
- Introduction: a brief (1-2 sentences) outline of the topic/s and the relevance to Macquarie learning and teaching.
- Main body: 3-5 paragraphs containing examples or discussion points/ideas.
- Ending: A reflection on future directions / next steps / practical applications, with links to any more useful resources and information, including upcoming related workshops and events.
If you want to include references to journal articles, books, websites, or additional resources, please include the URLs to the sites, or list the publications at the end of the post.
Please note that your post may be lightly (copy) edited for length and style. Any substantial editing of content will be done in consultation with you.
When submitting your TECHE post, please send any images you would like to accompany the piece. Please ensure you have permission to use the image and that the images are high quality – see details below). If you do not have any appropriate images, members of the TECHE team can source these for you.
TECHE Highlights email
A TECHE Highlights email (or ‘EDM’) is sent out fortnightly to all TECHE subscribers. If your post is included in TECHE Highlights, please note that individual post images and titles may be edited for the highlights edition to ensure consistency in the EDM’s style and format.
Before you publish…
Please check for the following in your post before publishing. (If any of these elements are missing, please note that the TECHE team may add on your behalf.)
The ideal title is a (very) succinct synopsis of the main topic or idea, written in a way to grab a reader’s attention. Check:
- Does your title summarise your main topic or idea?
- Is the title compelling enough for one of your colleagues to click on it?
- Would you share a post with this title on social media or forward it to someone in your professional network?
Intro / ‘Hook’
Will your introduction ‘hook’ your reader? Here are some ideas for writing an introduction that will keep people reading:
- Front-load your content – consider mentioning the most important things first (i.e. don’t bury your lede)
- Ask yourself ‘Why would my reader care about this?’ – and put the answer/s in your introduction.
- Start with a ‘What,’ ‘Who,’ ‘When’, ‘Why’, or ‘How’ question that will be answered in your article.
Questions to ask, things to check:
- Is your post structured so it’s clear, easy to read, and enables readers to find out more if they want to?
- Consider chunking your main topic/s into sub-topics and/or using sub-headings (H2, H3, H4) to organise your text
- Use accessible language, tone, and style for an intelligent lay audience (no jargon, minimise and spell out your acronyms)
- Check for typos and other errors. Ask a colleague to proof-read.
- Add links to other TECHE posts (the TECHE team may do this for you) and to relevant external websites.
- Include links to further information available from relevant, reliable sources that are not password-protected. When linking, don’t post the full URL, instead link using the key actions or words.
- Will an image (screenshot, infographic, table, cartoon, photo) work just as well – or better – than words for a particular topic?
Here are some ideas on concluding your piece:
- Let the reader know of any related upcoming events or workshops.
- Provide a ‘For more information’ section with any internal and external links.
- Provide contact details or an email where possible, so that readers can get more information or ask further questions.
- Consider wrapping up your post with a call-to-action which is something the reader can do right away. For example:
- Visit this unit in iLearn to see these techniques in action.
- What are your thoughts on this issue? Please leave a comment below.
Publishing in WordPress
TECHE is published in WordPress. Here are some tips on how to use specific WordPress features to make your TECHE posts read well and look great.
The Excerpt is a short sentence or paragraph used to provide some context and interest to the reader. In TECHE, it is prominently visible in two places: on the home page of the TECHE blog in the ‘square’ that is your individual post; and on the post itself as part of the post’s ‘banner’ – see examples below.
The Feature image is the image that forms the ‘banner’ to your TECHE post as well as the background of your excerpt (see above). As such, it is critical to the ‘look’ of your post. An effective feature image is professional-looking, visually engaging, and relates to the content of the article. It does not have any text or writing in it.
IMPORTANT – Check that the dimensions and size of your image are correct!
The feature image dimensions for TECHE posts are 1800 pixels wide by 1200 pixels high, and approximately 300kB in size.
You can source bespoke photographs from the Macquarie University image library
Another option is to find an appropriate image on the following royalty-free image libraries.
Other tips for feature images
- Your feature image should add to or help illustrate your content.
- Avoid feature images with text as a prominent part of the image, as the article title will be placed over the image.
- As the feature image is responsive (it changes size depending on the viewer’s device and browser), avoid placing prominent subjects or features of the image close to the edges of the image.
- Infographics and clip art are generally not suitable for feature images.
- If in doubt about your chosen images or you don’t have an appropriate image, the TECHE team can source one for you.
When in the TECHE dashboard, and BEFORE you press ‘Publish’:
Have you included an excerpt? See above for more information on this important aspect of your TECHE post.
Have you included an appropriate feature image for your post? See above for more information on this key element.
- Please select no more than 2 categories for your TECHE post.
NOTE: The Featured category is for use by the TECHE operational team only.
SEO: Find out how to get more out of the YoastSEO plugin.
Digital storytelling: View the documentation for the storytelling plugin, Aesop Story Engine.