I’ve found that the proliferation of academic blogging and tweeting has been beneficial for my own development as both a student and lecturer in the past few years. I’ve been curating a few lists of academics from fields related to my research over the past few years and it has provided a wealth of information that had not been easily accessible through things like journal articles. For an aspiring political scientist, the information generated on twitter or in personal or professional blogs is almost always more relevant and more timely than waiting for journal articles to be published.
In particular, I am a huge fan of the site “War on the Rocks” in which policy practitioners, academics, and other topic relevant individuals write posts about important topics and unfolding events in the national security field. It offers a public outlet for academics, graduate students, and others to publicly discuss and disseminate ideas and thoughts on national security issues that may go on to find homes in academic journals but without having to go through a 2 year process to get those thoughts out there. That type of collaboration and access to information is extremely beneficial for students and faculty alike, given the open exchange of ideas and the easy (and generally free) access to those concepts.
Finally, I think there is one other media that could be helpful for students attempting to improve their discourse and communication skills, one that has already been widely adopted by the academic community: podcasting. I’ve encouraged my students to listen to podcasts focused on issues related to their studies (such as national security, or foreign policy) and have assigned student projects that require them to produce their own podcasts. Podcasting gives students an opportunity to develop their oral skills with conveying information without having to have them stand up in front of 40-110 person classes. I think a combination of these techniques could be beneficial to students as they proceed through their academic careers.