I thought at the time the Blogging in Academia session was one of the most transformative.
Blogs in Academia (part of the Room of Your Own (RoYO) sessions, was ably lead by Grace Davis, (re-entry student) Lizzard Henry, (graduate student) and profgrrrl (full professor). (Here's some back-story) Lizzard's stream of consciousness post about the academia panel. For now, Julie's post on the conference. Live-ish blogging from lunisea).
The discussion started with Grace's recounting of her blogging for credit.
(BlogHounds is gone, but the announcement is here). It took some talking to convince her professor that blogging is indeed journalism.
Lizzard Henry, Badgerbag, took the microphone to recount her history with blogging in academia. She wanted to post curricula and reading lists and all kinds of course-related information, and ran into barriers.
The discussion among the academics and students in the room hit these points:
- Professors were worried about losing intellectual property--curricula represent a tremendous investment of time and thought
- Professors were worried about other professors stealing ideas
- The nature of research and intellectual property in the humanities is different than in the sciences (where early release of results is beginning to happen.)
- Online publishing stinks of vanity publishing
- Professors don't understand the nature of blogging. It has an aura, somehow, that is unscholarly--maybe the popular presentation of blogging as teenaged girl diary scribbling?
Profgrrrl is in deep disguise. She keeps absolute anonymity. She lives in a
It is about moving from a community that happens to be near a large university where I just happen to work to a community that is entirely centered around a large university.
I started my career at a university where separating work and home life was quite easy. The second I drove off campus I was away from it all.... . One could not assume that the 18-22 crowd was entirely comprised of [university] students. But here -- the university is the town and the town is the university. OK, so there are 1 or 2 other things that make this town this town, but the point is that a very few big organizations/institutions influence everything here and everyone knows it.
The deep disguise is not trivial. There was the whole deal about the blog, Truth at ULM. Then there was the case of the Phantom Professor whose cover was blown and her contract not renewed at Southern Methodist University. There are other issues of academic freedom and the separation of the job and the employee.
Dana Boyd (who was in the audience) has written about blogging and academia.
The third session slot included a session on "Blogs in Academia"...except of course you can split this into at least four different subjects: using blogs in the classroom, blogging as an academic on research topics under your own name, anonymously blogging as an academy - associated "life" blogger, getting support from your field-specific (or field-independent) blogging community, etc etc etc. Since these sessions were so short, I dare say they were little more than ways to measure interest in topics for future conferences. Panelists introduce themselves, a few very high-level questions are put on the table, time's up.
What I particularly wanted to hear is if any current teachers are using blogs (or discussion lists) in transformative ways in their teaching. Badgerbag's been using the blog format for adjudicating a book award. Julie is writing a book, How to Use Blogger in a Snap,:
because one of its purposes is to alleviate the need for teachers to make their own "how to use blogger" handouts for students when blogs are required. Point them at a $15 book and use your time for actual teaching, I figure.
As a researcher I'm curious to see how blogs could be used for learning and knowledge sharing. So, my blog is an experiment as well.
Lilia has written about blogs in education, tangentially.
Another person who spoke is (I'm almost certain--bad reporter, me, did not write down her name!) Cynthia McCune, who is an adjunct professor at San Jose State University's School of Journalism & Mass Communications. I'd like to hear what she had to say about this panel.
So herewith a smattering of links about using blogs for educational purposes in the classroom:
Welcome to Weblogg-ed, maintained by me, Will Richardson, blogvangelist and Supervisor of Instructional Technology and Communications at Hunterdon Central Regional High School in Flemington, NJ. This site is dedicated to discussions and reflections on the use of Weblogs, wikis, RSS, audiocasts and other Read/Write Web related technologies in the K-12 realm, technologies that are transforming classrooms around the world.
From the The University of Houston Clear Lake, http://awd.cl.uh.edu/blog/
This page is designed to provide you some resources if you want to get started using blogs for yourself or with your students.
The use of blogs in instructional settings is limited only by your imagination.
Rhetorica's listing of professors who blog
Interactive Writing Spaces: Using Weblogs in the Classroom (presentation by Barbara Ganley, Sarah Lohnes, Suzie Mozes, Catharine Wright at NERCOMP 2003: Balancing the New, the Old, and the Unexpected, March 17, 2003 Worcester, MA )
Barclay Barrios: Weblogs in the Writing Classroom
TechLearning: Blogs 101 (from 2003)
Badgerbag's sum up:
You know it also feels really good that lots of people are thanking me for doing the academia panel... super nice! (I didn't prepare a lot for it as I usually do for panels, and I didn't make a cool handout. And felt so bad that I was going to do it half-assed that I almost flaked out and didn't go at all. But it went well. If there's one thing I'm good at it's thinking of a million ideas on the fly and talking about them punchily & informally. I love being on just about any random panel. Also I can always think of suggestions of books or resources that might lead people to what they want to explore. I feel like I'm tossing handfuls of sparkly confetti, the beautiful information that usually is lurking in dusty books, and people are catching bits of it... And I get very excited about other people's ideas, everyone seems all golden to me during classes, or discussions... I focus on what they're saying and get a little bit lost in it, and then come out again. It's this feeling that makes me think that I make a good teacher, though the kind that might not be ideally patient and slow-explaining - and yet, charismatic & encouraging people to believe in their own ideas, their own superpowers. )
Backstory: Some thoughts on academic blogging.
The use of blogs to engage in institutional criticism illuminates and sharpens this fundamental values-control tension in the university. The blog is an instrument that encourages the free sharing of information. But when it's subject is institutional criticism, it cannot be easily controlled by traditional methods of hierarchy and compartmentalization.
Steven Waters had a summary post Northern Voice, the Canadian Blogging Conference, took place February 19, 2005
Blogging has been unevenly adopted by academia. Higher Education has been both threatened and exhilirated by the capabilities and potential for blogs and related technologies. The knowledge creation, reconciliation and dissemination inherent in blogs and blog culture seems to be an ideal fit for higher education yet adoption in our institutions has been limited to pockets of enthusiasts. Join us and our panel as we scan the academic blogging field and explore emerging themes relevant to higher education.
The Invisible Adjunct (a blog about academia) Chris Bertram wrote, Could Blogging Damage Your Career; Brian Weatherson responded with an overview of the effects of blogging on an academic career Yardley summarizes the Chronicle of Higher Education's anonymous article, "Bloggers Need Not Apply". (Ivan Tribble is a psydonym). CultureCat responds USC is running a Web Collaboration pilot project, which includes references to a list of sources.