The fall semester will soon start wrapping up for many colleges and universities, and we at ACI like to keep an eye out for running themes during those interesting times of transition. Some bloggers pick up the publishing pace again, eager to share what they’ve learned, or what others failed to. Some are anticipating the coming new semester, others are ready for a break, and still others just looking forward to finally having the time to write again. So it’s interesting to us when those themes seem to pop up more than usual. So many people blog so passionately on the same topic, having never met; or they differ in complementary ways, like one stranger picking up a conversation where another left off.
Whether and how blogging fits in academia or in the classroom is bound to be a recurring theme in a curated scholarly blog collection; the authors are the ones who are in it. But as blogging becomes more and more common among the academic community, more blog authors are sharing their ideas for what makes blogging work in an academic setting, how it interacts with other learning or research traditions in academia, and why it belongs there in the first place.
So what are they posting? Read on for a quick roundup of ACI posts on blogging, students, and the classroom.
Many blog posts – and blogs – focus on sharing ideas for connected learning, or recommending the learning and educational technology tools that they successfully applied in practice. Steven W. Anderson’s blog, Blogging About The Web 2.0 Connected Classroom, is one of those. For example, there’s Making The Most Of Social Media In The Classroom, where he points out that educators need to take advantage of the fact that students are actively using social media as soon as they walk out the door, and even has a couple of tips for two platforms less-often used in academia – Instagram and Pinterest. You’ll also find posts by Anderson on recommended Google apps and posts tackling both #edtech and learning theory, such as Which Device Can Support Different Learning Styles?
In addition to the educational and information-literacy benefits that students can gain by blogging, some posts focus on other intangibles, like Student Affairs & Technology Leadership blog author Joe Sabado, who discusses the depth of impact blogging can potentially have on the blogger. Read his Blogging as a Medium of Expression for Marginalized Voices for a serious take on the empowerment that can come with those less-heard being given a platform to speak. Sabado writes: “There are certain standards in the academy of what constitutes scholarly writing. I can accept the idea that blogs may not yet be considered as scholarly publications but what I will not accept is the idea is not blogs are not legitimate source of ideas, whether they are considered scholarly or not, especially ideas from those who have been marginalized and whose voices have not been heard.”
In The Blogging Graduate Student, Uncovering the Roof blogger and PhD Candidate Naomi Jacobs PhD Candidate gives her take on one conference panel’s conclusion that blogging holds more risks than benefits for postgraduate students. After attending the same conference, fellow conference-goer and PhD Candidate Andrew Hendry guest-posted on Dr. John Fea’s The Way of Improvement Leads Home blog, also addressing the panel’s recommendations and reservations on student blogging in the post Andrew Henry on Blogging and Graduate Students. And another conference attendee, PhD Candidate and blogger Matthew Wade Ferguson, talks about some great meet-ups with a few of his peers (and… fellow bloggers).
In the Impact of Social Sciences blog published by the Public Policy Group at the London School of Economics and Political Science, Duncan Green also lays out the reasons why blogging and Tweeting shouldn’t be so readily dismissed by non-social-media-involved scholars in his post An antidote to futility: Why academics (and students) should take blogging / social media seriously. As the editor so eloquently notes in the blog’s preface, “Blogs are now an established part of the chattersphere/public conversation, especially in international development circles, but Duncan Green finds academic take-up lacking. Here he outlines the major arguments for taking blogging and social media seriously.”
Dr. Rohan Maitzen in the blog Novel Readings addresses a tangle of fascinating questions in her post This Week In My Classes: Being Beginners. “Why not do the research first and then write, from a position of informed confidence?” she writes. “Why not earn some authority before opining? Why opine at all, really, when with the right preparation I could pronounce instead?” She goes on to describe the multi-faceted benefits of her blogging activity, not the least of which is its positive effect on her teaching and enhanced ability to relate to those students facing strange concepts for the first time.
The American Mathematical Society’s blog on math blogs has a fascinating post entitled Blogging in Math Class: A Q&A with Casey Douglas. In it, math professor Dr. Evelyn Lamb interviews another math professor, Dr. Casey Douglas, who incorporates blogging into his Foundations of Math course. Within his response to one of Dr. Lamb’s questions on the seeming impact on his students, Dr. Douglas answers: “Many find great joy in developing their voice, their mathematical voice in particular, and quickly come to appreciate the benefits of regular blogging; they seem to agree that it helps them remember abstract ideas and definitions, and given the fact that FOM focuses so much on writing (especially proof writing), they also agree that their blogs provide them much needed opportunities to practice.”
Dr. Douglas, from what we’ve been reading in ACI these last few weeks, the ACI Scholarly Blog-osphere couldn’t agree with you more.
Be sure to check out the blogs referenced in the above Roundup:
blog on math blogs
Joe Sabado: Student Affairs & Technology Leadership
Κέλσος | Matthew Ferguson Blogs
LSE Impact of Social Sciences
Blogging About the Web 2.0 Connected Classroom
Uncovering the Roof
The Way of Improvement Leads Home