Monday, January 14, 2008

Academic Blogging?

A short article in today's Chronicle of Higher Education caught my eye this morning, particularly since I'm thinking about ways to make my students' blogs meaningful to them and to the things they will be learning in our Computer Skills class. The title of the article was Blogs Are Increasingly Venues for Scholarship, Librarians Are Told. It's fascinating to follow the links in the article and read some of the discussion and academic arguments the entry in question produced.

I don't pretend to understand specialized botanical comments such as "I think my main point is that the authors need to have considered more complex (i.e. realistic) evolutionary genetic situations before they proposed an alternative method of molecular heredity. I think the most important data that is missing is the actual biochemical function of the hothead gene. Knowing that would really help to figure out what is occurring in the double nulls." However, the spirit of academic give-and-take is lively and fun to read. Some commenters can't resist correcting spelling errors, and one in particular has strong feelings about a certain journal:

The papers that are published by bigshots that are completely crap (I’m thinking about a particular journal family- one can guess) are the ones that bug me the most.

Blogs seem to have the potential to provide an informed yet informal forum for academicians and students of all fields and generations. Here's what Carlton Clark of Collin County Community College has to say.

"By reading and occasionally commenting on my students' blogs and by making mine available to them, I hope to establish a greater rapport with my students. I can establish a dialogue or sense of trust, which I would expect to carry over into the classroom. Although my teaching philosophy statement contains a few sentences on the importance of developing a sense of rapport with my students, I've found that, in practice, establishing this rapport has always been a great personal challenge."

His comments and more on the topic of academic blogging can be found at Lore: An E-Journal for Teachers of Writing.

I am excited about a new semester and new blogs that allow us to share our thoughts and ideas in an academic, but nevertheless, fun and creative setting.

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