Last week’s “Intro to Web 2.0” presentation at the UB Dental School was interesting to say the least… I didn’t feel as much energy from the attendees as I normally do, but they still raised interesting questions.
In my discussions, I always talk about the overarching significance of this Web 2.0 business. I’d talk about the need to go public and build real relationships, which manifest online as conversations. In the singularity context of getting students to have more passion in their subject matter, I talked about letting student take ownership over their work, getting out there on the web, being an expert and earning the public recognition they deserve. Letting ego motivate (a good thing), all this happens with hopefully little interference from the faculty’s part (big yay there!), other than to facilitate and moderate the blogging / wiki-ing / podcasting process.
All this often gets lost when the communication I get revolves around building password-protected blogs, whether or not it would be possible to delete all the student’s blog content when the semester was done or how much time is taken away from your regular workflow when you’re blogging.
It’s really no one’s fault to think that Web 2.0 is merely a technological thing rather than a philosophical one, and patience is often required to show how it works. From my experience, it’s really necessary to show real-life examples to get the point across. In my case, I often show how Alex Halavais conducts his classes via the Informatics blog server which he put together, and it didn’t hurt to impress upon others how much value I got out of my own blog.
While it is unlikely that all academic blogs go as planned, the real question remains as to whether the risk is worth the reward. I need to find out how well-rewarded academic bloggers are. Any takers?