Here’s me again, but this time in The Spectrum, which is our University at Buffalo (SUNY) campus student newspaper. I was just giving my usual workshop on blogging when a kid showed up without prior registration. Sensing something amiss, I asked him who he was and soon learned that he wanted to do a story on blogging in class. Clearing this with my Teaching & Learning Center folks, he sat in and listening to my explanations and demos, and proceeded to interview the faculty participants.
First off all this wouldn’t have come to light without inspiration from the great Alex Halavais (seen in the trailer), as well as my colleague Derek Lackaff, who coordinated our classes topics simultaneously in the U.S. and in Singapore.
The newspaper article was a positive piece about how I profess to using blogs to engage students beyond the classroom. However, as a blogger’s right to the last word, it might also make me appear too much like a blog evangelist. There should be some sense of appropriateness when choosing particular media.
We are handing controls to students, and while they appreciate it subconsciously, sometimes we do need to get ready when things go out of hand. It rarely did for me, but recommending blogging to the uninitiated is like opening up pandora’s box, where we’d have to deal with issues of copyright, cyber-ethics, working with code, etc. If students are interested enough, most of them would be able to learn as they go, since self-censorship and other forms of checks and balances come in when they realize how public their blogs are.
It has certainly helped that the classes I taught in Singapore were oriented around mass media theory and Internet culture, so students could literally create or re-purpose existing media with their own critical opinions for course assignments. There was a strong purpose to blogging as instituted by instructors like me, and knowing that not just me, but fellow students and the general public could be watching, blogs offered a perfect panopticon for maintaining good work.
Aside: That Facebook-to-face tip in the article was originally from Alex Halavais.