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Sabbatical (Victoria University) - Academic Blogging: Personal Development to Enhancing Student Learning and Engagement


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Barbour, M. K. (2011, May). Academic blogging: Personal development to enhancing student learning and engagement. An invited presentation to the College of Education at Victoria University, Wellington, New Zealand.

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Sabbatical (Victoria University) - Academic Blogging: Personal Development to Enhancing Student Learning and Engagement

  1. 1. Academic Blogging: Personal Development to Enhancing Student Learning and Engagement Michael K. Barbour Assistant Professor Wayne State University
  2. 2. • Rural Education Special Interest Group of AERA• Breaking into the Academy• Rock Ruminations• AECT Conference Interns Blog• AECT Blog Track: Hanging Out My Shingle• AECT Blog Track:Virtual Schooling• The Program
  3. 3. Should You Blog?“The content of the blog may be lessworrisome than the fact of the blogitself. Several committee membersexpressed concern that a blogger whojoined our staff might air departmentaldirty laundry (real or imagined) on thecyber clothesline for the world to see.Past good behavior is no guaranteeagainst future lapses of professionaldecorum.”•Ivan Tribble, (a pseudonym of ahumanities professor at a small liberal-arts college in the Midwest), a 2005piece for the job seekers advice columnin the Chronicle of Higher Educationentitled, “Bloggers Need Not Apply”
  4. 4. Should You Blog?“The promise of blogging foracademics is great – exposingthem to new ideas andcolleagues, provoking new ideasof their own – but it brings withit the risk of the “ever-presentdeath”, an awareness of thefleeting and fickle nature of theself, which can undermine thevery attempt to establish one’sacademic self online, or evenoff.” (Ewins, 2005)
  5. 5. Why Blog?“These issues of reputation cost andimpact on careers have to be takenseriously. As well as overt attempts by aninstitution to constrain the content ofblogs some of my bloggers felt thatothers – peers in the discipline, ormanagers the institution would see theirblog as not academically serious enough.Perhaps it should not be surprising thatacademic institutions can be as sensitiveas commercial institutions about whattheir employees publish. It isprofessionally safer to perform anacademic identity that does not bring youinto conflict with your employers.” (Kirkup, 2010)
  6. 6. Why Blog?• “academic weblogs tend to be used by scholars to positive themselves in a disciplinary blogging community” (Luzón, 2009)• “most academics use blogs for self-presentation, in order to increase their visibility and develop respect and reputation” (Davies & Merchant, 2007)
  7. 7. Why Blog?• “the opportunity to write outside of the boundaries of traditional academic publication is appealing” (Davies & Merchant, 2007)• “to write in *different* ways than... official academic writing, but often what I write on the blog subsequently bleeds overt into my ‘official writing’” (Saper, 2006)• “that although the blog is ‘a supplement to my own activities as a writer, I hope there is a sense of risk and outrage that I don’t allow in my academic work’” (Saper, 2006)• immediate publication allows for interaction with a potentially wide, diverse and dispersed audience (Bortree,2005)
  8. 8. Academic Bloggers1. Public Intellectuals: “Many academic bloggers use their blogs as a platform for political debate based on theories of political science, feminism, discourse and media analysis, and so on.”2. Research Logs: “The ‘pure’ research log is a record of research conducted and ideas that might be pursued.”3. Pseudonymous Blogs about Academic Life: “The kind of title given to this proliferating branch of the academic blog is characterized by a tongue-in- check refusal to revere the ivory tower experience…” (Walker, 2006)
  9. 9. Academic Bloggers• Disseminating content – as a possible way to disseminate something they would like others to read• Expressing opinions – to express opinions in a way that is seldom possible in other academic writing• Keeping up–to–date and remembering – blogging to make the effort to read and discover new things in the field, and also find things that might have otherwise missed• Writing – blogging to become a better writer• Interacting – blogging to interact with others or have others interact with us• Creating relationships – blogging to support the development of social networks or relationship management (Kjellberg, 2010)
  10. 10. Schmidt (2007)
  11. 11. The work of the academyshould relate directly tothe realities ofcontemporary life. (Boyer, 1990)
  12. 12. How to BlogCommentary Entries•news / current eventsitems•trackback entries•promoting comments
  13. 13. How to BlogLists/Links Entries•thematic•daily•weekly
  14. 14. How to BlogDiscussion QuestionEntries•on own blog•on other blogs
  15. 15. How to BlogInformation ItemEntries•notices•calls•advertisements
  16. 16. How to BlogBells & Whistles Entries•audio (podcasting)•video (vodcasting)•polling
  17. 17. YourQuestions andComments
  18. 18. Bibliography• Bortree, D. S. (2005). Presentation of self on the web: An ethnographic study of teenage girls’ weblogs. Education, Communication and Information, 5(1), 25-39.• Boyer, E. (1990). Scholarship reconsidered: Priorities of the professoriate. San Francisco: Jossey-Bass.• Davies, J., & Merchant, G. (2007). Looking from the inside out: Academic blogging as a new literacy. In C. Lankshear & M. Knobel (Eds.), A new literacies sampler (pp. 167-198). New York: Peter Lang.• Ewins, R. (2003, November 20).You are where? Building a research presence in cyberspace. A seminar present at the Moray House School of Education, Edinburgh, Scotland. Retrieved from• Kirkup, G. (2010). Academic blogging: Academic practice and academic identity. London Review of Education, 8(1), 75-84.• Kjellberg, S. (2010). I am a blogging researcher: Motivations for blogging in a scholarly context. First Monday, 15(8). Retrieved from• Luzón, M. J. (2009). Scholarly hyperwriting: The function of links in academic weblogs. Journal of the American Society for Information Science and Technology, 60(1), 75-89.• Saper, C. (2006). Blogademia. Reconstruction, 6(4). Retrieved from• Schmidt, J. (2007). Blogging practices: An analytical framework. Journal of Computer-Mediated Communication, 12(4). Retrieved from• Tribble, I. (2005, July 8). Bloggers need not apply. Chronicle of Higher Education. Retrieved from• Walker, J. (2006). Blogging from inside the ivory tower. In A. Bruns & J. Jacobs (Eds). Uses of blogs (pp. 127–138). New York: Peter Lang.
  19. 19. Assistant Professor Wayne State University, USA http://www.michaelbarbour.com