My Scholarly Reflections

This is where I tell what I think, so that I see what I say

globs,bgols,olgbs……sorry, I mean blogs!

with 4 comments

Blogs have lately started entering myth and ceremony in higher education. Blogs (the word comes from web log), are often journals written on topics of personal interest. The most important feature of a blog is its effective use of the ‘intertextuality’  [sorry I meant ‘hypertextuality’] and connectivity of the internet: Blogs facilitate extremely scalable interactivity by allowing comments, linking with other blogs/online social media etc. But most of the time ‘blogs’ in an undergraduate class mean assessable reflective essays only meant for the lecturer. This is not what blogs are meant to be.  Students can simply email their reflections to the lecturer, no? So this thing with blogs (or other exotic creatures sneaking into the higher ed teaching discourse) has recently made me think twice about the need to be more careful in using scalable online spaces for learning. Then there is this annoying guy,  David Rushkoff who jolts people out of their stupor! I am reading his book: program or be programmed   a highly thought provoking book,  I must say, which I put up there with the likes of Understanding Media: The extensions of Man (by Marshal McLuhan, the ‘medium is the message’ guy).  Rushkoff essentially says that we need to understand the intrinsic biases of the media that we use, say for learning and teaching. Online interactional spaces are scalable for mass interaction. But university students pay money for a more intimate face to face interaction with us lecturers and students. Why use a medium which is biased against face to face interaction. [Swinburne folks, Rushkof book is available in our library, but I am currently reading it!].

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Written by Amer Khan

March 30, 2012 at 10:35 am

Posted in Uncategorized

4 Responses

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  1. This has created some doubts in my mind.

    > But most of the time ‘blogs’ in an undergraduate class mean assessable reflective essays only meant for the lecturer.

    I doubt this. Even if it is an assessable essay, it can have a wider audience. If students can organise their various assignments/reports within a well-structured blog site, it can serve as a portfolio of their work, which can be useful for job seeking and further education purposes.

    > But university students pay money for a more intimate face to face interaction with us lecturers and students.

    I seriously doubt this. Why would they come to class and play with their smartphones in the back row then?
    I think students (actually parents) pay to universities because they consider it as a “financial investment” from which they expect “returns.”

    DP

    March 31, 2012 at 5:19 pm

  2. Thanks for your comment. A belated reply:

    Regarding your first point: A portfolio of assignments can be a Pdf file, attached with a CV. This way it could be targeted in a better way to an audience (e.g. application for a particular job where that assignment portfolio could turn out to be particularly useful). Of course, if students want to take their message to a broader audience, and would like to create a conversation around their work, then blogs are a suitable option. Blog is a technology biased for ‘interaction’ not so much for ‘presentation’.

    Regarding your second point: what you mention is an outcome, the most dominant one desired by the students and their parents. What about the taken for granted and assumed processes that parents envision their kids to be going through? I know this is a question ripe for an empirical investigation. But I would make an educated guess to say that the parents (and students?) would unlikely envision class room activities to be much different from what they see in their schools. And believe me! I have seen class rooom activities in schools!

    amerkhan

    April 6, 2012 at 4:09 pm

  3. Seth Godin on blogging: “…it does’nt matter if anyone reads it. what matters is the humility that come from writing it…” OK so this guy also highlights the ‘metacognitive’ aspects of blogging, which comes from the very act of writing it. But again this aspect comes because it is expected that others will read the blog.
    Watch what he has to say in this (wait till the end when Tom Peters the business guru talks about his blogging):

    amerkhan

    April 16, 2012 at 2:45 pm

  4. This blog post says: “to blog is to teach yourself what you think”
    http://teachpaperless.blogspot.com/2009/09/why-teachers-should-blog.html

    amerkhan

    April 22, 2012 at 12:36 am


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