For blogging -- well it goes on the page as it goes through the brain. - Joshua Kim, "Technology and Learning" Blog, Inside Higher Ed
That's when I started this entry. And I will end my post at 4:07 on the dot.
Grandma's got the kids, I just ate a fast food burrito, and I've got just under 30 minutes until I will send these words out there and move on to clean my house before the kids return.
In my last entry I explained that it was taking me too long to write these blog posts... based only a hunch. But then I read "Online Education and Blogging" from Inside Higher Ed's Joshua Kim, and my hunch grew into conviction.
In this particular entry from Kim, he claims that he spends only 30 minutes writing his blog entries, not because he thinks that all blog entries should be written in 30 minutes, but because he sees blogging as a genre to challenge our "rapid writing" skills, especially because "time is our scarcest commodity." Kim thinks that our students benefit if we encourage them to write rapidly and effectively, which can only be achieved through ongoing practice. Aha! Another argument for teaching the blog: to help students write hurriedly but persuasively.
Reconsidering time spent blogging helps me to consider my students' blogging experience. If I'm feeling a little burnt out by my own blogging expectations, then my students feel it tenfold. Kim brings up blogging as it operated in online classes that he's taught, and he says, "The best students post persuasively, briefly, and often." This tenet will likely inform my future assignment requirements.
I like Kim's commitment to time limitations because it's too easy to treat a blog entry like a formal research article, especially when that's what we're used to writing. And if one treats a blog entry like a research article, then the writer is doomed. There's no way I will maintain this blog if it's taking several hours out of each work week that should be devoted to grading, teaching, or other kinds of writing. And there's no way that my students will overcome writer's block and maintain a lively blog if they feel pressured by steep expectations. I like the idea of limiting myself time-wise too, and of encouraging my students to limit themselves in the same way.
Kim knows that good blogging can involve "more time investment," but he implies that this investment doesn't have to be in the form of more time writing. This thought inspired me to consider how I can invest in the blog without over-writing during the actual production of an entry. To ensure that I'm prepared to write when it's time to write, and to write effectively and toward rich content, I'll do the following:
1. Jot down possible entry topics immediately after writing an entry
2. Keep topics small and focused
3. In the days prior to writing the entry, do snippets of research and brainstorming, jotting down minimal notes for use during the writing process
I'll also consider writing more frequently: daily entries or 2-per-week entries instead of 1 long involved entry.
I have to remind myself of the purpose of this blog, so here's a review:
I want to learn about blogging and write about what I'm learning, in small doses.
I want to blog with my students with the goal of improving my blog assignment constantly, modifying it to fit what I'm learning.
Geez. It's 4:06 and I haven't proofread, so here goes a 30 second edit... which gives me an idea for a future entry: Should we edit our blogs, and if we do, what guidelines should we follow?