March 24, 2005

Is Blogging for Class Really Blogging?

This is a question that is going around among those of us who are NOT educators. Is a blog that has to be written for a class really a blog?

This is a question that is going around among those of us who are NOT educators. Is a blog that has to be written for a class really a blog?

This goes back to the wild and wooly days when the web was new and regulation of any official sort (I'm not including the peer-pressure sort of policing that DID go on) was unimaginable. Those of us who were involved in the developing web of inter-connected computers were involved because we wanted to be. We were interested in trying new things and pushing the boundaries of what could be done with the existing technology. Or, we HAD to be involved because we were doing research that required such interaction (like shipping data from California to Minnesota without the use of a plane!).

Now, we take a medium such as a blog and make it mandatory. Seems like a travesty. The blog originally developed because someone somewhere had something to say - something that they were heavily, personally invested in and wanted to get out to the world at large because they believed the message itself was important. So important, that you could try to stop them, but they'd keep finding a way to speak out.

Now, we take this public, open soap box and assign people to step up on it? Reminds me of Orwellian fiction. What isn't proscribed becomes mandatory.

Of course, we will not now be able to reverse this trend. The software itself (such as this one - Moveable Type) makes it so very easy to assign web-based publication that any instructor would be tempted. But using blog software doesn't make what comes out of it a blog. If you want to see the difference, go out and surf classic blogs. See what people will right about when there isn't a grade associated with it. See what they are passionate about. You may not care for their grammatical usage or spelling, but these factors are not important measures of the quality of a blog (forgive me all teachers of composition). What matters is the content and person who chose it.

Posted by bjohnson at 11:17 AM