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I am posting this as a benchmark, not because I think I'm playing very well yet.  The idea would be post a video every month for a ye...

Thursday, March 4, 2010

Blogging As Work

When I started my first blog in 2002, I saw it as extracurricular. Then, a funny thing happened: I began to use blogs for courses, beginning with a literary theory course in mid-decade. Now, almost all my courses have blogs and I require my students to post. I sometimes use the blogs directly in the classroom, projecting posts onto a screen rather than writing on the blackboard, or playing a youtube video that I've posted on the blog.

I now have this metablog, SMT, which you are now reading, dear reader, on how to get scholarly writing done, and I use several blogs, including this one, to sketch out ideas for books and articles. When I go to the office to work, I open up blogger and write posts for my courses or about my ongoing research. Anyone in the world with access to internet can see me at work, doing what I do. The amount and quality of work I do is almost completely transparent, there for anyone to see. The only thing that is not public is the classroom discussion itself. I don't post the final versions of my articles and books--or specifics of work in progress that might be plagiarized--but my university is implementing an open access policy so that any published article should be available to anyone.

Scholarship and teaching are both about the communication of ideas. In one case, to a particular set of students, in the other, to a community of scholars and a wider interested public. Anything that furthers this communication is desirable. Can there be too much transparency? What do you think?


Thomas said...

In the early days of "academic writing" (in the modern sense), scientists circulated letters describing their results. (I.e., a single copy would make the rounds, readers sometimes adding comments and criticisms.) These ultimately became the journals we know today (with print runs and publication schedules). Their original function was to inform readers, other scholars, not measure the scholarly merit of the writer.

I sometimes wonder what would happen if we replaced the system of journal publication with, say, a series of individual and (better) collective blogs (with little or no editorial control) and a duty to serve as a Wikipedian in one's area of expertise. ("Edit or perish").

Phaedrus said...

Holy moly, two sentences into the top post and you've already given me a tool I will be using in my next round of classes!