the power of blogging continues

With my hectic schedule and lower back pain, I haven’t blogged much lately; however, I have continued to update my Twitterstream, primarily from my phone and new I-pod touch. These have been short posts pointing to links I’ve found interesting or sharing my observations in a small Wisconsin town.

But this past week I noticed a couple blog posts that I knew I wanted to write about in a text box that didn’t limit me to 140 characters. These two posts, on a meta-level, discuss 1) the impact blogging has on literacy and the future of our country as well as 2) the freedom blogging offers that social media sites like Twitter cannot. Both articles give nods to the multitasking we networked citizens do, online and off, but they’ve reminded me that, in the words of Doc Searls, blogging “is something you do as an independent human being.”

Just as my dissertation argues that NOLA blogs are examples of authentic, personal, and public writing, Palfrey’s and Searls’ posts echo this celebration of voice. Palfrey writes, “To ignore online public discourse and the possibilities for engagement, by young people and old, would be to squander one of the great opportunities of our age.” I’m sure some might argue with me, but like Doc, I don’t think what happens on Facebook or Twitter is discourse. It’s just too brief. While the speed of information and response is awesome, the most interesting people I follow are those that also maintain blogs where I can really learn more about their lives and their takes on current events, pedagogy, research, etc. Again quoting Doc, “Blogging at its best is free speech working in open spaces,” which is a perfect segue into the “How blogs are building a friendlier world” video below:

If you know me at all, you know how ideal this video is for my research into embodied writing and trauma; moreover, I’m so happy to hear Mena Trott describe blogs as “records of who you are” because that’s the description I’ve been looking for. As someone who also doesn’t have a lot of family records, her speech has urged me to return wholeheartedly to blogging and to use it to build an infinite archive of who I am.


teaching update

Wow. I haven’t blogged here in over a month, with that last post consisting only of embedded videos! I have written a couple posts over on the Katrina Media site, though, so check those out when you have a chance.

Things have been very busy here, such is the life of a still dissertating new Assistant Professor, yet I’ve been loving every minute of it.

Being at a teaching school means I’m observed three times each semester [for the first couple years, I think], and I’ve already received 2 out of 3 evaluations. My main concern this semester has not been the 4/4 load, but the return to teaching face-to-face and 5 days a week after almost 2 years of solid online teaching or a Tues/Thurs schedule. As a result, I’ve been concerned with using all of the allotted class time. I’m not sure why, but our twice a week classes meet for 85 minutes rather than the typical 75. To keep the students engaged and take advantage of being on a laptop campus, I’ve integrated many in-class discussion board posts, online research, group work, as well as reading quizzes and watching of short videos on either YouTube, Blip.tv, or TED.com.

I have three sections of ENG 101, so I’ve focused the course to explore the themes of public writing and social media. As stated in my syllabus, “all assignments challenge students to understand knowledge and information as existing within a broader situational and cultural context.” Their first project was an Annotated Bibliography focused on defining Web 2.0, and now their second project is a Rhetorical Analysis of a Website related to their major/chosen profession. Based on the drafts I’ve read so far, this has been an ideal assignment for students at a polytechnic school. Pushing them to find websites in their chosen field, some of which include golf enterprise management, apparel design, construction, packaging, and vocational rehab, is asking them to be proactive in learning then writing about their chosen career path.

I just hope the students are enjoying this as much as I am!