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H809 : Can blogging be worthy of academic study?

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Edited by Jonathan Vernon, Tuesday, 2 Apr 2013, 12:07

I did a search in my own blog knowing that somewhere I cited an academic who described blogging as 'whatever you can do on electronic paper'.

Chatting about this at dinner my 14 year old son trumped my conversation with his mother as I tried to define a blog and what can go into one with one word 'anything'.

For me there has been a slow shift from text (the weblog-cum-dairy journal thingey), to adding pictures (which have become photo / image galleries, photostreams of Flickr and concept boards of Pinterest), to adding video ... to adding 'anything' - apps, interactivity, grabs, mashups, music ...

My starting place is here.

This 'eportofolio, writers journal, aggregating, dumping ground, place for reflection and course work'.

You see, is it a blog at all? This platform, I'm glad, has its design roots in a Bulletin board.

The limitations of our OU Student Blog platform works in its favour.

I can only put in two search terms. In Google I might write a sentence and get a million links, in my wordpress blog it might offer have the contents.

Less is more.

Here I search 'blog paper' and get 112 posts that contain both words.

I'll spin through these an add a unique tag. My starting place.

But to study blogging would be like researching the flotsam and jetsam that floats across our oceans - after a tsunami.

RESEARCH

Starting with a book published in 2006 'Use of Blogs' I want to read a paper 'Bloggers vs. Journalists' published in 2005. A search finds richer, more up to date content. Do I even bother with this first paper? (ironic that we even call them papers).

I can't read everything so how do I select?

  • Toggle through the abstract, check out the authors, see where else such and such a paper has been cited.
  • Prioritise.
  • Use RefWorks rather than my habit to date of downloading papers that MIGHT be of interest.

Whilst storage space is so inexpensive it is virtually free there is no need to clutter my harddrive, dropbox or Google Docs space.

Which makes me think of one of my other favourite metaphors - kicking autumn leaves into the breeze. That or drowning in info overload, or as the Robert de Nero character in Brazil, Archibald 'Harry' Tuttle, who vanishes in a pile of discared paper ... my mind wanders. We do. It does.

I stumble in the OU Library as I find I am offered everything under the sun. I am used to being offered academic papers only. So far all I'm getting are scanned images of articles in newsapers on blogging. All feels very inside out.

Where's the 'turn off the printed stuff' button?

I fear that just as I have never desired to be a journalist, prefering the free form of your own diary, letters, and of course blogging and forums online, I will struggle to write within the parameters of an academic paper. I'm managing assignment here, so I guess I'm learning to split the two. A useful lesson to have learnt.

Serendipity

Is this a research methodology?

I am looking at a book on bloggin, 'Use of Blogs' (Bruns & Jacobs, 2006). I have it open on p.31 Notes (i.e. references) for the chapter Journalists and News Bloggers.

As I pick through these articles, papers and reviews written between 2002 and 2005 I find several of the authors, a decade on, are big names in the Journalism/Blogger debate. It's as if I am looking at a tray of seedlings.

It strikes me as easier to start in 2006 with 27 starting points when the field of debate was narrow, rather than coming in from 2013 and finding myself parachuting into a mature Amazonian jungle of mixed up printed and digital, journalism and blog content.

Courtesy of the OU Library and RefWorks I have nailed this article after a decade of searching:

Druckerman, P (1999) Ellen Levy Has Got The Write Project For the Internet Age --- It's a Year of Scribbling Down Almost Everything; Ah, Yes, It Was a Raisin Bagel, New York, N.Y., United States, New York, N.Y.

Reading this around 23rd /24th September 1999 prompted me to start blogging

Then I'd been reading blogs for a few months but had a mental block with uploading HTML files and then along came the first 'ready made' DIY blogging platforms.

The last 12 years makes amusing reading - particularly the battle between journalists and bloggers. And who has won? Is there a difference anymore? Journalists blog and bloggers are journalists and entire newspapers are more blog-like from The Huffington Post to the FT ... which within three years will close all its print operations.

To be used in learning and to be a genre to study blogging needs to be part of formative assessment

A blog therefore becomes 'an active demonstration of learning' with cumulative feedback. I've only received ONE Tutor comment in my OU blog and that was to say why was I blogging and not getting on with my TMA. This person had their head so stuffed inside primary school education of the 1960s it made me feel like tossing my cap in the air.

Why MAODE students blog (Kerewella et al, 2009) depends on their perceptions of, and for:

  1. an audience
  2. community
  3. the utility of and need for comments
  4. presentational style of the blog content
  5. overarching factors related to the technological context
  6. the pedagogical context of the course

Cited x30

REFERENCES

'Bloggers vs. journalist: The next 100 year War?' 2011, Public Relations Tactics, 18, 4, p. 17, Business Source Complete, EBSCOhost, viewed 18 February 2013.

Bruns, A. Jacobs, J. (2006) Use of Blogs.

Kerawalla, L, Minocha, S, Kirkup, G, & Conole, G (2009) 'An empirically grounded framework to guide blogging in higher education', Journal Of Computer Assisted Learning, 25, 1, pp. 31-42, Academic Search Complete, EBSCOhost, viewed 18 February 2013.

Rosen, J. (2007) 'Web Users Open the Gates', Washington Post, The, n.d., UK & Ireland Reference Centre, EBSCOhost, viewed 18 February 2013.

 

 

Permalink 4 comments (latest comment by Sharif Al-Rousi, Wednesday, 20 Feb 2013, 23:34)
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Am I the only person who can write a TMA in the early hours of the morning?

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Edited by Jonathan Vernon, Saturday, 17 Dec 2011, 12:23
I ask because I was up is morning at 4.00 am and will do the same tomorrow and Monday. I don't suppose I should be asking if anyone will be around. For now I'm making the most of crisp sunshine on the South Downs; I'm not averse to being asleep by 8.00 or 9.00pm.
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Limitations to the use of an eportfolio

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Edited by Jonathan Vernon, Wednesday, 27 Feb 2019, 14:59

What were the limitations to its implementation?

·Need to be tailored.

·Doesn’t suit all curricula.

A cultural shift and challenge.

·The role of the teacher changes to coach and facilitator of learning processes.

·The need for management to change – ‘a form of change management in which the university can work out its specific form of ‘Folio Thinking’.

·Teachers and students need to buy into it.

·A new, IT, commercial, business-like approach required. An approach requiring a blueprint for a study - an approach that is common practice in the IT world but not so much at this university.

·Teamwork and stakeholder involvement.

·Support by management is crucial.

·Different partners in the educational sector in the Netherlands establish links and develop initiatives beyond educational boundaries.

IT infrastructure must work unnoticed and without fail.

·Not an easy to implement. A technical challenge: how to create functional workflows in an integrated technical infrastructure?

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Using a bog(s)

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Edited by Jonathan Vernon, Wednesday, 20 Oct 2010, 04:54

For the last hour I've been drilling deeper into the layers of Compendium in order to collate and compose and collect evidence for H808 TMA01 which requires reflection on the first FOUR units of 'The E-learning professional.'

I noticed this typo and a rye smile forms. The temptation is to leave it. For some this is the attitude to blogs and bloggers, that it all might as well be flushed away.

As we know, this writer thinks differently.

I think there is value in the flotsam and jetsam of one's mind being backed-up in some way, whether privately in a diary-like blog that is private for you only to read, or a mind-opening memoire, a personal internal-debate or simply a record of what you do and who you meet and what is said ... that you expose and disclose to others, selectively or otherwise, to make friends, or not, to find like-minds ... on a blogging platform that suites you or in/or your own website.

This here isn't for the purposes of social networking.

This is just one thing that sets the OU Blog patform apart from others. I like this scroll or honour, the vicarious way in which entries you would otherwise never read are placed before yor eyes.

Having blogged for 11 years and 3 weeks it is the relationship with only one or two people that comes to matter. You get into each other's heads, or at least that part you are willing to share. Their voice becomes familiar, their views respected and valued.

Permalink 4 comments (latest comment by Neil Anderson, Wednesday, 20 Oct 2010, 22:08)
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Self-discipline & professionalism ...

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Whilst I can still get away with typing off the top of my head into a blog, this will not do when responding to messages or in a forum.

Sitting back, taking on board what is being discussed, doing my research then reflecting long & hard on a response will be a more productive way froward. I've taken some hints from the OU.

Personal entries in my decade old blog must also be forever locked.

Or removed. Having trawled through this 1.5 million word nonsense removing or changing names, there are still those who occasionally pop up in my life with an amused remark about the detail of their antics ten or twenty years ago. Much of this blog are transcripts & extended reviews & reminiscences of the 70s & 80s.

'Exposure' became my creed in 2001.

'Discretion' will be my approach from now on ... as it is so easy to google a person's name and find out all kinds of things that they may not want to know, that are blag & bluff in any case and could be detrimental to their career hopes (let alone their personal relationships).

Meanwhile, in a time consuming effort that needs to be addressed my sixth draft of the TMA01 is rocking back and forth between 1500 & 2350 words. I may just sit it like an exam and see if I can contain my ideas that way, addressing each in turn a set of points, six at most, that I feel need to be made

Oh to feel like a teen sitting exams again smile

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