Calling All Bloggers — Friday Special Interest Group

Calling All Bloggers Friday Special Interest Group (Jerz’s CCCC 05 Notes)

Friday evening’s “Calling all Bloggers” special interest group, organized by Charles Lowe, was an energetic and productive hour.

I facilitated a breakout session on institutional blogging, where we discussed ways that blogs might be useful for building an instructional archive to be used by the dozens of writing instructors at Weber State U, or for a service-learning project at Western Kentucky U. We commiserated a bit about over our observation that, while some students take to blogging immediately, some students aren’t sufficiently motivated to do any kind of work, regardless of format.

The time one spends trying to motivate the disinterested detracts from the time one can spend challenging the motivated, and since teachers are human and we don’t like to feel our efforts are unappreciated or wasted, our natural tendency is to want to spend time with the motivated students.

I was pleased to find former National Council of Teachers of English (NCTE) chair and accomplished blogger John Lovas was in attendance. In response to a subgroup’s concerns about the role blogging could and should play in hiring, promotions, and tenure, Lovas suggested that we lobby the NCTE leadership to produce a statement that guides hiring and promotion committees in the assessment of blogs, wikis, and other developing modes of scholarly dissemination. This November, the NCTE meets in Pittsburgh, within commuting distance from Seton Hill.

Thinking on a very different scale, I suggested that educational bloggers start developing the habit of occasionally dropping by and posting comments on blogs written by the students of our colleagues. Students often report feeling very proud when they get their first comment, or their first comment from a stranger.

While I was fairly proud of my clever suggestion, Lowe’s was even more brilliant. Yes, if we band together and help each other’s students realize that they are being read, we can try a similar tactic to convince our non-blogging colleagues that blogs can be an important part of scholarly discourse. But he suggested that we start a habit of reviewing each other’s blogs in journal articles. Tech-friendly journals such as Kairos and CCC Online are the natural places to start, but if more traditional journals start getting submissions in which scholars review blogs, at the very least we’ll be putting the subject before the gatekeepers of our academic discourse.