Bridging the Composition Divide: Blog Pedagogy and the Potential for Agonistic Classrooms

Without deliberately planned, consciously modeled classroom use, it is understandable that students might fall back on their understanding of the blogs as an electronic version of the print-journal, a genre without interactive or collaborative potential. However, we contend blogs can impact the writing classroom effectively, if their integration and function are clearly structured and articulated. We argue they can be interactive and agonistic, but only if instructors work to facilitate these qualities by carefully structuring their prompts for assignments and the purposes and goals they are meant to accomplish. —Janice Wendi Fernheimer and Thomas J. NelsonBridging the Composition Divide: Blog Pedagogy and the Potential for Agonistic Classrooms (Currents in Electronic Literacy)

A good overview of the issues composition instructors face when they introduce blogging. Most of the writing in a composition classroom is “forced” — that is, the students may or may not think of themselves as writers, and they are likely only writing because they want credit for homework. Thus, the kind of writing that composition students produce is only rarely going to approach the possibilities that one finds when people who want to write end up with blogs.

This fall, I’ll be teaching a freshman composition class. It’ll be the first time I’ve ever taught such a class without a research paper component. I haven’t yet decided what role (if any) blogging will play in that class. Why am I thinking of that class when a completely different set of classes starts tomorrow?