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Tag Archives: blog
Fig. 1. How the eBrain looks – everything’s tagged. (Lost property, London Underground)
I’m delighted to say the Open University’s student blog upgrade is an enhancement. The improvements are seamless without any loss of what we had before … a ‘bulletin-board-cum-blog-thingey’.
Become an OU student to see this for yourself.
I will get Internet access in my ‘office’ – a studio down the road, away from home and family, DIY, the garden … but not the dog. She’s allowed.
All that it requires from me is something I lack – self-discipline NOT to get distracted by email, which includes updated postings from forums and the likes of Linkedin (let alone a gaggle of family members on Facebook). AOL is the worst as I innocently go to check email and find 20 minutes later I am still clicking through the inviting gobbets of news and sensation that is offered.
I had hoped to behave like the smoker trying to give up – I’ll only smoke other people’s fags. A very, very, very long time ago … I can honestly say I have never smoked a cigarette since I turned 20.
Back to the Internet. Like Television.
Or diet. We are living in an age where self-control is vital. Having not had a TV for several months I was eventually pushed to buy one. Courtesy of Which? we now have a TV so Smart that it probably tells my brother in South Africa who is watching what …. we can Skype sofa to sofa. I just wonder if our antics could be recorded and posted on YouTube? Not my doing but any of the teenagers with the wherewithal just hit a record button somewhere.
In all this hi-tech I DO have a tool I’d recommend to anyone.
I’ve invested in an hour-glass. In runs for 30 minutes. While that sand is running all I may do is read and take notes. This might be an eBook, or a printed book, either way they are on a bookstand. I take notes, fountain pen to lined paper. What could be easier? The left hand may highlight or bookmark and turn a page, while the right writes?
This works as the filtering process of the knowledge that I am reading and want to retain needs to go through several steps in any case. The handwritten notes will be reduced again as I go through, typing up the ideas that have some resonance for me.
My current task has been ‘How Europe went to war in 1914’ by Christopher Clark.
I doubt my second thorough read will be the last. From notes I will start posting blogs and going into related social platforms to share and develop thoughts and in so doing be corrected while firming up my own views. I need this social interaction, to join the discussion if not the debate.
Meanwhile I will revisit Martin Weller‘s book on Digital Scholarship.
However swift the age of the Internet may be he suggests it will still take a person ten years to achieve the ‘scholar’ level … whereas John Seely Brown recently reckoned this was now down to five years. i.e. through undergraduate and postgraduate levels and popping out the other end with a PhD in five years.
DIdn’t an 18 year old who was home schooled just get called to the Bar?
She graduated with a law degree while contemporaries did A’ Levels and finished High School and then did a year of pupilage I suppose.
The intellectual ‘have’s’ of the future will, by one means of another, achieve degree status at this age. The Internet permits it.
School is far, far, far, far, far too lax.
It tends to the median if not the mediocre. Long ago it found a way to process kids as a genderless year group instead of treading each student as an individual … so let them skip a year, let them stay back a year … allow them to expand and push subjects that appeal to them.
The idea of looking behind blogging came from the reading … but did I reference it???
i.e that innovations never occur in isolation, there was always something else beforehand.
The mistake we all make is to assume that innovations land on a pristine landscape and we react with typically human surprise at this new marvel that will either revolutionise or destroy everything. I need to remember where I read that!
Something on innovations … eeek.
It does matter though, with blogs there is clearly a history of
a) keeping a diary
b) citizen journalism in the form of leaflets and ‘letters to the editor’
c) authors keeping a writer’s journal and
b) scientists and explorers keeping a formal ‘log’.
That and human nature to write stuff down – well, at least 1% of the population do, which gives the other 99% something to read.
Sense Cam came out of the efforts of Gordon Bell, now 81, and for the last 10 years head of research at Microsoft.
He got it into his head to digitise everything and then wear a gadget around his neck to capture even more. This seems moronic and his own writing isn’t academic, more a memoir, but others, Microsoft and University of Southampton, have pressed on. The Sense Cam is a fag-packet sized device you hang around your neck – a camera with a light and sound sensor, then triggers the taking of a picture as you go about your daily business (could be awkward). At the end of the day these pictures are downloaded and software filters the stuff.
Southampton (WebSciences) have examples of this.
You can now buy a SenseCam made by Microsoft and various Microsoft Research Labs are trying them out. The hope is that in time such a device will help support those with dementia or any kind of memory fade … the evidence from Southampton illustrate Ebbinghaus’s ‘Forgetting Curve’ – how we forget stuff pretty fast over days/weeks against use of various methods, including a Sense Cam. It does appear, naturally, that looking back regularly at a set of carefully selected pictures (I think there has be human intervention for obvious reasons) the patient/student subject is far better able to recall, retain, and therefore I presume to restore and ‘fix’ memories better.
I am starting to wonder if a person is indicating for Alzheimer’s or some such that they might use such a device ?
Or the Google Glass device to do the same thing. If I were a first year medical student doing my disection I’d like to use a sense cam to personalise a record of the activity, for example.
If I go down the blogging route ‘is blogging a valid activity for student assessment’ is far too broad while ‘Can blogging by students of journalism writing in English in Hong Kong be used as a formal part of assessment’ might be doable. Off the top of my head here, but let’s say there are 4 to 6 colleges where such a course is offered in Hong Kong …
So what about a geographically defined study?
China might be problematic due to restrictions on use of the Internet (and its vast size). Perhaps Poland!? Somewhere where the numbers aren’t huge. Then again, doesn’t it depend on the methods and tools you use? I am struck by this stuff they call ‘Big Data’ where a cohort of 10,000 on an Open Course (this at Stanford using Coursera) can reveal the nuances of ‘poor teaching’ – where in the past 1 or 2 students made the same mistake it goes unnoticed, but when 2000 students make the very same mistake then there’s clearly something wrong with the course.
To use Diana Laurillard’s apt phrase ‘it depends’. (don’t ask me where or when she said it, if you know, please tell me so that I can reference it correctly).
This are me thoughts from reading:
An empirically grounded framework to guide blogging for digital scholarship
Heap & Minocha (2012),
Fig.1. Digital Scholarship with a nod to Martin Weller‘s book of the same name. (Created in 2011)
By stripping back the paper what do I learn from this paper:
- about blogging and digital scholarship
- about devising the research question(s) and method of research.
This quote from Axcel Bruns is wrong in relation to blogging.
‘Were originally more popular amongst journalism and business context’ Bruns (2007)
In fact, from my experience from 1999 onwards, journalists were highly dismissive and didn’t cotton on to blogging as a valid way to share their opinions for several years. The exception being financial journalism where breaking views on markets were fed, blog like, to subscribers,
Fig.2. An excerpt from my own early blog.
I was reading blogs in 1998, did some Dreamweaver training and if I’d got my head around FTP uploads I may have been up an away in 98 rather than 99 when I heard of Diaryland and joined the platform soon after it started.
Fig.3. An excerpt from a blog created by Claire Z Warnes in 1998
Over the next 4 to 5 years I saw a massive growth and influx of what by modern terms would have been described as journals, creative writing, fantasy, role play and social networking.
Fig.4. How I saw blogging in 1999/2000
I question why bloggers are defined by the institution they are at – the blog is more personal, like the noticeboard at someone’s desk in the bedroom or study, or a diary or journal they carry about with them, whether electronic or paper.
Fig. 5. We should stop seeing blogging in isolation – forms of ‘keeping a journa’, for whatever purposes, is as old a writing itself.
Little is ever mention of a history of keeping diaries, a writer’s journal or other kind of daily record for reflection or in scholarly circles to record the iterative process of a learning journey or a piece of research. John Evelyn was a diarist. Was he scholarly? What about Pepy’s he was keeping an historic record? For whom did Lady Anne Clifford keep a diary if not for an historic, even a legal record, of her rights to her father’s estates? (Lady Anne Clifford kept at a diary late 1500s into the 17th century).
Was Virginia Woolf using herself as the subject of an internal discussion?
What did Anais Nin learn and share about her writing as well as her personal journey, a journey that was shared with Henry Miller and that a couple of decades was taken by the filmmaker Francois Truffaut. As someone who had kept a diary since he was thirteen and had been typing it up and putting on disc for nearly a decade, the move to the web was a natural one.
- for personal reflection (e.g. Xie, Fengfeng, and Sharma 2008)
- collaborative working (e.g. McLoughlin and Lee 2008)
- developing writing skills (e.g. Warschauer 2010)
- flexible usage of blogs to suit the individual blogger’s needs, such as
- a space for reflection, to seek peer support, or both (e.g. Kerawalla et al. 2008).
I read blogs and corresponded with writers who were using the format to try out chapters of fantasy novels, to share poetry, to test webdesigns even to meet and indulge in intimate chat, role play and even cybersex. (Early blogs were the forerunners of a lot to come).
Whilst some of this activity isn’t within the parameters of ‘scholarly’ practice, certainly from a creative writing point of view self-publishing was.
From personal experience there were those exploring their personality, who were lonely, depressed or bi-polar. Most studies in English speaking countries … yet it was presumably going on elsewhere. And where does someone who is using writing in English in a blog to learn English stand in terms of being a student and a scholar?
Defining scholarship in the digital age
Boyer (1990) developed a conceptual framework which defines ‘‘scholarship’’ as a combination of teaching and research activities. In particular, he suggests four dimensions to define scholarship: discovery, integration, application and teaching.
Fig.6. Another excerpt from a blog for young writers created by Claire Z Warnes in 1998 when she was 17 herself. (I think she went off to study Computer Sciences)
The earliest bloggers played a teaching role, for example Claire Z Warnes set up a series of web pages to encourage and support young writers in 1998. She was teaching, they were exploring through reading, writing and sharing just as if they were meeting face to face in a classroom.
Boyer’s dimensions constitute an appropriate starting point for researching digital scholarship (Weller 2011).
Pearce et al. (2010) elaborated on Boyer’s (1990) model to theorise a form of digital/open scholarship, arguing that it is:
- more than just using information and communication technologies to research,
- teach and collaborate,
- embracing the open values, ideology and potential of technologies born of peer-to-peer networking wiki ways of working in order to benefit both the academy and society.
Which is exactly what Claire Z Warnes (1998) was doing, indeed, as some remaining posts that can be viewed show, it was as if she were becoming the Dean of one of the first online creative writing classes.
In relation to the research here’s the problem that needs to be addressed:
There is a lack of empirical evidence on how the openness and sharing manifested in blogging can influence academia, research and scholarship. (Minocha, p. 178. 2012)
‘We have found that blogs seem to occupy an intermediate space among established writing forms such as peer-reviewed academic papers, newspaper articles, diaries, blurring the private public and formal informal divide ‘. (Heap and Minocha 2011).
There is a growing awareness of blogging as a writing or communicative genre in academia and research and as a new form of scholarship (e.g. Halavais 2007).
- to ensure validity of work through established forms of publishing,
- to integrate blogs so that research findings reach more readers
- to enable sharing information without time lags involved in formal publications.
The next steps in our research (according to the authors of this paper) are to validate the effectiveness of the framework (they developed) as a thinking tool about digital scholarship, and for guiding the practice of blogging in academia and research.
Heap, Tania and Minocha, Shailey (2012). An empirically grounded framework to guide blogging for digital scholarship. Research in Learning Technology, 20(Supp.), pp. 176–188. (Accessed 28th February 2013 http://www.researchinlearningtechnology.net/index.php/rlt/article/view/19195 )
Weller, M (2011) The Digital Scholar
- All you need to know about blogging that you can’t be bothered to research for yourself because you’re too busy blogging … (mymindbursts.com)
- Scholarly Blogging (malmsy.net)
- What my pink highlighter taught me. (dfbierbrauer.wordpress.com)
- Essay on placing academic work in the right scholarly context (insidehighered.com)
- Driving learning through blogging: Students’ perceptions of a reading journal blog assessment task. (mymindbursts.com)
- Exploring students’ understanding of how blogs and blogging can support distance learning in Higher Education (mymindbursts.com)
- Digital Curation Bibliography: Preservation and Stewardship of Scholarly Works XHTML Version (digital-scholarship.org)
- Blogging Inspiration, Where Does it Come From? (prefs.zemanta.com)
Blogging breached the guidelines a bunch of us followed in 2002 – now anything comes and goes on e-folded origami paper we call a blog
Fig. 1 Blogging brings like minds together – through their fingertips
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.
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.
- 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 hard drive, 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 discarded 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 newspapers 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, preferring 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.
Is this a research methodology?
I am looking at a book on blogging, ‘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 (Kerawella et al, 2009) depends on their perceptions of, and for:
- an audience
- the utility of and need for comments
- presentational style of the blog content
- overarching factors related to the technological context
- the pedagogical context of the course
‘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.
- Driving learning through blogging: Students’ perceptions of a reading journal blog assessment task. (mymindbursts.com)
- The Ultimate Guide to Advanced Guest Blogging (seomoz.org)
- NaBloPoMo Soup: Add Your January Posts (blogher.com)
- The Neverending Debate: Who is a Blogger? (zemanta.com)
- blogging, or look out February, DaBloPoMo is coming! (espressococo.wordpress.com)
‘As with writing, blogging is not simply formulating in words an idea already developed in one’s mind. It is also about connecting, developing and redefining half-baked ideas. When writing, I often go through the weblog archives to explore connections with what is already there. Reading and rereading what I wrote before shapes and changes what I’m about to write: I often find something unexpected or see patterns only in retrospect’.Efimova (2009. p 70)
Fig. 1. Dr Lilia Efimova – her Phd thesis is on blogging to support knowledge management in the workplace.
- Somewhere to “park” emerging insights until the moment they are needed. Efimova (2009. p 75)
- Doesn’t require much effort
- Somewhere to park ideas
- Reading and engaging with others to become aware of issues and themes
- Topics accumulate and connections grew and things become clearer.
- A set of sense-making practices
- “Everyday grounded theory” Efimova (2009. p. 75)
- Connecting multiple fragments
- Getting into the writing flow
- Strengthened by readers’ feedback
- A channel for distribution
- Publication additional motivation to document emergent ideas
- A legitimate place to share thinking in progress
- -ve when the need is to be extremely selective and focused. Efimova (2009. p. 80)
- To collect in one place the fragmented bits relevant to my thinking Efimova (2009. 3.5.4)
- Clusters of conversations
- Conversations unfolding
- A personal space and a community space simultaneously.
- A personal narrative used to articulate and to organise one’s own thinking. (conversation with self. p 90?) around 4.3
- An example of hypertext conversation. Efimova (2009. p. 129)
- Weblogs provide a space that helps both to develop one’s own point of view and discuss it with others.
- Bloggers present their ideas to the world, readers learn from them. Efimova (2009. p. getting things done. staying in touch)
- low-threshold creation of entries
- a flexible and personally meaningful way to organise and maintain them
- opportunities to retrieve, reuse and analyse blog content
- opportunities to engage with others.
- fitted in while working on something else
- providing a way to keep abreast of others ideas
- capturing ones’ own emergent insights
- clarifying matters for a public
- over time ideas on a topic accumulate and connections between them become clearer.
- feedback from readers turns blogging into a sense-making practice
- eventually an ideas is ‘ripe’ and ready to become part of a specific task.
Efimova (2008. p. 208)
Autoenthnography Or, how to write something of substance.
From Richardson (2000) via Lilia Efimova (2009. p. 39)
I’ve taken the view, with a lifetime of keeping a diary and 14 years blogging that I write whatever comes to mind as I put pen to paper or fingertips to the keyboard. There is a better way:
Does this piece contribute to our understand of social life? Does the writer demonstrate a deeply grounded (if embedded) human world understanding and perspective?
Does this piece succeed aesthetically? Does the use of creative analytical practices open up the text, invite interpretive responses? Is the text artistically shaped, satisfying, complex, and not boring?
How did the author come to write this? How was the information gathered? Ethical issues? How has the author’s subjectivity been both a producer and a product of this text?
Is there an adequate self-awareness and self-exposure for the reader to make judgements about the point of view? Do authors hold themselves accountable to the stands of knowing and telling of the people they have studied?
Does this affect me? Emotionally? Intellectually? Generate new questions? Move me to write? Move me to try new research practices? Move me to actions?
Does this text embody a fleshed out sense of lived-experience? Does it seem “true” – a credible account of a cultural, social, or communal sense of the “real”?
Richardson, L. (2000). Evaluating ethnography. Qualitative Inquiry, 6 (2), 253-255
- In what way(s) will I be a knowledge worker in my field of interest in the future (aaronvbblog.wordpress.com)
- Blog Cases from 2005: Jack Vinson on Knowledge Management (billives.typepad.com)
- Mathemagenic blog networking study (billives.typepad.com)