Blogging in Academia

I was alerted by Peta and her UQ librarian contact, Andrew Bennett, to an article on academic blogging by Fred Stutzman of UNC. He echoes my own thoughts nearly exactly but writes them down so exquisitely.

His first statement reminds us ‘As academics, we are educators and communicators.’ and then launches into the notoriety of blogs in the educational environment:

… the ongoing debate over the role of blogs in academia is both illustrative and confounding. Fundamentally, blogs are communication tools, ones that when used in context become powerful tools for digital learning. Many in academia have effectively leveraged blogs to share their work and connect with students and colleagues, all the while spurring conversation and research.

I concur completely. He then makes a telling observation about the blog technology:

… a blog is little more than a populist follow-on to the self-maintained HTML page, one that often grew stagnant due to the complexity of the update process. As we discovered blogs, we socially constructed uses for the software.

He goes on to explore the extreme views on blogging in a succinct fashion – his article is worth the short read. In his concluding remarks I wholeheartedly agree with his postulation that blogs are one of the main tools to create a digital identity and

It is up to the academic to craft their digital identity in a way that will be of greatest assistance to their ultimate goals. Such a task is non-trivial, but as many academics are coming to find out, it is more valuable to embrace, rather than suppress, their digital identity.

What a refreshing and uplifting read! His blog is worth a look too.

Fred is also very busy at promulgating his ideas at UNC and as I write is offering a subject called Online Social Networks. As a social media aficionado he uses a wiki (Mediawiki) as his subject site, a Facebook group to encourage social interaction amongst his class and stores his bookmarks on del.icio.us.

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About Michael Rees
Academic in IT interested in Web 2.0 and social media

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