Wednesday, 6 February 2013

Blogademia: uses and tensions

This post is in response to an OU H817 activity i.e. Activity 3 Week 1. We are being asked to write a short paragraph about how blogs are being used to assist the publication of research, making references to Weller (2011), Kirkup (2010) and Conole (2010). One short paragraph to summarise points made from an eBook and two academic papers that are relevant to the above question.   Hence, the following is by no means an in-depth analysis. On the contrary, a few keywords have been skimmed from the authors' texts that are either of an overlapping or contrasting nature.




Activity 3 Week 1

There seems to be a general consensus between Weller (2011), Kirkup (2010) and Conole (2010) that blogs have a high potential as a digital space to, 'aggregate resources'; initiate and develop ideas through dialogue with peers, (which may or may not result in an academic publication depending on the purpose of the post); to reach a broader global audience of peers; receive feedback faster in comparison to the traditional academic path; to engage in less formal, creative dialogue; debate without the restraints of maintaining a specific identity as is expected in some formal institutions, (hence the use of pseudonyms by specific blogging academics) (Kirkup, 2010). Enormous potential when viewed from this perspective in regard to assisting the publication of research. So how does the reality look? Is the potential being embraced within academic networks? Difficult to assess according to Weller (2011). What has been noted is that the practice of educational blogging is not that extensive (Conole, 2010), partially due to lack of digital literacies and professional guidance, but also due to tension between academic bloggers and their institutions (Kirkup 2010, Weller, 2011). According to Weller, this genre is often viewed as non-academic and a threat to traditional publications instead of being accepted for what it is: a democratic alternative that enables a ' liberated form for expression' (2011). To round up my short paragraph, all authors recognise the potential educational blogging has to assist in the publication of research, but tensions between various fronts need to be addressed before this genre and its affordances can be fully exploited. Perhaps then we will witness the awakening of this somewhat latent potential.  

I scooped the following infographic via Nik Peachey from Twitter. It relates to social media being used in  Higher Education. Interesting to note the statistics for blogging. In comparison to the other social media tools mentioned (apart from message boards), the uptake of blogging has remained relatively stagnant. I feel that this is a point that would be worth some further investigation. If the tool has so much potential as suggested by Kirkup (2010) Conole (2010) and Weller ( 2011), then apart from the problems identified by the above authors as dissuading academics from blogging, what other factors could be influencing these figures?
Source: edudemic.com via Nik on Pinterest



References


Conole, G. (2010) ‘Facilitating new forms of discourse for learning and teaching: harnessing the power of Web 2.0 practices’, Open Learning, vol. 25, no. 2, pp. 141–51. [Online] Available at:http://oro.open.ac.uk/21461/2/9735BAEE.pdf
(Accessed 5 Feb 2013)
Kirkup, G. (2010) ‘Academic blogging, academic practice and academic identity’, London Review of Education, vol. 8, no. 1, pp. 75–84. [Online] Available at: http://oro.open.ac.uk/20714/1/Academic_blogging_ORO.pdf
(Accessed 5 Feb 2013)
Weller, M. (2011) The Digital Scholar: How Technology is Transforming Scholarly Practice London, Bloomsbury Academic. Available online at: 
(Accessed 6 Feb 2013)


5 comments:

  1. Trish I appreciate your summary, a good reminder for me. Do you feel that these authors have, even collectively, identified all the reasons why blogging has not become as widespread as hoped as quickly as hoped by the edtech fraternity?

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    1. Good question Paige and a difficult one to answer.
      I agree with Conole that in general there does seem to be a 'gap between the promise of technologies and actual practice' (2010). In respect to blogging for educational purposes, the reasons why the uptake of this practice has not matched the optimistic expectations of the 'edtech fraternity' are certainly multi-faceted and will most likely vary with each individual and their teaching context. However, perhaps the reasons could be viewed as belonging to categories such as the following: personal; work-based; pedagogical; technological; cultural; religious; philosophical and traditional. I'm sure that within our working group alone we would receive a broad and diverse range of answers as to why some of us blog and why others don't.

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  2. Mmm. It might be interesting to raise this within our group, once we've all had a chance to ponder this a bit?

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  3. Hi Trish, I like the above graphic, I am going to put this to good use :-)

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    1. Yes, infographics are certainly good for a quick overview. Blogging seems to be stagnating in this context and surprisingly digital literacies aren't as fluent as one might expect. Emphasises again the importance of providing training and support when introducing technology into a learning environment.

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