Wednesday, November 15, 2006

Nothing to do With Educational Policy, I Think

Given our recent discussions (both amongst ourselves and in this space) about blogging, I wanted to draw attention to Michael Berube's posting for today, which is based on a talk he just gave about blogging. (See also one take on his talk and Berube's comments.) What I found fascinating was that one of Berube's main points was that blogging was, almost by definition and in fact in much better relief than our resumes or syllabi or writings, who we are and what we do (thus his title of "Professors at Work"):

For all academic blogs, the big ones that get twenty thousand readers a day and the ones that get twenty friends stopping by, serve as representations of what professors do, in our variously high and low registers: we write introductions to “Signature Event Context” for our students, we ask each other about our courses and our students, we curl up with a good DVD now and then, and then we get online and we toss out a few thoughts, almost as if we’re at a dinner party or something. Some of us blog, as I do, about an hour or two a day; others, an hour or two a week. Some of us don’t take time away from our real work to do meaningless blogging, and some of us don’t take time away from important blogging to do other meaningless drivel. Because we think that in the end, academic blogs just might serve the useful function of representing to any interested Internet passerby just what it is we do with our time and our skills. For in all their high and low manifestations, our blogs depict professors at work.

This public face of our "half cooked" (the reference is to Berube's talk) perspectives, reactions, and intuitions offers a venue for exchange and networking, discussion, misunderstanding, and rethinking. It sharpens ideas, cools down others, and levels the "hierarchy of knowledge" so often invoked by academics. Heck, this does have to do with eductaional policy. Enjoy the read.

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