Notes on 2006 CCCC Blogging SIG
NB: Mike Edwards contributed heavily to these notes. In fact, most of what's here is his work, so I want him to get credit for it.
The CCCC Blogging SIG had a large and productive meeting Thursday night in
Chicago. We began by discussing some of the initiatives the SIG had proposed
the previous year, including the one-page paper handout guide for teachers new
to blogging (which, we might hope, will continue to be revised collaboratively and kept up to date as necessary), as well as thoughts about assessment of weblog writing,
outcomes of weblog use in writing courses and professional endeavors, and a possible large multi-institution study investigating the
classroom uses of weblogs.
Following the initial discussion, we split up into five small groups focusing on
action in specific areas. The groups discussed their areas and reported back when
we reconvened. Here are the results of our discussion:
- Securing grant funding for a large, qualitative multi-institution
study on weblogs in writing pedagogy: This group thought it would be most appropriate to start
with simply laying out the steps in the grant-writing process. So:
- Put out open
call for researchers on Kairosnews and other weblogs: have you done classroom-
based blog research, and would you be willing to share the results? (This,
initially, might likely involve a simple survey with questions about the number of students involved, the longevity of the study, what the classes were (tech comm? FYC? Advanced composition? Literature courses? etc.), and so forth.)
- Mine past CCCC
programs for presentations on qualitative blog studies to get a sense of what classroom
research people have already done on blogs.
- Use the information gathered
to shape the drafting of possible research questions focused on the consequences
of assigning weblog work. (Feedback here with considerations for shaping those
questions is welcomed!)
- Review grant guidelines again given the
information gathered. (CCCC research initiative and the NCTE Citigroup
technology grant are possibilities; again, other suggestions are welcomed.)
- Compose a budget. (Possible line items include funding for research
assistants to code data, consultants with expertise in qualitative research,
- Flesh out the grant proposal, especially with expected
outcomes from the study. (One possibility suggested might be an annotated
bibliography, in the manner of Bedford, of weblog scholarship.)
- Put out open
- Assessment and outcomes considerations for weblogs and teaching,
possibly including questions of genre (Facebook, MySpace, et cetera).
This group analytically framed its approach as a highly specific (and
provocative) question: what constitutes an "outcome" for a single blog post?
Top-down solutions for constructing outcomes seem problematic, so what happens
if we look for a Web 2.0-style bottom-up mode of analysis; using "dynamic
criteria mapping" to see how evaluative criteria (as tags) cluster themselves,
and possibly setting up a space for that online -- what would that look like?
(Well, let's do it and see!)
- Institutional blogging / social software considerations. Action here
seems fairly straightforward: Compose a position statement to push to the
resolution committee next year; something that covers comprehensively all these
areas we're talking about, partly to help move away from the problems of ad-
- Weblogs and professionalization. Again, fairly straightforward: we need
to move the profession towards a space where we're more aware of blogging as
professional activity. To what degree can we "get credit" for blogging? And,
deriving from that, how can we start thinking about blogging as professionals?
(One question that was asked in response: if blogging becomes a professional
activity, does it lose some portion of its value as teaching/writing tool?) It
might be useful to compile blog posts that illustrate the professional virtues
of blogging (viz. Deborah Hawhee's post in order to respond to
those frequent doubts and questions about the professional value of blogging.
There's a need, as well, to map and illustrate (viz. Clancy's map of p2p review) for our colleagues how academic interaction
operates on blogs.
- Rethinking the design and architecture of weblogs and other social software
tools as a necessary component of our discipline, and possibly thinking
about weblogs as a "gateway technology." With blogging, there's a need to move
beyond composition's ubiquitous pedagogical imperative and ask other questions:
perhaps about the pitfalls of institutional support (e.g., those who see it as
not "cool" to use university blog spaces because of the perceived lack of
"ownership"); about how to aggregate or represent or link to student work (e.g.,
the question of whether to use a hub or a distributed model; about doing more
work with design rather than plugging content into preexisting templates.
So: an ambitious agenda, with lots of stuff to do. The next necessary question
would seem to be: are there people who would be willing to shepherd these
projects, either individually or collaboratively?
Finally, two questions and an announcement:
- Would it perhaps be useful and productive to merge the efforts of the
Blogging SIG and the Wiki Rhetoricians SIG -- perhaps into the CCCC Social
- Would a SIG blog be useful? (Consensus: yes.) There seemed to be broad
agreement that the easiest solution might be adding a SIG category for posts
here at Kairosnews. [Done.--Clancy]
- And now the announcement: During the meeting, Collin proposed that Kairos name the Best Academic Weblog award after John Lovas. We felt that it was the best idea presented the whole night. Mike emailed Doug Eyman, who wholeheartedly agreed. Thanks to everyone for a great meeting.
Cross-posted at CultureCat.
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