Gone Carnivalesque

I guess I’ve been buttoned down and not hanging in the blogsphere enough recently but I’ve just discovered the whole “carnival” thing (thanks Clancy here and here).

They are great peer produced collections of blog posts around a designated issue. There are some great postings in the recent Teaching Carnivals. Everything from New Kid on being the hearty professor to a great post by Scott Barnett on what he’s doing (or trying to do) when he asks students to blog:

When I finally decided to use blogs in a writing course, I did so from a position of advocate, of someone who sees great value in the act of writing as often as possible. Not to get too Dead Poets Society here, but I wanted my students to use blogging as a way to see the world differently, to walk around as I have in the past year with that strange and exhilarating Eye that not only finds in moments those ideal (and often unusual) blogging urgencies, but that takes pleasure as well in their all-around weirdness.

I too am getting my students to blog in a summer course I am taking and have been thinking about the many imperatives of blogging. It’s a media studies course for journalism students and the blog is meant to be a way of getting the students to become reflective media critics. But like Scott I am also very keen to simply get them to write. To my great delight some of them have taken to it like ducks to water and are slowly beginning to produce some wonderful stuff that has that great bloggy mix of personal tone, connectedness and insight.

I think it is in the mix of those three elements that blogging has a great role to play in education. It helps us move beyond rigid forms of academic writing which teach students to only value that which is complete and finished. I have been saying to my class that blogging is all about cumulative, linked meaning making not about conclusive arguments. It’s a form of research as well as a form of publication. It is writing as discovery.

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