TIME, SPACE and the Edublogger

As the fall semester’s opening looms in the near distance, as summer deadlines line up at my door, as the Project for Integrated Expression students pack their bags for their Friday arrival on campus, and as I try to get to my new course blog, I find myself thinking about this blog and how it has given me the space this summer to ruminate on bloggy notions, to argue with blogger friends and colleagues, and to play around with some multi-media options. As I turn to the awZ: artswriting ‘zine blog‘ I’ll be torn about where to post my reflections, questions, narratives and essays–There? Here? Both places?

Clearly I don’t have the full interconnected blog system down–I’m not exactly sure where one blog will begin and the other end. I’m not sure I am envisioning the full potential of the spaces within the blog and between the blogs. Will I eventually have a handful of blogs in addition to my course blogs? Special topic blogs, project blogs–that kind of thing? The blog within the blog within the blog? I did a bit of sidebar blogging on my Contemporary Ireland Blog, called “BG Daily,” when the students took over the blog and posted their own entries to the homepage space.

I’d like to see more examples of higher ed blogs linked to one another, weaving a fabric of a single person’s oeuvre, in a sense, course to course, project to project, or community to community. Not just listed side by side or in some kind of table of contents but really linked, woven, referred to, used again through a living archive. I’d like to do even more of that in more own course blogs though my students have done a bit of it in all my classes, picking up threads from one another’s work and spinning them into something new, seeing the Web as “more complex, unpredictable and dynamic than any novel that could have been written by a single human writer” (Manovich, Intro, New Media Reader, 2003, 15) After all, what Robert Coover described in his NYT Book Review piece, “The End of Books,” in 1992 is still, I believe, true:

Writing students are notoriously conservative creatures. They write stubbornly and hopefully within the tradition of what they have read. Getting them to try out alternative or innovative forms is harder than talking them into chastity as a lifestyle. But confronted with hyperspace, they have no choice: all the comforting structures have been erased. It’s improvise or go home.”

I’ m trying, believe me.
I really haven’t yet figured out the spatial relationships or the potential for the image to supplant text. But it’s comforting to read that other bloggers are still feeling their way in the dark with their own questions of time and space:

Suw Charman, inveterate blogger who suddenly finds herself making her living blogging (her personal blog, Chocolate and Vodka”), and her professional blog, Strange Attractor), has had a few uneasy moments:

I am not the only person to deal with the fact that, at some point, your personal blog ceases to appear personal and starts to appear professional. At the beginning of the year Michael O’Connor Clarke went through the same thought process that I am going through now. Journalist David Akin has more recently felt the need to explain who pays for his blog.

My students do not blog long enough at a clip to feel that kind of metamorphosis (12 weeks unless they take back-to-back courses with me or with my close colleaguessince very few other profs are blogging in their classes around here.) This kind of blogging ends (unfortunately) for most, at the end of the course, a built in death notice, if you will

Suw also says, on “Feeding the Beast” post:

Blogs are the same, you have to figure out the boundaries of your comfort zone – how often to post, what to post, what style, how that fits in with your job and the rest of your life. Failing to find out where you’re comfortable will almost certainly result in a decreased desire to post, neglect of your blog and ultimately, its untimely death.

Balance. When the topic of the upcoming opening faculty meeting is “Time,” you know you’ve really got to see the value of blogging to stick with it, especially beyond the linklog kind of blogging. It takes time to develop a blogging rhythm, to know how deeply you want to delve into any particular topic, and therein lies the “Catch-22” for many erstwhile classroom bloggers–they don’t have enough time to give blogging a real go, to understand the need to integrate blogs carefully into the pedagogical framework of a course in order for them to have any significant value. It takes time. And good blogging, as Suw, points out, takes time.

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