Link to: Inside Higher Ed :: Serious Bloggers

This piece by Wayne State assistant professor Jeff Rice, who blogs as Yellow Dog, highlights the chilling effect that articles like the Chronicle’s Bloggers Need Not Apply and the Business Week cover story Attack of the Blogs have had on academic bloggers. Even academics who are attracted to this new medium generally respond by either writing anonymously or by adopting a super-serious tone that robs the writing of the very energy that should be fueling it.

Writing a blog under a pseudonym is usually an argument that the only safe way for an academic to write publicly is to write anonymously. Our thoughts about students, grades, internal policy and even our private lives and interests can never be revealed to our colleagues or future colleagues or we risk losing all we have worked so hard for!

Students and colleagues lose out when we block this exchange. Our positions on issues of grading and curriculum and our feelings about our students are as central to our teaching as issues of what content to teach or what grants to apply for. Our community is enhanced when on-line tools can be used to give us additional insights about and access to the authentic understandings of those that meet with in classes, studios, labs or faculty meetings. Blogging offers an extremely rich set of tools help share those understandings..

Lost in this seriousness are a number of quite amazing things blogging has provided writers: ability to create discourse in widely accessed, public venues, ease of online publishing, ability to write daily to a networked space, ability to archive one’s writing, ability to interlink writing spaces, ability to respond to other writers quickly, etc.

One more voice to the chorus of those calling for those of us in higher education to use these new tools to connect, communicate and unfreeze our practice.