I have recently been thinking about something that has only come up since more people have started reading my blog. At first I wrote it mainly for my own reflections, but obviously when I put it online and open to the public I was inviting others to read it too. And some of those who read it are former and future students (not sure about current ones…no one has told me!).
Now, this can bring up a potential ethical issue: when one is blogging about teaching and learning, one will often blog about experiences in one’s own classes. That’s natural and probably expected. But it can also mean that one risks saying things about that experience that could potentially bother some current, former or future students. I don’t just mean that they may not like the sorts of views one has on teaching and learning–that can easily happen anyway, and at least this way potential students may get a sense of those views before registering for a course! Rather, it could be that one may say things that could be viewed as giving a negative opinion of current or former students, even if one doesn’t mean to do so. Obviously a blogger shouldn’t reveal any particular information about students, but what if someone says something negative about a particular class, or some students in a class, how there isn’t a lot of participation going on, or some students aren’t getting things as one would hope they would, etc., and what if some students took offense at that? Maybe a course is a very small one and other students or faculty could determine approximately who one is talking about in a blog post, even if one doesn’t mention any identifying information.
I have tried not to do anything like this, but when things one says are out in public, it may be that they could be taken in ways other than we mean, or we may end up going beyond the line without realizing it.
I wonder if some of us bloggers on teaching and learning should discuss something like a “code of ethics when blogging about classroom experience.” I know I would welcome such a discussion, not so I can police others, but so I can police myself. If one already exists, can someone please let me know?
Setting up and maintaining a blog requires a considerable commitment of time and energy. What reasons are there in support of investing one’s resources to such an enterprise (given all the other things in professional and personal life that need attention as well)? I spent several years occasionally visiting other people’s blogs, and then the past few months doing so much more regularly (through an RSS reader). Why not just continue to be a passive ingester of the thoughts and ideas of others? Why embark on the path of adding one’s own into the mix (beyond commenting on others’ blogs, without having one of one’s own)?
This question is about why teachers/scholars might want to spend the time to blog, rather than one focused on why blogs might be useful as part of coursework for students. Here I post some of my initial thoughts on the question, to be supplemented later as I get more blogging experience.
[Note from 2013: This blog used to be called “PhilosoPedaBlogy,” so that explains the following post.]
I just found several blogs with a title similar to mine: Pedablogy. So there are several of us out there playing around with (bad?) puns!
One blog called Pedablogy is subtitled “Musings on the art and craft of teaching (colored by my view of the world as an economist)”. I found especially interesting his discussions of “what is a college course,” and considering the relationships between class time and texts. I have myself been thinking I need to reflect on (and post) something about the following: what do I think students should be getting out of coming to the class meeting? It should be more than repeat of the text, obviously, but what goals do I want to set for class time? That will be considered in a future post….
Another Pedablogy blog is by Seaghan Moriarty in Galway, Ireland, and is subtitled “An eclectic collection of articles, links and remarks about the potential of ICT to enhance education.”
Finally, there is Pedablogue, a blog that defines “pedablogy” as entries in Pedablogue. The author of this blog is a Professor of English, but he is going on sabbatical (and so is his blog) until August 2007. I think the archives will remain in place, however.