Use of Blogs – Syllabus

Saw this in eLearnSpace – and enjoyed reading Sarah Robert’s article on the emergence of weblogs at Duke University, Campus Communications & the Wisdom of Blogging. This was originally published in August.. and I remember seeing it then.. but a re-read was good!

Our experience with UBC is emerging as somewhat similar, as outlined in a few of Brian Lamb’s articles in the e-Strategy Newsletter:

Beyond the hype: what’s in a weblog?.
(Sept 17, 2003)

Five winning ways people are using Wikis at UBC
(March 24, 2004)I appreciated Roberts’ the cautionary note at the end of the Syllabus article:

As blogging and blog-like site development and content management takes off, it will remain to be seen what its impact will be on institutional systems already in place. With thoughtful planning, careful monitoring, and the support of strong policies and guidelines, such systems can avoid being disruptive or threatening to publication and collaborative technologies already in place. Demand and interest in them will guide their usage, but those charged with the creation and maintenance of such systems must continue to be mindful of the power of the medium, the nature of the content, and the audience that may ultimately access it.

The times, they are a ‘changing — !

I’m pretty sure the author meant that we need to concentrate on supporting the mainstream faculty that are using these technologies, and helping them understand the changes and new opportunities, as opposed to disrupting the technologies themselves (thats my interpretation of this, anyway!) — and the point is well taken.

Our conversations should be about supporting this suite of technologies that enable new ways of communicating and collaborating – – dialogue and the academy go hand in hand.

We are mired a bit in the technical right now:
— What kind of servers do we need?
— What type of redundancies should be in place?
— What and when are acceptable down times?
— How do we manage the communications associated with this to ensure that when changes are needed, we can be sure that the message is sent and received?

I am hoping our course management system experiences will help us through this… but we’re still working through developing good policies for that system – and ensuring we have an effective governance model… now this!

Reminds me a bit of the old Robin Williams routine when he goes into hyper-improv mode. He pauses for a second, squints and peers to the back of the room, pretending he is someone sitting back there watching himself, and says something like “…. what the heck is he doin’ now?”

He throws his head back, laughs maniacally, and says “Ha ha ha! Catch up!”

And continues on…

Fun times, fun times….

Nothing like change to keep one moving forward.

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