Thursday, 1 July 2010

Catching up -- more problematic E-literacy practices

I suspect it's not good blogging practice to save up one's ideas for posts over a three-week period and then send them all at once. If there are casual readers who have dropped in from time to time and found nothing more, they have probably already concluded that the blog is defunct. And anyone who's actually got a feed from the blog suddenly gets a whole bunch of messages arriving at the same time and probably hasn't got time to read them properly.

However, unless you are an experienced diariser it's quite difficult to keep up a regular output of comment. When you are continually inundated with e-mails, proposals, forms to be filled in, reports and papers to be written and read, and other reading and writing tasks that don't seem to get any less as the university gets more digital, then time not spent committing your words to the ether seems precious.

But, of course, there are dozens of very busy and very successful academics and other university professionals keeping very regular and very informative blogs. I'm currently exploring some of them for a talk I'm preparing on 'the rise of the academic blogger' at a seminar on academic literacies and ethnography at the open University on July 16. My idea is to take a few of their posts and see if they display any of the characteristics of written knowledge in their disciplines that writers like Bazerman and Hyland have identified.

In the meantime, on the assumption that it's only me that's reading these posts anyway, I'm just going to go ahead and send all the ones I've been mentally composing the last three weeks at the same time!

The first is another reflection on the problematics of new literacy practices brought into education from the wider world of the Internet - it occurred to me while I was updating the online study material for the OU course I work on, 'the elearning professional'. For the last three years we've included a link to a site belonging to an American university which was a field leader in ePortfolio practice. The link was to a page on Reflection- advice to students on writing reflectively in their ePortfolios, the value of it, how to do it etc. When I was checking the link recently I found it had disappeared. Not only that, the whole site about the university's ePortfolio system had been subsumed by a new site promoting individual student blogs. This is interesting enough in itself, as it bears out the intuition I'd already had that the complex monolithic ePortfolio system that was all the rage couple of years ago would find itself 'un-bundled' (to use a current buzzword) into its component parts: systems for storing, reflecting, showcasing etc.

But even more interesting was to find a video on the bit of the website that is about using the reflective blog element of the ePortfolio, flagged as 'an example of using the reflective blog element to establish yourself as a leading thinker in your field'.

How the noble art of reflection is fallen! From self-knowledge to self-promotion.

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