Ch 8—Blogging Notes and Questions: (Julia Davies and Guy Merchant)

     I liked the authors’ idea of the joint narrative structure of blogs: “…how multiple discourses make up complex selves. When such details are offered and reciprocated across a plurality of blogs, a sense of a shared social history is acquired, especially where comments are made about others’ lives and views. In turn there is a new sense of self, as it is woven into a joint narrative text across the blogs; a sense of a new self in a new and complex Internet space” (180).  
    In terms of pedagogical implications because social networks change the boundaries between private and public relationships, a new intrapersonal space is created. (How can we, as instructors, help encourage community building in these new spaces?)
     I like the idea of personal identity intermingling with reader response, especially in the case of blog communities where readers comment on the text and co-create it. I always was a sucker for Bhaktinian discourse and the whole postmodern intertext thing; hypertext and multi-authored discourse fit into my postmodern fetishization of multivocal narratives.
     In terms of pedagogical implications the authors note that bloggers write for a particular audience w/sense that potentially anyone may read it; (not so different than a physical book!) (169). I can see a potential of virtual cocktail parties—with running commentary for essay writers where students could self-select topics of interest and (hopefully) bring thoughtful discussions to the table. I think that getting real time feedback from their peers on their ideas and their writing in a non-graded situation has the potential to engender new types of peer-to-peer dialogue. I’m a little unclear how to grade these exercises. For now, I’d say that it would have to be part of the participation grade, but in the future perhaps there will be some sort of a rubric assessing collaborative projects. Is it possible to assess the student writer’s integration of reader comments? (I guess some peer review models might work to develop a rubric for this process). What about web 2.0 projects that use hyperlinks as sources; is it possible to assess the student’s ability to compose for web 2.0 audiences? Should these assessments be graded differently than traditional essays because the medium and the collaborative writing process entail different skill sets?

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