Professors Who Blog: Web 2.0 Publishing Venues Don't Need to Clash with Higher Education's Traditional Practices

By McLeod, Scott | Technology & Learning, May 2007 | Go to article overview

Professors Who Blog: Web 2.0 Publishing Venues Don't Need to Clash with Higher Education's Traditional Practices


McLeod, Scott, Technology & Learning


Although an increasing number of K-12 educators have taken up blogging in the past few years, blogging professors are still a rarity. Time pressures, entrenched beliefs about peer-reviewed publication, and a lack of familiarity all contribute to the paucity of faculty who regularly blog for public audiences.

I asked several prominent academics to share why they blog, some of the challenges they've encountered, and their recommendations for faculty who are considering such new Web 2.0 communication tools. Their responses have implications for both postsecondary and K-12 educators.

Connecting to the Larger World

Dr. Sherman Dora, an education professor at the University of South Florida who blogs at Shermandorn .com, notes that his blog offers an alternative outlet to academic journals for his thoughts on public policy issues. Similarly, Dr. Alex Golub, professor at the University of Hawaii, says his cultural anthropology blog, Savageminds.org, creates a "public sphere" or "civil society" outside his professional association and helps him find new content and resources.

The ability of blogs to connect professors with the larger world outside of academia was also noted by other faculty. For example, Dr. P.Z. Myers, a University of Minnesota professor of biology who blogs regularly at Scienceblogs.com/pharyngula, enjoys the opportunity to discuss scientific issues with those outside his small towns. Myers likens blogs to a worldwide Speaker's Corner in London's Hyde Park, where you "can find plenty of people arguing away, and it's easy to bring your own soapbox and start a discussion on anything you want."

Integrating the Digital into Traditional

Most of the professors I contacted said their institutions were either supportive of or ambivalent toward their blogging. Jim Maule, a Villanova University professor who blogs at Mauledagain. …

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