CCCC: Day 1, Session 2

Well, I guess technically the day I presented was Day 1, but Thursday was the day I started hitting the sessions, so we'll go with that. The second session I attended was, "The New Collegiality: Circulating Ideas about Writing and Teaching on Weblogs." For this one, I only have notes from John and Joanna's presentations.

John's presentation was titled "A Writing Teacher's Blog: New Knowledge and New Colleagues." In it, he talked about his motivations for starting his weblog. He said he was hearing "time's wingèd chariot hurrying near" and was worried that his words wouldn't end up having an impact. He has a wealth of accumulated knowledge about teaching writing, having done it for forty (!) years now, and he was concerned that what we as writing teachers do isn't understood well by the public (he referenced the "Well, I'd better watch my grammar around you!" joke we all know). So he decided to start a blog. His colleagues, he said, were wondering how he found the time to post to his blog every day, and he said he spends about 20-40 minutes per day posting, which is mostly taken out of TV watching (me too!). John went on to gesture toward benefits and issues in blogging: first, the collaborative potential. He used the example of Austin Lingerfelt's seminar paper, for which Lingerfelt enlisted the help of several academic bloggers. He mentioned blogging's disruption of public and private and claimed that we haven't yet adequately theorized this issue. What is a 19-year-old college student comfortable making public? I hope that by posting these notes, I can help to keep the conversation going -- here or at John's.

Like John's presentation, Joanna's presentation, "Poking My Head in a Blog: Finding Virtual Mentors," was a really engaging, accessible exploration of the motivations and pleasures of blogging. I think a lot of people get intimidated by the technology, and in a recent presentation I gave to a group of professors, one said he was a little scared of blogs because most bloggers seem so tech-savvy, especially in the customization of CSS templates, etc. Another professor said she was scared of blogs because they're public (an often stated sentiment, I've found). John and Joanna's presentations were good testimonials that I would imagine were motivational enough to encourage those in the audience to get over their fears and qualms and take on the technology so they can reap the benefits. That strong encouragement, on Joanna's part, I can imagine is concurrent with her strengths as a teacher of developmental writing. She expressed her worries about starting out at Community College English: fears that she'd run out of things to say, or become the dominant voice. But she ended up enjoying blogging so much that she started 2 Board Alley (which is a tenement on the north end of Boston where her grandmother lived). She went on to mention specific bloggers who have influenced her in various ways, like Cindy, Jeff, Steve, and others. After the presentations, during the question-and-answer period someone in the audience brought up the need for public intellectuals and academics' responsibility to the public.


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Blogging in academia

Geeky Mom

I think there are so many good reasons to blog (reading and writing them) and I get the same odd looks when I do workshops on blogging. I'm actually doing one about blogging and teaching writing in a couple of weeks. I think a lot of people think it's the technology du jour and are waiting for it to pass. It seems that way because it has suddenly popped into the mainstream and I've done no less than 4 workshops/presentations on it (at the request of others) this semester. I'm teaching a class with and about blogs and I'm looking forward to the student reaction to blogging. This will be my first time in a classroom in 2 years. Yikes!

Red Bird Rising I think peop

Red Bird Rising
I think people do feel blogging will pass, but I don't because it has created communities that are much stronger than those created by other technologies. I'm convinced that a year from now, all the same folks will be at CCCC talking about blogging and composition. It will have evolved, perhaps, but it will still be there.

They sure will

Yes, people will definitely be talking about blogging next year. There's a blogging special interest group, which Charlie and Krista co-chaired last year and Mike and I are co-chairing this upcoming year. I'm going to post more about how the SIG last night went, but for now, Mike and I are going to pursue a couple of good, productive initiatives that were brought up last night, including drafting an NCTE resolution to acknowledge academic blogging as scholarly work that should count for something (it's not the same as journal and book publishing or service, but it's important work, that kind of thing).

another conference you might be interested in...

I came across your blog a while ago and read it every week or two... Jason wrote about going to a pretty cool sounding conference...


I wish I had gotten to attend the "Blogging While Black" session; sounds like it was fantastic.

Sorry for the... offness of t

Sorry for the... offness of the comment I made.

From what I read about the SXSW conference, there were a lot of good sessions - in one of Jason's posts about the conference, he wrote about another session about the absence of women in web design positions that he found interesting (

The entire conference looked kinda fun to me. ;-)

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