blogging about blogging



Remediation, Genre, and Motivation: Key Concepts for Teaching with Weblogs

Brooks, Kevin, Cindy Nichols, and Sybil Priebe. Into the Blogosphere. “Remediation, Genre, and Motivation: Key Concepts for Teaching with Weblogs”. 19 June 2007. <http://blog.lib.umn.edu/blogosphere/remediation_genre.html&gt;.

The article begins by informing the reader that the year 2003 was dubbed “the year of the blog” by Barclay Barrios. Barrios gives three reasons for this statement:

  • Blogger.com announced in January of 2003 that it hosted over one million blogs
  • emergence of presentations about blogging at the 2003 Conference on College Composition and Communication
  • the interest in blogging that surfaced during Gulf War II

Barrios also discusses the use of classroom blogs in three separate ways:

  1. weblogs as journals
  2. weblogs as research tools
  3. class weblogs for sharing ideas in a common space

The goal of the authors of this article is “to bring some greater specificity to, and advance the understanding of, weblogs as educational tools relevant to any class that takes writing and reading seriously”. They praise the low-tech and user friendly format of blogs. They are not complicated like setting up an individual or personal website, which is perfect for any student. Rebecca Blood is mentioned regarding her statement about blogging leading to further development of critical writing skills. Blood feels that students who would not go further and develop their writing in the typical school setting have an easier time in maintaining a blog. A very powerful quote from Blood that was included was:

“As he enunciates his opinions daily, this new awareness of his inner life may develop into a trust in his own perspective. His own reactions—to a poem, to other people, and, yes, to the media—will carry more weight with him. Accustomed to expressing his thoughts on his website, he will be able to more fully articulate his opinions to himself and others. He will become impatient with waiting to see what others think before he decides, and will begin to act in accordance with his inner voice instead. Ideally, he will become less reflexive and more reflective, and find his own opinions and ideas worthy of serious consideration” (2000).

A study done by the authors in 2002-2003 studied the motivation of students (it is unclear to me, but I think they were college students) with various genres of blogging. The authors defined three different categories or genres of weblogs, which were modifications of Rebecca Blood’s framework:

  1. blogs/short-form journals- the writer’s subject is his or her daily life, with links to related texts
  2. notebooks-separate from journals, with longer pieces of focused content
  3. filters- organized around a certain text or link, with the blog maintained by someone else

The questions that the researchers/authors aimed to answer were:

  1. How familiar were students with weblogging in the fall of 2002, spring of 2003?
  2. How familiar were students with the print genres that weblogging, as we were presenting it to students, remediates?
  3. Which genre of weblog did students prefer to write?

ANSWERS

1. In the fall, only 2% had kept a blog and only 21% had heard of weblogs. In the spring, however, 28% of students reported that they had read or kept a weblog. Also, 48% of students had heard of weblogs.

2. In both semesters, personal journals were most familiar to students. They liked the emotional value of journals, keeping a record, and the journal’s intellectual value.

3. (see table at: http://blog.lib.umn.edu/blogosphere/remediation_genre.html)

The conclusions that were derived by the researchers/authors were:

  • Journal weblogging is likely to remediate a familiar print genre that has positive connotations, but the prevalence of this online genre will likely cause a certain amount of generic interference for instructors asking students to write notebook or filter weblogs.
  • Notebook weblogging is more likely to succeed as a genre within a collaborative weblog than when assigned as an individual weblog project. Notebook weblogs might take as their guidepost online discussion boards rather than print notebooks.
  • Filter weblogs have the potential to be an intellectually rich genre for students to work with, but their complexity is buried beneath a deceptively simple presentation of link(s) and analysis.

Finally, after reading all of this I was reassured that my initial guess that the study was done on college students was right. I think it was just the way it was written, it made it a little ambiguous. I feel that this article helped to create a framework in which to categorize the large, vast world of weblogs. I like how I discovered the three genres of blogs while in a classroom setting. Overall, I felt that this reading was helpful and that we can use a lot of it in our final paper.

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