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Image attribution – George Couros Blog Post. Retrieved from http://georgecouros.ca/blog/archives/6716

Recently George Couros posted the article, “Would you read what your students write if you weren’t paid to do so?” Couros quotes Rushton Hurley’s idea that when posting online, students want their work to be good, but when just presenting to a teacher, they want it to be “good enough”. This post led me to reflect not just on how to teach students to write for a diverse online audience, but also about my own process of writing, blogging and creating as part of my work and university studies. With my own experience in mind, I wholeheartedly agree that students will brush up the quality of their own work when they are uploading to a potentially global audience as this is precisely what I do. However, for me this process of digital publication has its ups and downs.

There is a significant catch-22 in my education blog world; despite the knowledge that my readership is relatively small, I have a bit of stage fright about the potential size and standard of the audience. The potential for a broad and unknown audience makes me especially careful about what I am writing. I review every sentence many times, checking for typos, checking for anything that may be insensitive to a potential reader, checking that I reflect my employment appropriately, checking that I am maintaining a squeaky clean digital footprint … checking, checking, checking … The downside of this care to ensure my writing is professional, is the (sometimes excessive) time it takes me to write, refine, edit and proof my posts. Am I being overly cautious? Perhaps, but for me personally the importance of these considerations is considerable. However, over the past two years, I have become more comfortable with the process of uploading my work online and having others comment and critique my ideas. Despite the nerves that come along with putting my ideas out there, I have only experienced positive outcomes from the process, often engaging in further dialogue with my university colleagues.

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NB the revisions on this blog post prior to publication.

On a related line of thought, my study colleague Andrew Press, created his INF532 artefact on the set up of a blog. In his own post about his work, he noted ideas about quality production and his hope that his video/graphic skills have impacted the quality. Undeniably, his added design details and production skills have polished his work, creating an artefact with a professional edge. Here in lies a challenge that I have been working through in the production of instructional videos for my own work. If they are too polished, it may be a deterrent to colleagues who I may otherwise encourage to flip lessons for their own students, but if not polished enough they might seem amateur and unreliable. It’s a fine line.

In another Couros article, “The Arrows Go Back and Forth“, the enormity of the blogoshere is discussed. Couros acknowledges the fact that quality writing is lost in the noise of the internet, but should one other educator glean an idea from reading a blog post then the impact may extend to students taught by that teacher – a potentially big impact indeed. Once again – the care to express ideas professionally is validated.

In a comment on Couros’ post, Adam Hill noted that no one benefits more from his own blogging process than he does himself. As Silvia Rosenthal Tolisano notes, being able to reflect is a “habit to develop”, and as she quotes John Dewey, “we don’t learn from experience, we learn from reflecting on the experience‘. The power of reflection and collating thoughts as I learn and develop myself as a connected educator is incredibly important as I am able to see evidence of my growth over time and I am starting to realise that blogging beyond my university studies will be an important ongoing element of my practice. I don’t need an extensive readership, if only I benefit and grow from reflecting then it is worthwhile.

Quality is important, as is the value of reflection; however I personally need to trust myself a little more and reduce my production time, particularly as it may be that I am writing just for my own benefit. Perhaps this is the case, but this last thought won’t save me from the careful polishing, just in case!

References

Couros, G. 2016. Would you read what your students write if you weren’t paid to do soRetrieved from http://georgecouros.ca/blog/archives/6716

Couros, G. 2016. The Arrows Go Back and Forth. Retrieved from http://georgecouros.ca/blog/archives/6684

Press, A. 2016. INF532 – Knowledge networking artefact. Retrieved from http://thinkspace.csu.edu.au/apress/2016/09/23/inf532-knowledge-networking-artefact/

Rosenthal Tolisano, S. 2016. Amplify Reflection. Retrieved from http://langwitches.org/blog/2016/08/30/amplify-reflection/

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