For Assessment item 3 in INF537 I have decided to do an autoethnographical research study of my online behaviour. Specifically, I want to determine if, how and why my online behaviour has changed during the two years of my MEd KN&DI studies. Here is a link to the research proposal. For this purpose I am writing a daily blog post to reflect on my online behaviour – I call it August online.
Blogging did not come easy to me. I was adamant to produce academic discourse, pearls of wisdom, for every required blog post. I went as far as dragging Shirky into my argument by agreeing with great minds like Luther and Poe to say that “Increased freedom to publish does diminish average quality… The easier it is for the average person to publish, the more average what gets published becomes”. Somewhere in this reasoning lay my reluctance to “just” produce another blog post of 200 words. Because, yes, it is so very easy to press the publish button, to publish the average. (That post was discarded because I did not find it worthy…)
I started blogging as a requirement for the first module of my Masters’ studies (INF532 being only the second). Each blog post was a mini-essay, complete with punchy introduction, body paragraphs, thoughtful conclusion and a worthy reference list. I did not realise that my practice was not exemplary and scholarly, but stuck in an era where learning was static and solitary. As my understanding of the nature of knowledge creation in the networked digital era grew, I started to value the opportunity to blog.
Walker Rettberg (2009) believes that blogging combines two types of writing “thinking-writing, which helps us think and presentation-writing, which we do in order to communicate a message. Blogging is a response to ideas or experiences, but – because we are aware that we are connected to a network, there is an audience and possibly a conversation out there – we take care that our thoughts are articulated more clearly. As MacNess (2012) blogs: “The openness of blogging and the possibility of encountering alternative perspectives is a way of avoiding blind spots.”
As my learning becomes more practice-based and experiential, I am starting to realise that reflective practice – such as blogging requires – is leading me to question my actions, values and beliefs, altering the way that I see the world. Critical reflection, through blogging, is creating an opportunity for transformational learning (McClure).
But, hey, this is a blog post not an essay, remember, so let’s get more practical: In a way blogging is like swimming: the only way to swim is to get in the water; the only way to learn how to blog, is to blog.
Which is why I’m bloggin’ away.
MacNess, J. (2012, May 10). Blogging for reflective learning [Blog post]. Retrieved from https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=GbNTI3di2mg
McClure, P. (n.d.). Reflection on practice [Brochure]. Retrieved from http://www.supervisionandcoaching.com/pdf/Reflection%20on%20Practice%20(McClure%20undated).pdf
Shirky, C. (2010). Means. In C. Shirky (Author), Cognitive surplus: Creativity and generosity in a connected age (pp. 31-64). New York: Penguin Press.
Walker Rettberg, J. (2009). Blogging as a tool for reflection and learning. In A. K. Larsen & G. O. Hole (Eds.), E-pedagogy for teachers in higher education.