What stood out to me as I was getting ready to do this blog was my fear of using this online blogpost forum. I was more concentrated at first by making sure I could get this published than the content of what I was going to write about once I began, which is crazy (granted I need to make sure its published). I want to be one of those people whose finger is on the pulse of new technology, especially incorporating it into my educational best practices, but sadly, I have never been the forerunner for such online technology practices.
What really stood out to me during this moment of anxiety, was George, the adorable baby from the Ted Talk. He didn’t know how to walk down the stairs but bygone if he didn’t keep trying and smiling while doing it (Wesch, 2016). Michael Wesch, the man giving the Ted Talk, shared that some have a narrow mind when it comes to learning and I realized (painstakingly) that it was me in this moment- I was being closed minded about the great online educational opportunities that were before my very eyes. Before this past summer, I had never taken an online class or used any other online education forum besides Blackboard or Canvas. I felt that in-person classes were more beneficial, which was closed minded of me considering, I had never taken an online class to prove that notion I created in my head. I needed to be more like George- just keep trying with new technology and web based learning until I become more comfortable. I am happy to report that one of the online courses I took this past summer was one of my favorite classes I have taken in graduate student career an thus changed my previous stance.
An article from this week’s readings really stood out to me as I was reflecting on my fear of online and web based learning. I realized I needed to be more open minded with it all. The article was “Twitter and blogs are not just add-ons to academic research, but a simple reflection of the passion underpinning it” by Tim Hitchcock. Hitchcock states “we all want to have ‘impact’” (2014). This resonated to me because I think as an inspiring student affairs professional, I want to make sure the work I am doing is helping to “contributes to a better world” (Hitchcock, 2014). What I am learning is that blogs are a great way to accomplish that and leave a footprint so to speak.
It would never occur to me to blog about the work I am doing, however, this article made greats points that are changing my opinion on this. For an academic, it is a great space to put oneself out there and get a buzz going for the work they are doing and creating. However, I do sympathize with the notion Hitchcock states about “ a lot of early career scholars, in particular, worry that exposing their research too early, in too public a manner, will either open them to ridicule, or allow someone else to ‘steal’ their ideas” (Hitchcock, 2014).
Posting things online does open you up to a lot of potential criticism; I know I am told all the time that what I am posting could affect future job opportunities if the institution does not like what my online presence says. I think that academic blogs could be a great asset to bolster your work but if what you research write about could be considered controversial or doesn’t align 100% with an institution you want to work for, it could put you at risk for discrimination in the job hiring process. On the other hand, I think it could help you have more name recognition if people stumble across your work or someone tweets it out. I think that there are pros and cons to both.
Another salient point Hitchcock talks about in this article was how when asking students to blog publically for class it helps them to write better (2014). I know as I write this, the fact that my class colleagues are also reading this makes me a tad more nervous to write this. However, I agree with Hitchcock’s notion that when the writing is more public, it “forces you to think a little harder about the reader, and to think a little harder about the standards of record keeping and attribution that underpin your research” (2014). I know in the online course I took this past summer, we blogged a lot about the subject and I felt it does open you up for good and bad criticism. I know I really took time to reflect on and edit what I was writing as it was going to be seen by my peers. I really like the idea that this online blogging can open up the ability for others to comment and interact with your writing and work create a great avenue for discussions and perhaps could give you another way to look at something. It builds for great learning partnerships and connections.
Hitchcock, T. Twitter and blogs are not just add-ons to academic research, but a simple reflection of the passion underpinning it. (2015, July 27). Retrieved from http://blogs.lse.ac.uk/impactofsocialsciences/2014/07/28/twitter-and-blogs-academic-public-sphere/
Wesch, M. (2016, April 15). TEDxMHK. Retrieved August 26, 2018, from https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=SP7dbl0rJS0&feature=youtu.be