First Blogpost

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

7 Replies to “First Blogpost”

  1. I can relate to you on many points here. I definitely felt the same way for online classes as you felt before taking the class. Unfortunately, I still have the same feeling as I could not felt connected with the class that I took online. I hope this changes in the future.

    I feel blogging is helpful. It allows you to tell your story in the way you would like it to without any restrictions of the journal guidelines. But, as you mentioned, that also exposes your thoughts to everyone. You can be judged and put in bias when you post stuff online. However, if we try to see it from another perspective if some person or some institution does not go well with your ideas, it is better to not be at that place or with that person. There will always be a struggle or a compromise if the connection is made.

    1. Hey Zellie! I can 100% relate to your feelings about being fearful of putting yourself out there online in *public*–the threat of discrimination or of ridicule is valid, on some level, but I think more often than not you will find support and interest vs negative reactions.

      I liked the point you made about practicing writing and being conscious of your audience. The act of blogging is good exercise for your writing/thinking skills and it’s good to create an body of work related to your interests. It can help establish credibility and show viewers another side of the scientist. 🙂

      I think Akshay makes a really great point about posting and potentially upsetting an institution or employer. Paraphrasing, but this notion that you’re worse off working for a company that doesn’t share your values is powerful (vs if you held out for a really good job match, which is what we all hope for.)

      I know I wouldn’t be happy working somewhere that didn’t share my core values. If I had to hide a part of myself or stifle my opinions, I may go mad! I would feel as if I were violating my personal ethics. These are important questions that we should all be thinking about or asking ourselves before we choose to share online.

      1. Hi SLHarrell! Thank you so much for your comment! You bring up a great point about whether you could work at an institution that does not reflect your core values. This is something I have been really reflecting on myself. After my reflection, I really do not think I could work at an institution that was against my core beliefs and values. I feel that they are so important to me and if I went against them, I would not be staying true to myself and any institution I work at, I want to be my true authentic self.

    2. Hi Akshay, thank you so much for your comment! I am sorry to hear that you do not feel any different about online classes after the one you took. I still feel like overall, I will always be an in-person class type of person, as it is so hit and miss I feel like. I hope that if you have anymore online classes in your program, that they give you the opportunity to connect virtually with the classroom!

  2. The blogging experience is new for me too, but I think it will soon become the norm and we will be required to adapt especially if we continue in academia. I recall starting my bachelor’s and only a few of my professor’s using a web-site for posting additional material, this appears to be the norm now and we are baffled if a professor does not have an updated web-site with everything we need to know about them.

    Additionally, I can understand your worries about the criticism. I feel most of us do not ever say what we really think because of that very fact. I know bad publicity is not desired, but in this day in age I doubt we can make everybody happy, and that should not keep us from sharing our ideas because at the end of the day, that is how we make progress.

    1. Hi Antonio, thank you so much for your comment. I agree, I think that this method of blogging is going to become a new norm for me as well— in another class of mine, we blog as well!

      I also like your point about though putting yourself out there in a public forum, “that should not keep us from sharing our ideas because at the end of the day, that is how we make progress”. I think I just need to keep reminding myself of this! Thank you– it is a great way to look at it!

  3. I cannot agree with you more about the fact that we need to push ourselves to learn and test new technologies. As technology develops faster, we need to stay current in order to, as Hitchcock puts it, “contributes to a better world”. Everyone has his/her unique approaches which can be conveyed through other outlets outside of the rigid format of academic writings.

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