Notes for week 2

The theme we negotiated at the workshop was blogging and academic practice. I've included reflective writing given that that appeared to be a concern for some given the short time before the 1st task is due.

Oddly, the theme we ditched, The Neoliberal University: Academic career in a time increasing precarity, has articulations to our new theme. You'll find that there is a lot of blogging about the neoliberal university and certainly a lot of blogging about the precarious nature of the lives of many contract and casual academics.

I've begun some not very reflective writing about my experience in the course in my small PCP log.

Blogging and academic practice

A good place to add to your thinking about blogging and academic practice is via the notes about blogging on this wiki. I'll add some more examples of academic blogging of various styles.

Next, read the blog post by Rae Dufty-Jones1 that she titled Cyberspace, the ‘Blog’ and Research Writing. The post is a useful account of the common arguments deployed when blogging is discussed in terms of academic practice. She provides a useful overview of recent publications about blogging and academic work. The Mewburn and Thompson paper2 is worth a read.

Try and position yourself in some of the scenarios she describes and the assertions she and others she cites make. What in the piece resonates for you? What is confusing to you? The theoretical emphasis of her post is how to think about cyberspace, the Net and the physical space we inhabit3. The post is gesturing to notions of embodiment and affect which ought to ring bells for those of your curious about performativity.

It's always useful to look at some of the earlier publications around new practices if only to get a sense of the kinds of thinking and claims made on its behalf. A paper by Powell, Jacob and Chapman4 captures something of the early days thinking5.

As you will gather, this aspect of academic practice, blogging, has become an object of study and research in higher education as well as in education more generally.

Reflective writing

This may be a style, or perhaps genre that is new to you. The notion of teachers as reflective practitioners goes back a long way. The term is also used almost casually now and has been interpreted in a variety of ways.

In essence, the term means what it suggests, some level of personal reflection about what you are doing/learning. Now, there are problems with using reflective writing in assessment, an issue I have made some notes on.

The reflective writing you do in your notebooks, e.g. your thoughts about the first workshop or on reading a particular paper, your thoughts on things as they pop up in your research work. So it is more than a simple "I think" and more about writing in a bit of detail about an issue that has occupied your thinking.

We will work our way through this as we sort out the first task. The rubrics, hopefully will reflect some of these issues.

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