I especially cringe when I see so many blogs bouncing around the Internet that appear to have been written under compulsion in a college class. In these blogs students gamely write responses to assigned readings, responses that are often followed by comments from the overseeing teacher and/or fellow students. These digital practices defy well-guarded legal privacies that have traditionally surrounded learning and literacy. Exchanges between teachers and students are supposed to have the same confidentiality status as doctor-patient exchanges, no doubt in recognition of the vulnerabilities involved. Further, the right to reading privacy has long been considered a cornerstone of first-amendment freedom, necessary for citizens to maintain independence and critical thought free of government surveillance. Now, assigned reading blogs posted to the Web preserve for anyone to see connections between particular individuals and particular books, connections that librarians throughout history have fought hard to conceal. That all of this happens as part of a course requirement makes the practice that much more troubling.I'd be really interested if you wanted to read the whole post and let me know what you think -- either here in the comments, or via email, if you'd rather not blog it!
Tuesday, March 11, 2014
Is there any harm in blogging for this course?
In an interesting blog post by one of the authors we have read this semester, Professor Emerita Deborah Brandt talks about the act of writing online and the implications for power, professional identity, and personal security. Her post is titled, "What's the harm in Blogging?" and it is hosted at the Another Word blog of the UW Writing Center. One bit of Brandt's argument hit home for me: