Written for the first session of Baylor’s New Media Faculty Development Seminar, January 26, 2011

Blogging is one of the most important aspects of Baylor’s New Media Faculty Development Seminar.

The syllabus states:

“Understanding new media is almost impossible for those who aren’t actively involved in the experience of new media; for deep understanding, actually creating new media projects is essential to grasping their workings and poetics. The ideas described in these selections can open important new creative areas for beginners and professionals alike.”

Blogging is one very important way to be actively involved in the experience and creation of new media. Blogging is not just a more informal medium than academic writing for professional journals. It’s an inherently different animal. It is a medium which allows us to be free to use pictures, video, links (which can function as both citation and conversation). It is a medium in which we can be free to share how we are learning and growing in understanding. As Gardner puts it in another blog post,

I think blogging is utterly (and radically) unlike writing for professional journals. Maybe part of the problem here is that folks don’t have a deeper understanding of blogging itself. It’s freer, looser, more voice-filled, more exploratory, more goofy, more fun, more multimodal. I’ve written for a number of professional journals, and blogging isn’t that at all—and shouldn’t be in this context either. It should be thoughts, scraps, false starts, stories of the progress of one’s own learning and missteps and questions and problem-finding….

I think the fact that blogging is utterly unlike writing for professional journals is one of the reasons it’s so hard for faculty to do (or at least to start doing). They feel lost and vulnerable without those professional journal structures. And they’ll say weird things to me like “who wants to read what *I* have to say?” This from people who are professors making their living from people who pay to hear what they have to say! No, I truly believe that blogging in this context should free us for authentic learning and sharing of our learning.

The how-tos and technical aspects of blogging I will demonstrate during the seminar today, as well as the rest of the way the seminar network will be set up. But for now, just know that blogging is one of the most important aspects of the seminar. It might be strange at first, and it might take some discipline as you get started, but it will ultimately be very valuable both to the seminar as well as to yourself.

Marshall McLuhan understanding blogging

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