Blogging for Credit

I decided to go the route of creative ambiguity in my BlogClass syllabus:

The rise of mass communication in the last century led to the emergence of the professional communicator, and more broadly, the acceleration of professions that are engaged chiefly in symbolic manipulation. The technologies that led to this revolution, including the penny press and electronic broadcasting, are quickly giving way to both technologies and social structures that favor customization and networked connections. As a result, the communication professional is increasingly a networked professional.

A set of tools that make use of the internet to facilitate or augment social networks is becoming increasingly important. Weblogs, despite popular depictions, represent the first crude tool of this new revolution. Just as people once dismissed ham radio operators and homebrew computer builders as eccentrics, blogs are often seen as a fad rather than a trend. In this course we will investigate the possibility that they are much more than this: that blogs and related social technologies are a window into the next revolution and the tools for the vanguard of the emerging network society.

So, this blog will become a part of the class. I thought about separating things out and making a class blog (which I’ve done in the past), but the truth is that I want my students to integrate what they are doing in the class with the rest of their life.

And yes, if you read over the syllabus you will see that at its root, the students are getting credit for blogging. I will be requesting that they read and blog on a constrained set of topics, but we won’t (for the most part) be meeting in person. The blogs are not an appendage of the class: they are the class. Fingers crossed, this will be an interesting teaching experience.

If you want to join in, and read the things we are reading, and comment on them, I welcome you with open arms. Heck, if you want grad or undergrad credit for such blogging, that too can be arranged. But be prepared to pay through the nose — especially if you are outside of NY. If you are already a student at a SUNY school… well, I’m not sure how that all works.

Happy also for any comments on the syllabus. Clearly still needs some editing, at the very least.

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12 Comments

  1. stef
    Posted 8/4/2004 at 8:41 pm | Permalink

    very cool!

    i guess being out of college since 1990 and med school in 1994, i realize that there is much i could of learned but didn’t. I wasted lots of time with silly socialization and watching to much tv. Learning should never be taken for granted: there is so much for the adult and elderly student to continue learning thoughout life. I remember the older students in my classes: how seriously they where about classes and learning for its own sake.

    stef

  2. stef
    Posted 8/4/2004 at 8:50 pm | Permalink

    strange, just learned about R. Buckminster Fuller the other day while in nyc talking about the magaizine we are writing.

    interesting karma

  3. Ronald Nigh
    Posted 8/5/2004 at 12:54 pm | Permalink

    Cool. I will be following this. I hope to do the same in my anthropology course this fall here in Mexico. Our IT people haven’t got a clue so I will have to use something linke blogger. Any suggestions?
    ron

  4. Posted 8/5/2004 at 2:23 pm | Permalink

    Ronald: Yes, I think blogger is probably the best way to go. Assuming I can get everything together in time, I’m using a wordpress install on a server that we set up. But frankly, with all the headaches that has entailed, some days I wish I had gone the Blogger route. Let me know how your try goes. -A

  5. Posted 8/5/2004 at 2:54 pm | Permalink

    Your syllabus looks intriguing. I’m also planning to integrate blogs into my first-year composition classes this fall. It’ll be something of an expreiment–heck, I’ve only been blogging myself for a few months now. I also wondered about giving them my personal blog address or setting up a separate class blog, and I tend to agree with you that I want them to see the blog as integrating the thinking they’re doing in their comp class and in the rest of their lives. I guess one problem that comes up is that my blog is also clearly political and partisan, and I wonder about how that will affect my students–and how my students will affect my own blogging style as well.

    I will be following your progress this semester and checking in on your students too. Thanks for exploring this medium in this manner.

  6. Posted 8/9/2004 at 11:50 am | Permalink

    I wish I was taking this class.

  7. Posted 8/9/2004 at 1:19 pm | Permalink

    Nice try, Kara, I know it’s too soon for you to be wishing you were taking any class.

  8. stef
    Posted 8/15/2004 at 3:09 pm | Permalink

    reviewing my glog from a year ago: just stumbled into the name, gary sullivan from buffalo. it was a conversation about archiving poetry and the idea of understanding poetic theory.

    stef

  9. Posted 8/20/2004 at 9:33 am | Permalink

    No, I’m with Kara.. I wish I was taking this class too.

  10. stef
    Posted 8/22/2004 at 6:17 pm | Permalink

    i would imagine posting notes, photos and discussions about a class would deepen the academic experience.

    are students recording and photographing the lectures?

    went last year to the wearable computing symposium, and i was really fascinated with the number of persons MP3 monitoring the lectures. wonder if persons will start using the blog as a glog, and record important conversations.

    I could fake my way about talking about voice recogniton with thadius starner year one, record the conversation, learn stuff over the year, and then meet him the next year and ask more intelligent questions on the next visit. each year deepening my understanding from novice to beginner, to advanced hobbist.

  11. Posted 8/22/2004 at 6:25 pm | Permalink

    Matt: I think you saw (a flawed) version of using blogs in the classroom. I hope that things go a bit smoother this time ’round.

    Steph: In fact, I’ve seen *fewer* recording technologies in the classroom than when I was a student. This may simply be that students don’t think I’m particularly worth recording! Alternatively, I have a feeling that there is a new feeling among many profs that they don’t want their lectures turned into to books or other products. and losing out on potential profits.

  12. Patrick Finch
    Posted 9/17/2004 at 1:12 pm | Permalink

2 Trackbacks

  1. By the chutry experiment on 8/4/2004 at 10:09 pm

    Too Many Threads
    Classes start in twelve days here at Georgia Tech, and I’m starting to feel a little excited and just a little overwhelmed. I’m working on my syllabus for my fall semester freshman composition course (3 sections), in which I’ll be…

  2. By PR meets the WWW on 8/5/2004 at 7:47 pm

    Wanted: A syllabus for “PR in the Information Age”
    Alex Halavais, SUNY @ Buffalo, Syllabus for Media in the Information Age Class, Fall 2004:

    The rise of mass communication in the last century led to the emergence of the professional

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