Wednesday, November 08, 2006

About this blog

I was quite struck by the quality of the conversation in the TLC workshop, and I would like to see if we might use this blog to continue that conversation. The blog could therefore be a way for us to keep talking about a variety of things -- teaching, technology, literary scholarship, the profession, etc. -- and to actually see if the blog is a good technology for sustaining this conversation. In other words, this blog is something of an experiment in both form and content.

While I have started this, I by no means plan to "own" it. So, I invite you (encourage you, in that softly coercive way that the DGS encourages) to post whatever you want here: reflections on all of the topics above, records of your experiences in teaching with or without technology, links to interesting things, ideas for future projects, comments about departmental life. One conversation that emerged at the end of the workshop was the idea of a department wiki as an improvement over our other communication technologies. This blog is not meant to replace that, but it might be a) a place to discuss it; and b) a place to see what kind of conversations we want to sustain electronically.

When you join this blog as a "team member" (go team!), you will immediately be able to contribute to the blog. (You do that by going to blogger.com and logging in, and then selecting the "create a new post" option.) Later, I will then give you "controller" status, in case you want to work on the template of the blog itself. So, this will have a wiki-like, open modification structure. (If I understand wiki's correctly, and I may not.)

For now, I think the workshop group has an excellent rapport, so I would like to start with us as a group and see where this goes. If it can be sustained, then maybe we can start inviting others. This is not exactly a top-secret project, just something that may not be ready for departmental prime time. On the other hand, if you want to mention this to others you might think are interested, please do. And if anyone really wants to join, I am not opposed to adding them.

Finally, this blog is not a private space. The url is not public, and therefore it is quite unlikely that anyone who is not seeking this specifically will find it. You cannot find it, for instance, via Google. However, it's still a public document, and so this is probably not the place for, say, your elaborate, three-part critique of the authoritarian rhetoric of the current DGS. It is impossible to guarantee that what is said on the blog will stay on the blog. On the other hand, I would like to see if we can sustain the kind of relatively unguarded exchanges we had during the workshop. (Interestingly, there is apparently a beta version of Blogger in development that would allow only approved readers access to a blog. This seems like a feature that could make Blogger an even better tool for the department.)

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