Thursday, July 27, 2006

Blogging Goes to College

Brainstorming Weblog Use in Higher Education. Today I attended a much anticipated workshop/brainstorming session held at OhioLINK in Columbus, OH. Co-sponsored by OhioLINK and Youngstown State University it's purpose, as detailed by the facilitator Paul Kobulnicky, was to:

"Generate a list of possible uses of weblog software in a higher education setting, discuss issues of use and policy that may pertain and then to disseminate our results to the broader community. Along the way we form some personal relationships an get some face time."

Three different small group activities, complete with ingenious ways of breaking us up into groups, and a full group discussion session were instigated throughout the day. The three questions and/or scenarios were as follows (excerpts from workshop agenda):

  1. Potential uses of blogging in the area of teaching and learning.
  2. Uses of blogging as applied to library services.
  3. Potential uses of blogging in higher education considering research, service, administration, and other roles within the university.

Some interesting possiblities raised included using blogs as a "town meeting" of sorts, providing university presidents and provosts with a way to communicate with the university community as a whole. This was seen, and presented, as a great public relations tool. Another group raised the issue of alumni blogs, study abroad blogs, and even the opportunity for strategic planning and policy blogs were briefly discussed.

Though the session was indeed "preaching to the choir," all of the attendants were at the least interested in blogging, various drawbacks to blogs were also raised. Issues of copyright, scholarly publication, ownership, acceptable use, reluctant bloggers, and comment moderation and "censorship" were discussed.

Unfortunately, I opted to leave my work laptop at work and lost a great opportunity to blog during the workshop. I'm looking forward to seeing other participant comments and hope the accompanying blog is kept as a means to continue the process begun today.

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