Wednesday, April 09, 2008

Henry Jenkins on Why Academics should Blog

Henry Jenkins, professor of Comparative Media Studies at MIT offered these ideas in a recent keynote address to the Chronicle of Higher Education's Technology Forum. He gives examples of ways in which blogging impacts students, alumni, faculty, and the public. I find his ideas about the influence on the public particularly relevant to open education and open science. Here are some highlights:

"blogs offered a chance to witness the instructional process [at MIT]. Day by day the blogs unfold, offering a glimpse into the research culture and the ways we think about current issues in our field."

In this next comment I shifts from research to the public and back to undergraduates:

"The blog posts represent which might be called 'just-in-time scholarship," offering thoughtful responses to contemporary developments in the field. Because they are written for a general rather than a specialized readership, these short pieces prove useful for teaching undergraduate subjects."

Referring to the media, he notes:

"Historically, academics have been in a reactive position, responding to questions from reporters. Blogging places academics in a more proactive position, intervening more effectively in popular debates around the topics they research."

Finally he ends by noting that as scholars from many disciplines can adopt various blogging strategies as they make a

"greater commitment to circulate their findings more broadly and to respond to contemporary issues in a thoughtful and timely manner."

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