Blogging: About reading?

Despite obvious appearances, blogging isn’t really about writing at all; that’s just the end point of the process, the outcome that occurs more or less naturally if everything else has been done right…If a student has nothing to blog about, it is not because he or she has nothing to write about or has a boring life. It is because the student has not yet stretched out to the larger world, has not yet learned to meaningfully engage in a community. – Downes (2004, p. 24).

Concurrently with my empirical data analysis, I’ve been reading a lot of articles that examine online community from a more theoretical perspective. Among these are the two that Wendy and Clare have also been blogging about: Cousins & Deepwell (2005) and Hodgson & Reynolds (2005). The three of us had chatted about the ideas that these articles highlight in the GRAIL lab a couple of weeks ago, so I’m glad Wendy brought these to my attention shortly thereafter!

Cousin & Deepwell (2005) examine the relevance of Wenger’s (1991) construct of Community of Practice for the generation of networked learning environments. I liked the links the authors make to other theorists like Durkheim and Bourdieu, because I have lately been thinking about them in relation to Wenger’s ideas for my CSSE paper, which looks at participatory engagement and democracy in keeping with the theme, “Empire and Education: The challenge of teaching and learning in a time of war.”

Hodgson & Reynolds (2005) critique the notion of “community,” especially its association with consensus and pressures to conform. They argue for an interpretation of community, which is more likely to take account of differences among participants without suppressing them by proposing the notion of “multiple communities” in networked learning. While I bought their philosophical explanation, I was less certain about the practical application of their ideas. I’ll write more about this in the upcoming week.


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *