Thursday, September 18, 2008

Blogging in the Classroom: “Can I Say That?”

As a journalism instructor at a public college, I consider everything I say in class “on the record.” Whatever I say in class should be open to public scrutiny, and not just by the students who pay to take my class.

Now that we’re into the age of blogging, who knows where my name and comments might show up. That’s why it’s fascinating to read the story posted by Mark Glaser on MediaShift, which follows up an article about social media and journalism by New York University student Alana Taylor.

Glaser discusses the tension that followed Taylor’s criticism of her NYU professor, who she thought was behind the times in teaching the students about new media. Glaser then went on to explore the nature of blogging and free speech in the classroom. His story has generated two dozen additional comments (as of 3:30 p.m. PST Thursday, Sept. 18), many of them insightful, others inane.

Among the messages this makes clear is the changing nature of communications and the responsibility we have in higher education to share and model behavior for our students. We can’t expect to ruminate on the First Amendment, free speech and freedom of the press and in the next sentence tell student journalists “you can’t report that.”

I can’t wait to share this discussion with my classes this fall, and brace myself for whatever they choose to share on their own blogs.



Linn Benton Community College Library said...

On the surface, it seems that there is simply a tension between values held by journalists and teachers - whether to report or to hold classroom discourse in confidence. I would propose that the notion of "classroom community" itself is changing. The nature of new media is to create a "participatory" culture - whereas we used to spend a good deal of time assuring students that their discussion "stays in the classroom," perhaps we as educators now lose credibility if we do not allow the discussion to percolate beyond the classroom walls.

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