Because I need to write them up anyway for class, here are the current learning goals for my workshop on academic blogging -- read these in the format of "after the workshop, participants will be able to..." -- and as always, comments welcome. Thanks to everyone who wrote back to express interest and sign up! I will reply to you all as soon as I get my 2nd paper in tonight!
1. Analyze and evaluate the online scholarly presence of others.
I want you to be able to find, listen to, and take inspiration from messy realtime online conversations on a topic you're trying to learn about.
This is both an "analyze" (break into parts and detect how the parts relate to each other and an overall structure or purpose) and "evaluate" (make judgements based on criteria and standards) goal based on Anderson & Krathwohl's 2001 update of Bloom's Taxonomy. You will be able to critically assess the quality and usefulness (to you and to others) of someone else's online scholarly presence because you will be able to deconstruct that presence into multiple elements, determine how that person's scholarly thought flows between them, and choose which one(s) (if any) work best for specific reading purposes.
- This is an enduring and transferable big idea that pushes students out of the classroom to find value elsewhere; if you are not confined to the resources and circles of your own scholarly institution, your world becomes far larger.
- This is a big idea and a core process at the heart of the practice of radically transparent research. In order to contribute to a conversation, we must first be able to consume it; we must be able to survey the ever-changing landscape of the dialogue of others and assess what we think is "good" and what sorts of examples we may want to emulate and become ourselves.
- This is an often-misunderstood topic because of the high degree of irregularity and chaos present in online conversations that usually get abstracted and edited away in the "formal" scholarly conversations we claim to be used to. The truth is that we have informal scholarly conversations all the time; we scribble in our lab journals, debate with our classmates over lunch, go with confusions to our instructors during office hours... and we are, in all likelihood, far more comfortable with those informal conversations than we are with sitting down and writing formal scholarly papers. Nonetheless, the apparent "chaos" and "noise" in online conversations cause some people to dismiss it as "useless chaff" because they don't know how to rapidly hone in on the parts that will be useful to them at that moment.
- This is a big idea embedded in the activity of daily reading of a self-selected blogroll, which provides an opportunity to exercise the various directed reading skills that enable you to reach this learning objective.
2. Translate their existing daily scholarly activity into public online artifacts.
I want you to have the courage and habit of exposing your daily thinking as it comes out, without polish, in appropriate venues and in a way that facilitates the creation of more polished pieces down the line.
This is an "apply" (carry out a procedure in a given situation) goal based on Anderson & Krathwohl's 2001 update of Bloom's Taxonomy. You will be able to recognize when a content-creation situation is one that could be done "in the open," and go through the process of "opening it up," which means finding an appropriate venue, checking relevant permissions, uploading the content, adding any needed context, and pointing others to the public conversation.
- This topic is an enduring and transferable one that centers around students making their existing work visible and valuable to others beyond the classroom.
- It is a big idea and a core process at the heart of the practice of becoming a radically transparent researcher; you're already a researcher, so what we're adding here is the radical transparency.
- This is a topic that requires a great deal of uncoverage; academic training specifically conditions us to regard the opposite process ("closed by default") as normal and intuitive, so we will have to specifically examine and deconstruct this conditioning and discuss when and where each behavior is situationally appropriate.
- This is a topic embedded in the activity of "opening up" individual pieces of our own thinking, which often requires the metacognitive skills of sensitivity to and management of one's own emotions. (Which is a topic we sometimes don't like to talk about in academia, particulary in STEM disicplines that are supposed to be abstracted from all that... but fear is an emotion, and quite often the thing that blocks us from moving forward, so we'll have to tackle that to make any progress on this.)
3. Propose collaborations that combine your existing scholarly momentum with that of others you have never met in person
I want you to have the guts to reach out and make direct connections with other people doing the same, even if you may never have met them in "real life."
This is a "create" (make new things) goal based on Anderson & Krathwohl's 2001 update of Bloom's Taxonomy. A "collaboration proposal" may be anything from a reply tweet to an introduction email to a full-out grant co-authorship -- all are invitations to engage at some level. In this case, you will be collaging elements of someone else's online scholarly presence with your own in order to come up with (and possibly support) the proposal you are making, either explicitly (in an actual proposal format) or implicitly (putting out something they can respond to).
- This big idea is one that will endure for the remainder of your scholarly career; as long as you need to collaborate and network with other scholars, it will serve you well. It is also transfereable to non-scholarly and non-career contexts, since you can use the same sorts of techniques to reach out to more people about your hobbies, interests, and even establish closer contact with old friends and family members (think about Facebook; if you're an avid Facebook user, you're probably doing this already, and the question is how to transfer those skills in from that context).
- This is also a core process at the heart of being a radically transparent researcher. The reason others are invested in our transformation into a radically transparent researcher is that it becomes easier for them to participate -- at any level, including occasional reading or lurking -- in our work. For watchers of our research, the increased ability to connect with you is the entire point.
- This topic is frequently misunderstood from two directions: being "too hard" and being "too easy." It's tempting to say that reaching out is "just about meeting people," and that you can "simply introduce yourself and start saying something," but this ignores an awareness of the factors that make your introductions more likely to be listened to and followed-up on. It's also tempting to think that launching yourself out there is intimidating and that nobody's going to pay attention, but in a way, this is"just" about meeting people, and we've been doing that all our lives. We'll need to play with that duality.
- This topic is embedded in several variants on the activity of reaching out and making connections, which is something we all know how to do from early childhood when we first began making friends. It's just a different context.