Wednesday, April 20, 2005

Talking about Blogging

So I took the blog talk on the road. My head is exploding with ideas. First, I chatted with the person who invited me to give the talk. Did the talk--a little fast, I think. Then lots of conversation afterward. Lunch. Met with science librarian, talked about her blogs, blogging for the library, information, library instruction, all kinds of interesting things. Then met with a chemistry faculty. Talked about blogging, screencasting, podcasting, issues of electronic scholarship, the reward structure and how it precludes developing technology-based teaching, getting scooped, rethinking teaching as a result of incorporating screencasting, and more. Then met with the engineering librarian. Talked about blogging, rss feeds for searches from library databases (very cool), starting a regional group blog for issues surrounding blogging and teaching and the library. Met with the dean. Talked about using blogs to get students interested in subjects, talked about the time factor for both faculty and students, talked about how to make going to class valuable for the students when lectures are podcast/screencast.

So let me dump some of my thoughts here--loosely categorized:

Classes/Students and Blogging
  • How do you incorporate student blogs and make it worthwhile while still having some parameters?
  • What about privacy issues?
  • What about the issue of having the lectures available completely publicly? Does that mean that someone is saving money/shorting the U. money by "taking" the class online?
  • If the students have access to the courses online, including complete lectures with audio and powerpoint, will they come to class? Do faculty really want them to come? If so, how to you make the class valuable?
  • What about copyright issues--i.e. using diagrams or problem sets from a text which then get screencast publicly?
Scientists blogging their research
  • Who will your audience be? Other scientists, the general public, your students?
  • How do you protect your intellectual property? Is a Creative Commons license enough?
  • What if you get scooped?
  • In what way do you blog your research? Do you try to connect it to the "real world"? Do you stick to the science?
  • What needs to happen to make sharing of information via blogs possible, and credible?
  • Can blogging "count" as research/service/teaching?
Reading blogs
  • How do you know when to trust a blog? Links to research? Links to other credible bloggers?
  • How do you tell students to deal with reading blogs? Do you vet them all first? Do you let students find them on their own?
  • How do you treat a blog in comparison to mainstream media? a scholarly journal?
  • Can reading blogs counter "bad" journalism about science?
I think that's all that's in my head now. I'm thinking I need to work up some more ideas. One thing that's hard for me is that I'm not a scientist, so I don't know how this compares or what real value it might have for scientists. I can see the value for regular folk like me who need more than what Newsweek or NYT gives them, but can't digest a scholarly article (I've tried.). Thoughts greatly appreciated.