Lowe and Williams “Weblogs in the Writing Classroom”

Lowe, Charles, and Terra Williams. “Moving to the Public: Weblogs in the Writing Classroom” Into the Blogosphere: Rhetoric, Community, and Culture of Weblogs. Ed. Laura J. Gurak, Smiljana Antonijevic, Laurie Johnson, Clancy Ratliff, and Jessica Reyman. June 2004. 6 Nov. 2005 http://blog.lib.umn.edu/blogosphere/moving_to_the_public.html.

Consider Sebastian Paquet’s personal knowledge publishing, “an activity where a knowledge worker or researcher makes his observations, ideas, insights, interrogations, and reactions to others’ writing publicly in the form of a weblog“ (2002).[Link to Paquet’s article from this article is now defunct]

Susan McLeod’s description of journal:

help students explore and assimilate new ideas, create links between the familiar and the unfamiliar, mull over possibilities, [and] explain things to the self before explaining them to others. The analog for this kind of student writing is the expert’s notebook—the scientist’s lab book, the engineer’s notebook, the artist’s and architect’s sketchbook (the journals of Thomas Edison and Leonardo da Vinci are prototypical examples). (2001, p. 152)

McLeod’s definition limits this to the personal, when needs to be expanded to public for weblogs

…in their introduction to Public Works: Student Writing as Public Text, Emily Isaacs and Phoebe Jackson note Kenneth Bruffee’s contribution to our understanding of the importance of public writing: Bruffee

emphasizes the value of the social nature of public writing, a condition he identifies as common in nonacademic settings. In his work, Bruffee argues strenuously for students to go public with their writing to receive feedback, on the grounds that public writing in classrooms deemphasizes teacher authority and promotes student-writers’ abilities to see themselves as responsible writers and to view writing as a social activity. (2001, p. xii)

We believe, as Catherine Smith does, that students “take real-world writing more seriously when it is done on the web, where it might actually be seen and used“ (2000, p. 241).

Lisa Ede and Andrea Lunsford (1990) note that the solitary writer image permeates “the theory and practice of teaching writing“ (6). Composition has traditionally privileged dialectic and Platonic perspectives on invention in writing (LeFevre, 1987, pp. 49-50). The scholarship often depicts the writer, working alone, drawing on deeply divined personal truths or engaging in inner dialogue as the means of creating knowledge. While composition theory and practice now recognizes the importance of collaboration and social interaction more than it did twenty or even ten years ago, we still suspect that our field’s expressivist heritage may lead many writing teachers to put the private unnecessarily in front of the public, partially because writing teachers are themselves more comfortable with the private. As a consequence, many writing assignments include opportunities for deep, personal reflective writing that is not possible within the public eye. But what is the tradeoff for that kind of writing opportunity for students? Isn’t it possible that the paradoxical situation of creating a risk-free space in which to enable risk-taking has led compositionists to forget a primary purpose of privacy, which is to provide a comfortable writing space, comfort which can also come from community?

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