Tuesday, November 26, 2002

Yesterday in my Technical Communication as Cultural Practice class, we had to present our paper topics. Unfortunately, I still at the time had five ideas for papers, which I presented, and the professor decided on the one that would work best. Here are my ideas; hopefully, I'll be able to write all these papers during my time here:

  1. The one that won the contest was a look at the assumptions that academia has about publishing and why online journals and blogs are still not considered impressive publications on a curriculum vitae. I'm going to use as my examples the journal Kairos and the blog Kairosnews. I will ask cultural studies methodology kinds of questions, like these: Why is the situation the way it is? Who benefits from the system that is currently in place? etc.
  2. The second one is about the use of blogs in pedagogy. For this one, I would discuss the use of a public class community blog instead of password-protected course management systems like WebCT and Blackboard, and also having each student keep his or her own blog for a research/freewriting/reading response tool. For the students, what are the effects of using blogs? I might look at this in an outcome-oriented way; in other words, I might approach this as both a teacher and a writing program administrator (which I'm not, of course. I'd be pretending.).
  3. Gender in the blogging community--is the blogging community sexist? There's a discussion about it at Blogroots. And, uh, there is this telling little blurb too. I am doing my final research proposal in my Research Methods class on this topic. I plan on sending out a survey to women who blog. Don't know exactly how I am going to phrase my questions just yet, but more on this soon.
  4. Blogging and journalism: Is it true that journalists have gotten fired for expressing certain opinions on their blogs? Blogging has often been called peer-to-peer journalism. What are the intellectual property implications? JD has written quite a bit about blogging's connection to journalism. Are blogs reducing the traffic on news sites? If a friend of mine has a blog on, say, women's health issues, and sifts through a bunch of newspapers every day and filters out the women's health stories, I might just go to her blog rather than the New York Times online, etc. Obviously, this topic is only half-baked; actually, that's more than one paper too.
  5. Why do people post such personal information online? Why do so many people read the disclosures of strangers? Some have said that blog-reading is voyeuristic. I find this interesting and might write about it, possibly juxtaposing this idea with the Panopticon. Torill Mortensen and Jill Walker have argued (see jill/txt) on my blogroll for the article) that a blog occupies this space between public and private. They put it in a Habermas-ian framework.

Those are my ideas for now; more as they develop!