I have discovered I was reminded of how important “blogging for me” is to my own ability to engage in the work I do in school.
We kept a blog in 709, and the entire curriculum was largely cumulative in the sense that our final projects rely heavily on the engagement we did with the texts earlier in the class. The blog was the place where we informally engaged, wrote about what we thought, answered questions and prompts our teacher provided in an attempt to guide our engagement more, etc.
While working on my final project, I went back and re-read all my blog entries as a way to review the scholarship we covered. And two things kind of dawned on me… First, the obvious: this was why our teacher asked us to do these blogs (so we could mine them for ideas and stuff for our final project) and Second, the personal bit: this is exactly the sort of activity that I think I should engage in for ALL of my classes in grad school, and I should do it in a way that’s organized by class. (There was also a third tangential “ah ha!” moment where I realized that I would LOVE to do this kind of activity in classes I will teach, and how I kind of wanted to get my teacher’s autograph because of the rock-star way he executed this particular activity in our class.)
It made me realize that I would very much like to keep a blog or some other fuzzy public/private website where I can record the stuff I’m thinking about when I’m learning new stuff, or doing projects, or just studying, etc…I’d like to make this part of my own studying process, and not just because it is part of a class assignment. I got a LOT out of the blog I did for class, and it would be stupid of me to ignore that and never do this sort of thing again.
Worth noting that what I’m imagining is not the same as what I already do when I blog about my school work on pennyhero.net. I have no intention of quitting or moving my “I’m allowing myself to be distracted from my readings and blog about how I’m geeking the fuck out about audience or tech writing or something” sort of stuff here. That will continue. I usually write that stuff because I think it’s worth sharing and not just because it’s helpful to me.
The academic sandbox blog I’m imagining will be a place where I can blog about the boring shit that’s not about sharing anything with anyone else. Like, chapter summaries. And basic annotations, etc. Or just a “to-do list” that I cross off and then write a few sentences about why I didn’t quite do everything I wanted to do… I also need the blog to be a safe place to confess that I slacked off and played WoW all day… A safe place to screw up and reflect on how to not screw up next time, etc.
But, it still needs to be online and in that fuzzy public/private space because of what articulating things “out loud” to a mostly imaginary audience does to help me figure stuff out. I don’t get the same benefit from writing in a private journal. Just doesn’t happen.
So… where do I put this content? Where do I keep this blog? Do I attach my actual name to it? Do I keep it totally (pseudo) anonymous?
I am not sure. I am pretty sure pennyhero.net is the wrong place to put this content… because it’s probably going to be boring, and it’s not FOR you, my dear readers (yeah, all three of you!). It’s also going to lack any kind of context, and won’t tell interesting stories. It will mostly just be for me. Like notes in a notebook. But at the same time, the little kid inside me who loved seeing her work on mom’s fridge (which showed she looked at it and cared) also is perfectly OKAY with people reading about what I’m learning… so I guess I should/could/will LINK to my purely academic-blogging-sandbox place from pennyhero.net. No reason not to link to it right?
Okay, well… do I enable comments? My gut says no… disable comments on the academic sandbox blog, but that doesn’t preclude me from sometimes doing a reflective weekly round-up of what I did over here on pennyhero.net, especially if I have some interesting story to tell. That could be fun.
Okay. So, I guess I’m pretty well decided. Mostly. Kinda. Now the question really is, WHERE do I create these blogs? I could try to figure out how to make separate blogs here in another section of pennyhero.net. That way I can do this all in one place. Or, I could put it all in Blogger, which is where my Eng 709 blog (the one I did for that class, which got me thinking about this in the first place) lives now. I will have to put some thought into this. I’ve got until late January to decide though…
Come mid-January, someone ping me and ask me if I’ve done this yet, because this is important to me, and I don’t want to neglect/forget/fail to set this up before next semester.