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Academics Give Lessons on Blogs

Saturday, January 1, 2005

Abstract

On a number of campuses in the United Kingdom, blogs have begun to migrate from the technology fringes to the mainstream of educational tools. At the University of Warwick, more than 2,500 students and staff have signed up for the university's blog service, making it one of the largest academic blogging operations. John Dale, head of IT services at Warwick, said, "We believe that blogging may open new opportunities for students and staff." Robert O'Toole, a Ph.D. student at Warwick, said his blog has allowed him "to speak to academic communities across the U.K. and [to gain] knowledge from strangers. Blog[ging] has allowed me to write in a single place almost daily and develop things in fairly cohesive fashion." Esther Maccallum-Stewart, a history researcher at Sussex University, uses a blog in her research and her teaching. She said her blog has become an invaluable part of her work and argued that academic institutions need to avoid becoming "too insular, constructing their own language and cliques which do nothing to promote the getting of knowledge." On the other hand, David Supple, Web strategy manager at Birmingham University, cautions universities not to rush into new technologies. He advises considering how best to implement tools such as blogs "without creating legal and reputational issues for the institution."

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