Well, things changed.
I think that my book will now be about academic blogging, the topic of the research paper I will be presenting at the National Conference of Undergraduate Research in March. And it's time for some major work, because I need to have the paper ready for submission/publication on February 20th. I've got two weeks, right?
I've been discussing my ideas for this presentation with a couple different people. I think it would be incredibly cool to have an e-book version of my paper available online for people to look at as I'm presenting, or at least have a URL to point them to where they could access it. I also want to stream my presentation LIVE. Not only will this be great for expanding my audience, but it will also be so comforting to know that there are sympathetic people watching when I start attacking the sacred cow of the academic paper. I've also toyed with the idea of doing an infographic presentation of some kind. There are so many crazy exciting possibilities that are so far outside the box of death by powerpoint.
I want this to be a killer presentation--the kind that Dr. Gideon Burton describes in his post. I want to show people my passion and leave them thinking seriously about some of the things I have said. I want to generate more conversation about this even after the conference is over. I want to show people why this matters in the larger context (because it does) and why they should care (because they should). Not an easy task, to be sure, but a worthwhile one.
Thus, here are my title and abstract. Watch for sections of the paper to come as I revise, expand, and prepare it for the conference. I'm really excited about all this. (Hmm...I seem to be saying that rather often lately, don't I?) I think I can pull it off--at least, I really hope I can pull it off. I had a really good conversation with Gabe Meyr the other day about how when we break from old models to try something new there is opportunity for both dizzying success and monumental failure. So here I go--I'm taking the plunge, and come what may.
Title: Blogging in Undergraduate Courses: A Potentially Powerful Tool for Self-Directed Learning
Since many students now come to college already familiar with new media, educators have become interested in the potential benefits of implementing media such as blogs (weblogs) in academic contexts. Particularly intriguing is the potential of blogs to help students take more control of their own learning and connect their knowledge with that of other people, a process referred to as “self-directed learning.” This paper draws on studies of instructors who have implemented blogging in college courses and on the author’s personal experience in academic blogging to explain benefits and concerns over blogging for students and instructors. Furthermore, it gives suggestions for implementing blogs in undergraduate courses in ways that promote self-directed learning. It is evident from studies that “blogging (like any new technology) is not a panacea and will not independently or autonomously increase student learning” (Ellison 116). Thus, results indicate that instructors must carefully guide students in the use of blogging in order for blogging to assist students to become better critical thinkers and self-directed learners. If implemented in a pedagogically sound way, blogging has the potential to empower students to become active participants in the global learning conversation.I posted a few topics on Google+ that I want to discuss in my paper. Right now it deals mostly with pros and cons found in studies published in academic journals. I would like to extend my research to look at articles and comments from instructors and students who are discussing this topic right now in more informal ways. Who are some of the big voices in this area? What other issues should I be addressing here? How can I make this most relevant to right now?
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