Wednesday, September 24, 2008

to blog or not to blog...

That's the question posed in a post by Mark Glaser on MediaShift, his PBS-sponsored blog that tracks the ways in which the digital media revolution is changing our world.

His post digs into the story of one NYU journalism student who, after blogging about one of her journalism classes, was apparently called to the woodshed by her professor and told not to blog, not to twitter and not to write about the class again. The professor found the student's blog to be an invasion of privacy of the other students in the class.

But then, isn't forbidding students to blog about a class a restriction of free speech?

Interesting post, interesting comments, all multi-layered. On a deeper level, the post illustrates one of the many ways in which evolving technologies are changing the rules and forcing us to reconsider what we thought we knew. (Think l'affaire Mayhill Fowler.)

So join the conversation: So much more fun than learning AP Style. Not that there's anything wrong with that. bk


Natalie C. said...

Similar scenario... there is a woman in my program who started a blog that she called "Surviving Stanford" at the beginning of the program (in June). From reading her blog (which someone else in our program spotted when they saw her updating a post during class one day!), I found out that she "applied to Stanford on a whim" and when she got in, she decided to go only because it was Stanford and not because she agrees with (in fact, she vehemently disagrees with) the pedagogy and ideology that the program teaches its students. She updated the blog all throughout the summer until one day the director of the program got word of the blog. Apparently, once they found out about the blog and saw that she was making posts about her blatant disapproval of the materials that were being taught, posting all of her papers for the world to read, and commenting about other students in the program as well as the teachers and professors of the courses we were taking (although she did use code names), they forced her to take the blog down.

So my questions are: did they force her to take the blog down because it was a violation of privacy for Stanford, its students, and its teachers? Or did they force her to take down the blog because she does not agree with Stanford's teaching pedagogy and makes that clear in her posts? Does she have a right to express her opinion about the program (that she is paying tons of money to attend, by the way) on a public website? I also wonder why she started the blog. To show that she is right and Stanford is wrong? To expose the flaws of a program that is supposedly one of the better programs in the area (with one of the flaws apparently being the fact that they accepted her into the program and then very openly regretted their decision once they met her in person and had a conversation with her)? I guess we'll never know.

p.s. I'm sorry my comments are always so long. Overwriting is a disease I am trying to overcome.

barbara kelley said...

natalie, natalie, natalie.
not a disease. a gift. bk

Bubba Hurley said...

I can see both sides, I guess. What happens if all meaningful debate is stifled in a class because everyone is worried that what they say will end up on a blog and possibly be taken out of context or misconstrued? And I'm talking about the students, not just the prof.

At the same time, people have a right to talk and write and blog about their experiences, right? I mean no one signs a confidentiality agreement when they walk into a classroom.

Oh damn, I shouldn't have mentioned that...I've just given schools a good idea of how to stop students from blogging about classes.

Of course, can you think of anything more boring than a blog complaining about how boring a class is?

geewhy said...

I think Glaser could have done a better job differentiating between "live-blogging" and blogging after class.

As a practical matter, telling students they can't blog, text or make cell phone calls during class seems totally reasonable and akin to asking students not to giggle or put their feet on the desk. It's common courtesy and the class wouldn't really function too well if everyone was blogging, right?

Now saying students can't blog outside of class is a whole different story.