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Jackie

1.  What do you get out of reading a blog?

I read blogs mainly to peek into the lives and opinions of other mothers (like me) who share some of the same concerns and issues that I do: negotiating feminism in our daily lives, how to keep sane in the midst of chaos, the urban vs. suburban question, the limit on how much macaroni and cheese is good for one person to ingest, how women's issues are reflected in political discussions.... you know, easy stuff like that :).

2.  What do you gain from writing in a blog, either your own or commenting in another's?

I like the sense of being in a far-flung national conversation that also serves to bring people closer together, whether across geographic or ideological boundaries.

cindy

1. From reading blogs, I get the sense I am not alone, that what I'm experiencing doesn't mean I'm the crazy one. I get to laugh, stand in awe, get angry, sometimes even cry. I become informed.


2. Writing a blog and commenting on others, I feel a sense of community that I haven't found in my real working life (I am an academic, and I read mostly academic or post-academic blogs). I see others dealing with the same struggles and joys that I do, and I get the opportunity to exchange ideas and solicit support without the political baggage that seems to always accompany interactions within my department. I also get to "bitch and moan" when I need to. I've made friends and get to stay connected with people I already know who have found their way to blogging, too.

Nancy McKeand

1. I read blogs in order to learn. Some of what I learn is big, fate of the world stuff. Most of it, though, is on a somewhat smaller scale. Either way, reading blogs gives me knowledge and insight that I probably wouldn't get otherwise and defintely couldn't get more easily.

2. I blog because I like the sense of community that it creates. Because of my blog and my comments on the blogs of others, I am currently collaborating with a teacher from Colorado and recently worked with one from Mexico. I have shared ideas with teachers and others from around the world. In all my years as a teacher, I have never had this sense of belonging to an academic community before.

I also think that by sharing our ideas and our knowledge, however slight it may be, we can generate discussion. That discussion can open our eyes and our minds. We all benefit.

Blogging has given me a sense of my own ability to contribute. It has increased my self-esteem.

Katherine

1. I read blogs to stay informed, to learn what others are thinking and doing, and generally to gain the kinds knowledge and insight I don't find in other venues.

2. I blog because I like the sense of community blogging creates. I like sharing ideas; I like the give and take of intellectual exchange; I like hearing from folks who support my ideas, share my experiences, and offer useful advice. It's a kind of multi-locale public conversation.

sharon

1. I first began reading blogs recently because another person I know set himself a task to write in a blog every day. I was curious about how he would negotiate this not private at all space with a form I was more familiar with as private writing (journaling). I was surprised by the openness of his postings, and I began to scan other blogs and discovered that people tend to write fairly uncensored commentary.

Now, reading blogs is a way to connect with people who share my interests and to have a fairly casual conversation with people I feel I have come to know, at least a little.

2. I agree with others who have mentioned the sense of community that develops from commenting on blogs. I can get a quick response, generally from someone who has a view of an issue or a concern that brings me fresh perspective. What is not to love about that! Also, I like the blog format because I can comment "on the fly" or I can wait and see how a conversation develops. I don't have a sense that I have to post because there are only two people in the conversation. There are all sorts of people who will pop up with thoughts. That is such fun!

timna

1. What do I get out of reading a blog?

I read blogs for a long time before I felt ready to write. I listened to the community and linked to those who were speaking about academics and parenting. Lots of people talked about work in academics and I think that gave me a more balanced picture than my individual experience. I've had an online community for more than ten years - I was on a list of parents since 1994, so I'm used to the give and take of virtual friendship.

2. What do I gain from writing a blog?

I feel part of the community now rather than a spectator. I've been getting good feedback on my teaching and listening to others' ideas about how and what to teach. Daily blogging is much easier for me than letting it go for a few days. I find blogging sharpening my expression since I want to be clear to an audience.

The blogging community, at least in my part of the blogosphere, is supportive and creative and I really enjoy taking part in the conversation.

Kaitlin

Hello Joanna...thank you for your comment in my blog a while back, forgive me for my delay in making my way to yours. Now to answer your questions. I'm going to answer them together, because the answers are pretty similar:

Reading blogs allows me to start conversations with people I may not approach in "real life." I read the blogs of students in Ohio, Oxford and Barcelona, and I read the blogs of the close friends and colleagues I see nearly every day. Blogs are great conversation starters both online and off: I ran in to a colleague one day, and we started responding to each other's recent blog posts. I like that the conversations can be both online and off.

Blogs build a great sense of community. Recently, I've started to read academic blogs, and they help me to feel like I'm not alone out there in academia. By reading blogs and leaving comments, we all support each other and can enhance our bag of pedagogical tricks.

I write in a blog for several reasons. First, I like to keep a journal, but the process of writing is tedious. I type much faster than I write, so I feel like I accomplish more. Second, I like the instant gratification of the web design. HTML coding and FTP are tedious...blogging is instantaneous. But what is most important to me is that this instantaneous recording of my life allows me to build closer relationships to others, bridging distances and strengthening our face-to-face relationships.

I am thinking about encouraging my students to blog. I think they will get more out of it than a traditional type-it-up-and-hand-it-in assignment. With the fast pace of today's technology, I think this is the tool of the future for enhancing student learning.

Cheers!
Kaitlin

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