Some quick observations after reading through the commentary and blogscript of Dave Winer’s Web log meeting at Harvard on Tuesday. Some of the news is good…Derek Slater of Harvard responded to an e-mail that Sarah shot off to Dave (which he subsequently forwarded to his inner circle…go Sarah!) And he obviously has been checking out our sites as he responds to Seb‘s “how hard can it be to search Google for weblog, education” etc. thought by saying “That’s a fine criticism. But, relax, we’re getting there, we’re not ignoring you – we’ve only just begun.” [Emphasis mine]
The good news here is that at least we’re on the radar screen…as further evidenced by this exchange from Donna Wentworth’s blogscript [Again, emphasis mine]:
Dave Winer: Yes, weblogs will change this place. I think weblogs will change education. It will change each of the disciplines. I’ve gotten questions from the Divinity school, even. Did telephones change Harvard? Yeah. Did TV change Harvard? Yeah–probably. Did the Internet? Yes, of course.
Derek, you can speak to this, I know.
Derek Slater: I want to say you’re right to be wary. It is elitist here. And a lot of the professors probably won’t have any part of blogging. But you’d be surprised by how many professors are using their websites for classes. Many of them, especially the younger professors, are adopting web tools. The Berkman Center has the H2O project. John Palfrey uses these tools in his classes. The younger professors are right there.
Dave Winer: But tell me, Derek, in your opinion–how would a blog work in a class? [!!!!!]
Derek: A classic is the response paper: one student writes a paper, others respond. It seems to me that the blog is a natural expansion of this tradition. And I think it will enhance a sense of communal learning in the classroom.
Dave Winer: Sounds hokey. [Big laugh.]
Derek: Sure, it sounds hokey, but here’s what I mean. I think it’s human nature to want to post cool stuff on the Web and to share it. Why shouldn’t classmates be doing this? Why wouldn’t that lead to a sense of connection?
John Udell: Some are talking about online “portfolios” to “sell” students after graduation. Essentially, a powerful marketing tool.
Adam Medros, Harvard Business School student: Over at the Business School, we use the case studies, the Socratic method. I’d love to use blogs as a way to document the way we learn from case studies. We’d like to be able to build on prior work.
Joseph Reagle, MIT researcher, former Berkman Fellow: Going back to the issue of whether to be worried about personal exposure as a student, you’d be surprised at what can happen. I wrote an academic piece that included references to Blade Runner; it’s been translated into different languages. When you put things on the Web, you can be pleasantly surprised about what can happen.
Some interesting, basic concepts being bandied about by the higher ups…but isn’t it funny how we’ve all been saying these things for over a year???? Maybe WE should invite THEM to eBNvention???