Friday, October 03, 2003

Censorship, Blogs and the Classroom

Kaye Trammell has an interesting post about blogs and censorship in the classroom.

She argues that there is always censorship in the classroom, but that blogs highlight this censorship. Here's a quote:

"Yet, with blogs instructors are forced to explain what is appropriate & what is not. Therefore, for the first time in decades, professors who use Internet-based discussion tools must emphasize the code of professionalism that has long been upheld in traditional classroom."

This is a provocative post, to be sure. I take issue with it for a few reasons, though: I don't think that enforcement of norms or standards within the classroom constitutes censorship: understanding the conventions of academic, professional, and public discourse is an important part of education. Secondly, these issues are not new, and I think "for the first time in decades" is a bit of a stretch: a decade ago, computer-mediated communication was an entirely different, and less pervasive, beast than today. Learning the conventions and standards of accetability for e-mail, chat, web pages (personal, academic, professional), and so on was, and to some extent still is, a challenging and ongoing project. The code of professionalism was strained by these other communications tools, and blogs are straining it again. Certainly the blog brings up questions of public vs. private, professional vs. personal, etc. but I'm just not convinced that censorship is at the center of this discussion.

- posted by laurie @ 10/03/2003 01:29:00 PM
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