It's Diablogical!
A Collaborative Diablog on Feminist Pedagogy
Meeting Notes for July 23

The theme for this week’s discussion was training. Without our new love, Snowball, we lacked the motivation to actually record our conversation. It’s too bad (imho) because we had some great things to say. Oh well. Here are the highlights (at least, the ideas that I can decipher from my very messy notes).

1. Blog training is not just for students; teachers also need to be trained (and to be willing to do the training). For teachers, training means more than learning the basics; it means learning the specific ways that blogs functions in order to craft assignments that most effectively take advantage of the medium. You can’t just take a writing assignment (or question) that you’ve been using for years, post it on the blog, and then claim you are using blogs to teach.

2. Using blogs in our classrooms and in our own writing/researching, enables us to create spaces that value different epistemic perspectives and encourage a wider range of ways for producing knowledge. We talked a lot about digital storytelling and thinking through/in images. We talked about KCF’s amazing digital story and this intense and inspiring digital story:

Using images and encouraging engaging through images (maybe in conjunction with words and/or voice-overs, like in digital storytelling) provides students and instructors with some others way to express themselves and can speak to their experiences more effectively than traditional methods (lecture, reading dry academic articles).

4. Training involves a wide range of activities, including training students how to:

  • do blog basics (posting entries, links, comments, etc)
  • think differently about how to engage, how knowledge is and/or could be produced
  • think critically about what they are reading, producing and sharing with others
  • use links and tags subversively (links: carefully choosing links that direct your readers to feminist voices and perspectives that aren’t often read on topics; tags: deliberately using tags that drive traffic to your site, potentially introducing readers who don’t know what feminism is about
  • be confident and excited about experimenting on blogs
  • break bad habits: limited ways of knowing/teaching

4. One key purpose of this blog and our book chapter: “It’s an invitation to engage not a how-to manual”

5. Accessibility is not just making things easier for students. Blogging demands hard work and a lot of effort out of students and teachers. But, the hard work can be worth the effort and allows for a different sort of accessibility–accessibility to critical thinking and serious engagement with each others’ ideas. KCF: I remember us saying some great stuff about accessibility as hard instead of easy. I’m not sure I’ve quite captured that discussion. Anything you want to add?

6. A brief list of binaries to bust:

  • reason/emotion
  • public/private
  • easy/hard or hard/easy
  • teacher/student
  • offline/online

Finally, we had a wonderful musical interlude about midway through our discussion; we got our focus fix:

2 Comments to “Meeting Notes for July 23”

  1. KCF says:

    Ugggg. I just left this page and then closed the window and I lost my extremely long comment. Oh the dangers of writing while blogging.

    I think it’s rather hilarious that when you scroll down to the bottom of this entry we see Focus, although I totally think STA deserves a Hall of Prog shout out for helping us track down this yodeling masterpiece!

    Anyways, moving back to a discussion of some of the points above. For #2 – thanks for the shout out on my digital story! I had an epiphany this week where I realized that in sharing my digital story with my class I was able to be closer to my students (I do think when some of my more resistant students saw my digital story they were able to understand where I was coming from in a way that they hadn’t previously imagined). Their writing teach pointed out to me just yesterday that he was glad that some of the “guys” were able to ask me for help and that it seemed like we had developed some type of relationship (that was seriously missing before). To me, this is the power of being vulnerable for/with your students. I think we had a great conversation about this in connecting visibility to blogging and I just wanted to throw this in there.

    for point #5 I do think part of the discussion is missing because we began discussing how we shouldn’t just shoot for interactions with technology to be “easy” because when things are easy there isn’t the necessary critical distance to really push us to engage in more complicated ways (I think you brought up Butler here maybe?) We talked about that in terms of how we then need to reframe this idea that accessibility=easy and part of our project is really redefining or making a new definition for accessibility so that it isn’t just hard or easy but something that truly reflects the type of “hard” work we do as feminist scholars invested in the tools of critical thinking in our writing and teaching. So, hence the necessary troubling of the hard/easy or easy/hard binary.

    Lastly I just wanted to say that RR took a look at our blog and she said that she loves it! She hasn’t had a chance to comment yet, but she said she’s really impressed with all of our hard work! Thanks for posting our notes friend!

  2. SLP says:

    Thanks for adding to #5! Really helpful. I knew I was missing some key points.

    That’s great that RR likes our blog!