Literacy and the Blogging Landscape

As a community college librarian, I’ve often experienced that it’s just go, go, go from day one of the semester. We do what we know because it’s easy and less time intensive.  Finding space for experimentation doesn’t always appear. Then, every once a while, something comes along where we can stop and consider the possibility. I’m at one of those moments thanks to a colleague at Santa Barbara City College.

Consider the possibility of framing critical thinking and 21st century literacy within the framework of blogging. It’s not really a new idea, nor a very innovative idea, but today I was afforded the opportunity to see what it might be like. I was invited to an English class, one level below college English, that has been using blogging this semester to share their writing. The professor asked me to come to the class and use blogs to open a discussion on critical thinking. There wasn’t really a “research” component to the visit, just more of a discussion. I was invited because we were recently talking about blogging and I had shared some recent research on the topic (see Beyond Peer Reviewed Articles)

The class was fun. It was interactive. It was informative. It was relaxed. It was engaging. And I’d love to do it again.

I’ve taught social media independently of my librarian role, and have definitely included elements from the social media landscape within the framework of my traditional library instruction sessions. This English class felt different. This felt richer. This felt more appropriate to student learning. We can all see the content landscape shifting and students need these skills to understand, think, and navigate effectively. Faculty need to embrace it.

This was my first time with this format, and I only prepared a most basic framework (links) for the discussion. I’d like to do this again with other classes. So much valuable content is provided using blogging foundations – even from traditional media sources. How can students capitalize on this content? How can faculty learn to embrace this content as appropriate for learning?