On Why Students Should Blog, by Lanette Cadle

In the most recent issue of Kairos: A Journal of Rhetoric, Technology, and Pedagogy, Missouri State University English professor Lanette Cadle has published an article titled  “Why I Still Blog.” In the article she also makes the argument as to why she believes in asking her students to blog:

The most powerful reason for student blogs is the real-world shift from composing solely as word processing to composing as a digital composition, one that still has argument as its center. Stephanie Vie (2008) argued that “compositionists should focus on incorporating into their pedagogy technologies that students are familiar with but do not think critically about: online social networking sites, podcasts, audio mash-ups, blogs, and wikis” (p. 9). J. Elizabeth Clark (2010) asserted that Kathleen Blake Yancey’s (2009) call for 21st literacies cannot be ignored and details how student blogs fit into what she calls “The Digital Imperative.” In this vision for the composition classroom, the blog format itself is studied as a rhetorical construct; links are used to lend source support, and most of all, students gain experience in argumentation the way it is happening now—in “an online arena” (p. 34). Clark added that student blog entries then become high stakes writing, writing that has real consequences:

The instant publishing feature of blogs, however, makes blogs one of the highest stakes (although graded as low stakes) forms of writing that my students do; in a single click, they become authors with the responsibility for what they have written. They are also aware of the possibilities for revising if someone in the class challenges the reliability of something they have written. In this way, blogs may be seen as a popular form of Bakhtin’s “cultural software” that gives meaning to the act of writing and help students to develop new habits of thought about writing and its role in their lives. (p. 34)

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