Yeah, I’m pretty much cribbing Ralph Luker’s title, but just wanted to mention that I had lunch with a fellow blogger over Spring Break. It’s always fun to meet fellow bloggers, and I was especially interested in talking with Ralph because he’s working on an article about blogging for the American Historical Association’s Perspectives.
As Ralph mentions, we first ran into each other in blogworld almost two years ago (at least in academic time), when I first started using blogs in a freshman composition classroom in Fall 2003, and back then, Ralph didn’t think it was a good idea (scroll down for the original entry). In fact, as he so eloquently puts it, he thought it was “a form of madness.” I’m not sure he’s wrong about the “madness” part, but I have found that blogging supplements many of my composition classes rather nicely.
At any rate, I just wanted to respond to Ralph’s question about plagiarism, mostly because we didn’t really talk about that particular topic all that much at lunch. I think he’s right that writing online can encourage plagiarism, but that will happen with any online form of writing, whether WebCT or any other format, and because the grades for blogging are a relatively small percentage of my grade, there’s really no incentive to plagiarize. In fact, from what I hear (and I’ve rarely had this happen), students are far more likely to copy text from the Web into their major papers than into journal entries.
Ralph also comments on blogging’s immediacy and the degree to which it might work against the process of revision. That’s probably fair, and in my specific case, I do have other assignments that require multiple drafts, but in some of my classes, the “immediacy” of blogging has been the object of study, to discuss with my students what kinds of writing that encourages and discourages, as well as what “rules” develop in specific blogging communities (there are, of course, vast numbers of communities even if a few A-listers get most of the press).
At any rate, this is a long way of saying that I very much enjoyed meeting Ralph who lives basically within walking distance of my apartment, and I’m very much looking forward to reading the artcile when he completes it. And I’m very much lamenting the fact that my Spring Break is basically over, although I am very pleased with how productive I’ve been–getting lots of writing done even if very little of it is showing up here.