In my exploration of blogging for distance education research, I’ve found the process to be freeing and intellectually stimulating. Initial thoughts on blogging left me with hesitation… Do I really want the world to know what’s on Jon’s mind today? At first it felt almost superficial, not that I wasn’t trying to be. But in my quest to post something worthwhile or witty to say I’d find myself thinking and re-thinking the words of my blog post. It didn’t seem natural. And in retrospect, I guess you could say it’s not meant to be. Who really wants to visit a blog that is random and nonsensical? Now a blog that’s intellectually stimulating and perhaps amusing? My kind of blog.
I suppose the important thing here is that I get across the message I’m trying to, clearly, sincerely, and with a simple and easy-to-understand explanation. But its hard to express oneself clearly and with sincerity without choosing the right words carefully. It’s challenging to manage a blog on distance education without really getting into the heart of what DE is all about — learning about what it takes to successfully learn at a distance, the challenges of DE, the advantages and freedom of DE, and about the future of DE.
In my journey of blogging on the topic of DE, I’ve learned there are many arguments surrounding DE given that we’re in the midst of a cultural shift with DE tools and technologies breaking new ground each day. Instructors, institutions and students are increasingly turning to DE solutions to solve the challenges of traditional brick-and-mortar institutions. Traditional pedagogies are being challenged daily by the rise of new software capabilities such as instant chat, wikis, and Twitter, the likes of which are being readily used by the majority of today’s students. As DE continues to shift with the tides of change, blogging I believe will play a much more crucial role in the learner-focused knowledge-base society that encourages a learner-teaching-learner and learner-teaching-instructor role. Instructors will continue to serve as the guides that help students to navigate the complex knowledge and wisdom readily available online. But I believe the future holds that the students — to include instructors — will serve as the primary catalyst for new paths of knowledge and wisdom, and blogging is just one tool to enable it.