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October 07, 2008  |  Blog Class, Part 1  |  3917 hit(s)

In a couple of weeks I'm going to teach a one-day class on blogging at Bellevue Community College. When I mention this to people, I tend to see eyebrows go up followed by some variation on "People need to learn ... blogging?"

In fact, the class is "Blogging in a Professional Context." This isn't a class about expressing your innermost feelings and posting pictures of your cats. The idea is that we'll discuss the ways and means of how blogging expands on the types of communication already used in corporations and by professionals. (Perhaps it clarifies to note that the class is being offered through the technical writing program at BCC.)

The idea was not originally mine. One of the people who has taught in the program at BCC for some time approached the program coordinator about the idea, which piqued the coordinator's interest. However, the teacher became unavailable to flesh out the concept. At the time, I was observing editing classes, and one of the students happened to mention to me that a class in blogging was being considered. I went up and discussed it with the coordinator, wrote up a class proposal, and here we are.

This will be an experiment. In this, its first manifestation, it will be a one-day (6-hour) class. If the experiment looks successful, it's possible that it can be expanded out to the usual 5-week (1 day/week) classes that are the norm for the program.

I've been working a lot at nailing down a concrete syllabus. A factor that adds an interesting twist is that we just don't know who will sign up for the class, or what the students will hope to get from the class. The program coordinator noted that the class has no recommended prerequisite. (Even if it did, the college doesn't enforce it--in general, as I understand it, class registrations are open.) So virtually anyone could walk into the classroom. We tried to emphasize in the class description that this was about professional writing, and the class is, after all, part of the professional writing program. Nonetheless, it's not impossible that someone might show up who is primarily interested in blogging about feelings and kitty cats. Not that there's anything wrong with that.

My other concern is that the class will consist of long-time bloggers who will be looking for ... something, I'm not sure what. People who, in any event, will not need any schooling in some of the blogging basics that I've been intending to include.

I said earlier that in the class we'll discuss blogging. The thing about the rules for blogging is that there aren't really any rules for blogging. There are ideas and suggestions and recommendations, and there are lots of opinions. The class will certainly include a good share of my opinions about blogging (and some that I'm borrowing from others), but I also intend for the class to be in part a forum among the students for discussing the ideas that I'll bring to the class. I suspect that students will already have some of their own opinions, based on either blogging already or on having read blogs. If so, it could be quite lively indeed.

Next time: the syllabus.