Somewhat related to the whole ConvergeSouth experience. I've been pitching a blogging course to my school for a while now (not NCSU, but a community college where I teach). It's been slow and disheartening so far. Nobody knows what blogging is. Also, there is a rule that one needs to have an appropriate degree for a class. In the case of a blogging class, this would mean, or so they said, either journalism school or computer science.
Last night we had a faculty retreat and the main campus bigwigs showed up on our little satellite campus. The new Dean was there. He was talking, as a part of his top 5 things he wants to do, about completely re-doing the computer science curriculum, as well as pushing for more online and hybrid online/classroom) classes. I had only about 5-10 minutes, during a break, to corner him and to sell him these two points:
- Blogging class is important because it is the wave of the future and having such a course would prepare our students for the 21st century, as well as put the school on the map as a cutting-edge educational insitution. It would also be a hybrid class: first meeting in person to help students set up their own blogs, and the rest of the class online. I mentioned Colin McEnroe's blogging class up in Connecticut, as well as the position of North Carolina as the incubator of all new blogging ideas in the world, including the innovations by Greensboro News & Record that the whole world is watching.
- J-school graduates bring in the biases that make them most likely to misunderstand what blogging is all about, thus trying to teach a journalism class on computers instead of a blogging class. A computer scientist, likewise, would try to stick in too much technical stuff, and is likely to miss completely on the sociological, political and journalistic aspects of blogging. Thus, the proper background for teaching such a class is to be an experienced blogger, and I am one (using the fact that I was invited to ConvergeSouth - and I was, on purpose, wearing my ConvergeSouth T-shirt).
I talked fast. Ten minutes is not very much time (and I had to start with introducing myself and then chatting about Yugoslavia first). It worked. I am going to write up a proposal and it is likely to pass and I may start teaching it next year, perhaps as early as spring.