I have never tried to hide the fact of my technological ineptitude, not here or not on my currently incomplete, half-assed webpage. It was during my tenure at the University of Florida where I was lucky enough to teach in the now-sadly-decaying Networked Writing Environment where I became interested and compelled to learn how and why to integrate technology into my teaching. I experimented with the MOO environment and attempted to learn how to integrate my own web page and student web pages into the curriculum. My eagerness certainly outran my abilities. I embraced the possibilities head-on, but in the midst of my dissertation work (which in hindsight I realize I should have shifted into a rhet-comp project, judging from my current interests and the fact that it seems odd to have an “American Lit” degree when I’m not sure “Literature” exists, only rhetoric) and my job hunt, I never really learned the technology to properly support my ideas.
At the time, I never ventured into blogging as a teaching tool, however. The world of blogging has really opened up recently for me. I have used it as a tool in several classes, most effectively in my intro composition course, “Knowledge, Culture, and the Liberal Arts.” Here, too, I have “seen the light” and am incorporating blogs into my courses fairly frequently now. My primary interest in using the blog is as a way to help students see writing as an act of community. Writing is too often presented as an act within a vacuum rather than a form of community dialogue. The blog really opens this up for students. It is also a very easy method to do the logistical work that I had learned to do through my web page.
One of the great things about a web page initially was that with very few skills I could have a central page where everything could be posted, assignment updates, readings, etc. Now I use moodle to update any assignments, and I post any other changes onto the blog and tell students they need to check the blog for my postings and each others’ every day. It works like a charm.
The question now is what purpose I want my web page to serve. One of my goals for August was to spend a little time with my webpage, update it, learn how to make it look a little more spiffy etc. But I also find myself asking why. I am no longer sure what role it plays in my personal or my teaching life. It’s as if I outgrew my webpage before I even learned how to really make an effective one. I’d like to still work on it, but given the limited projects I can really invest in, do I have the time to really make working on it worthwhile? It has lost priority and now sits out there in limbo. So, what I really need to do this August is spend some time re-evaluating what tools I most want to use and why and how and consider where to put my meager efforts. I feel sad, though, thinking of my poor little website adrift without a purpose. Maybe it’s really just an advertising medium now to sell my book. My webpage goes commerical.