A quick internet search has shown that people have been writing about reasons for blogging, and characteristics of bloggers for the past 5 years. Stephen wrote an article about it in 2004 and more recently there have been blog posts exploring the characteristics of successful bloggers. So why would anyone want to research this now, when a lot has already been said? Is there anything new to add?
I think the CCK08 course suggests that there maybe is something new to add, because the course offered participants the choice of whether to blog or not and a range of alternative possibilities. This is very unlike the way in which many blogs are introduced to students on more traditional courses, where this choice of communication possibilities is not on offer.
Matthias has commented on why blogging might be a disticintive form of communication:
I suspect it is a distinctive place on the orality vs. literacy spectrum, on the reader vs. participant spectrum, and (especially) on the synchronous vs. asynchronous spectrum.
…and I can see that these spectra might apply to the choice between blogging and an Elluminate session, or blogging and joining a Second Life group, but I find it much harder to apply these spectra to the choice between blogging and the Moodle discussion forums, which is a choice that I made myself on the CCK08 course.
At one point – or maybe even more than once – Stephen was really encouraging people to blog rather than hold their discussions in Moodle, partly because there were some rather aggressive conversations going on in the Moodle forums, but I also got the feeling that he felt that blog conversations would be more productive (I will have to go back through the forums and check what he said).
I would be really interested to explore the reasons behind people’s choices of where to communicate on the CCK08 course and in particular why some people blogged in preference to other forms of communication, although not necessarily to the exclusion of other modes of communication. I think this might be a new way of building on what has already been written about blogging and might offer insights into how communication for learning works online.