It's Diablogical!
A Collaborative Diablog on Feminist Pedagogy
Another note on accessibility

So, I was listening to the radio today and there was this commercial that was like “your all access pass to…” and I thought about how we haven’t addressed access in this way either. Well, maybe we have a little bit in the sense that we’ve thought about how in expanding the idea of access is not just changing things (blogging) that might be difficult to be easy instead. So, “access” to us could be challenging this idea of “all access pass” because we’re not asking the process to be necessarily easy (without critical reflection). I think there could be some interesting connections between this and what we’ve been talking about in terms of vulnerability and intimacy. I just wanted to throw this idea out there as I start to craft our blurb on what we mean by accessibility and to see if you had any thoughts on it.

Great meeting today by the way! I’m really excited for our next week’s writing assignments!

2 Comments to “Another note on accessibility”

  1. SLP says:

    I like this idea of thinking about access against “all access pass.” We could/should have some great conversations about this idea in relation to vulnerability and intimacy. An “all access pass” approach to accessibility and blogging might suggest that we should have unfiltered and unlimited access to others (their ideas, their private lives, etc). One question I would be interested in exploring is: How can we help our students develop strategies for limiting this all access pass and for navigating between public/private and sharing/TMI. Hey, could sharing/TMI be another binary?

    Here’s another thought/set of questions: As teachers, when we put our stories/authentic selves out there, we invite students to see us and treat us as people with lives outside of the classroom. How can we share ideas/be vulnerable through our blogs without getting too personal and allowing them to have too much access to us? I see lots of directions to go with these questions–one way it has been discussed a lot recently is in terms of whether or not you friend students on facebook. Another way to approach it is to discuss how you manage your desire to care for and connect to students with your need to manage your time and remain inaccessible so you can have a life or do your work.

    Wow, this topic is making me think about a lot of different things! Just one more idea, I promise. To give students an all access pass to posting their ideas about an issue can be tricky. In your notes for 7.23 you discuss how the blog can be an emotional outlet space. How do we manage the potential volatility of that space? Here’s what I wrote about this issue on my blog last year:

    Blog posts can be done at any time of the day or night. This advantage enables students to process/express/share their thoughts about an issue or the reading immediately, and at 2 AM if they want, instead of having to wait until a more reasonable time (like during class or office hours). Tarrant writes:

    “As I see it, this is a true advantage of blogging with students: The hours after midnight are often ripe for deep thoughts but awful for calling professors or classmates to talk them over. How else but by blogging can students continue a classroom debate about compelling issues when the ideas feel so fresh and urgent and yet it is so late at night?”

    I do see a downside to this, however. The immediacy of the blog also enables students to post (potentially) heated entries that are highly charged with anger, confusion, or frustration and are written before students have processed (and thought through) the ideas that they are writing about. While emotion and passion can be good things for your writing, if they are expressed without any amount of reflection, they can produce entries that lack substance, are irresponsible, and don’t contribute to a critical engagement with the idea or reading. (And, as I suggest in an earlier entry on blog writing, they end up serving as brain dumps.) The trick, I think, is to find a way to balance the benefits of immediate access (to expressing ideas, to connecting with others) with the necessity of posting thoughtful, responsible and accountable entries.

    Okay, that’s enough for now.

  2. KCF says:

    I like the idea of sharing/TMI being another binary because it is about balancing between the two oftentimes depending on the blog post assignments we create. However, I would also argue that we ask them to do some serious sharing that some might critique as “over sharing” or TMI. This raises the question, who determines when something goes from sharing (appropriately) to too much information? As instructors are we also somewhat “responsible” if we’re willing to determine something as being TMI? I’m thinking about how this might be another reason why someone might be reluctant to use a blog in a course setting (I’m thinking here about those conversations we had on student privacy/FERPA etc.) So, not sure where these thoughts “take us” but I thought I’d put them out there.

    At the end of your reflection on the immediacy question you write: “The trick, I think, is to find a way to balance the benefits of immediate access (to expressing ideas, to connecting with others) with the necessity of posting thoughtful, responsible and accountable entries.” Do you have any assignments that you can think of that you see as being successful in this balancing act? That might be a great way to introduce an assignment in the section of our chapter where we’re going to post assignment examples.

    Lastly, on your point about giving our students an “all access pass” to us, I often feel like I am pulled in so many directions. I know that oftentimes faculty of color are particularly overworked because we tend to want to go above and beyond for our students of color (or otherwise marginalized students) in order to provide them with support and mentorship sometimes to our own demise. (I’m not a faculty member yet, but I have felt this pull in terms of the committee orgs I serve on in addition to how I do present myself as accessible for students such that I’m busy helping them with their writing and not necessarily working on my own – cue deja vu from last week!) I’m not complaining about this work because I obviously feel it to be valuable/necessary but I’m wondering if I could theorize (or if other women of color feminists have) about how blogging or being friends with students on facebook might help streamline some of the mentoring piece. Maybe we should ask RR about this because I know she is friends with a lot of her former students on facebook and is often communicating/supporting them through that venue even as she now resides in Alabama and no longer here at the UofM. I know that as a part of an official mentorship program a couple of years ago I have kept up with my mentee in this way even though we don’t see each other in person much. Ok, major tangent, but I definitely want to keep thinking through this.