Explorations in Academic Blogging: D’Arcy Norman
Academic blogging is quickly emerging as a separate genre. In the first of my series of blog posts, I explored Dr. Terry Anderson’s academic blogging style, and analyzed his blog post on Rethinking Disclosure and Surveillance .
I then explored Dr. Tony Bates’ academic blogging style, and though there were several similarities, there were quite a few differences, as well.
In this third post, I analyze D’Arcy Norman’s less formal blogging style for clues on using the blog for idea-capture. Though his style differs in many respects from the other two, more formal, bloggers, the informal writing style represents a recommended blogging method for working through ideas and engaging in meaning-making.
My purpose for careful analysis of the writing styles of Canadian academic bloggers is to make explicit some current blogging practices. By identifying exemplars with the Canadian academic blogging community, a clear set of blogging standards can be identified for use by student bloggers and their instructors within emergent practice networks hosted by formal institutions.
D’Arcy Norman created a post titled On note-taking while attending the CeLC2010 conference a few weeks back in Edmonton, Alberta.
D’Arcy uses a number of embedded links within sentences to refer to the CeLC 2010 conference and to the specific session he is commenting on.
D’Arcy uses italics to emphasize his main ideas that he wants to make sure sticks out from the rest of the text. The use of the italicized text is one significant departure from the formal style of Anderson and Bates.
Another writing technique he uses in his blogging that marks a departure from the formal style of blogging is that he uses the dash – to shift his voice from the formal to informal tone, and add more details about his thoughts to the audience.
The ideas are presented as a stream of consciousness, as an extension of what he is saying to himself. It demonstrates a more informal style that is capturing the moment, and he makes use of visuals such as photos. In the case of this blog post, he has scanned a copy of a page from his notebook he used to jot down ideas while attending the conference sessions.
D’Arcy Norman also made use of the brackets to elaborate in more details on things, and switched repeatedly between different voices, and between different audiences. He writes as much for himself, as for others, and slips back and forth between both the formal and informal styles.
In addition to the use of italics to emphasize a point, he uses the bold text for not to selectively identify a specific view he does not hold. D’Arcy had also used the ALL CAPITALS to indicate a difference of degree, in this case, “MUCH higher quality”.
The sentences that D’Arcy uses are MUCH closer resembling the flow of speech. This kind of idea-capture process is a key component of academic blogging; however, it is not typically used for formal presentation to a audience. Instead, it is a personal “working-through” of one’s own thoughts and impressions, capturing the subjective learning into a written narrative, consisting of notes, experiences, conversations, and intuitions.