Explorations in Academic Blogging: Tony Bates

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 .

In this post, I explore Dr. Tony Bates’ academic blogging style. 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.

Blog Post Analysis

Tony Bates has posted a comparative analysis of two articles and identifies barriers to change from several different perspectives. The post, Barriers to Change: two perspectives, is an excellent example of how blogging will impact the genre of academic writing in an open, online environment.

 

In the article, Dr. Bates engages in academic blogging differently from other academic bloggers, using a different style and tone. Here are some examples.

Online Sources

He introduces the sources at the very beginning of his post, highlighting the titles in bold, and embedding the links to these articles in his post.

Framed, embedded links with context clues

He embeds a number of links within his post; for example, report from EducationSector, and inserts a brief description of the organization ((a non-profit, non-partisan independent think tank) after the text link.

Relevant quotes, bridged by introductory commentary

He inserts a number of quotes from the report that does the following:

States the problem; and

Identifies the major conclusion of the study

Dr. Bates then summarizes Trent Batson’s perspective on change, and selects a relevant quote about the myth of technology.

 Extra notes to the audience (to add extra details) that switch his voice to “commentator” from “reporter”

Use of opening questioning, or framing of issues, as rhetorical device to bracket ideas within a set perspective

Dr. Bates engages in a process of questioning to frame his arguments, and his expert shifting between the two perspectives (faculty will not take responsibility unless bribed, versus faculty with integrity seek to be innovative and make things better).

Framed by the questions, he outlines several major barriers (of direct relevance to my professional context as an instructor) to change (2 of 5 are listed):

Lack of training for administrators to manage change, and for faculty on how to teach effectively;

  • Complacency with current dominant teaching paradigm, placing instructor, and not students, at center of the teaching and learning process;

Additional links to supporting resources of interest that offer additional perspectives

He prefaces his two conclusions by first referring to Keith Hampton’s Higher Education Management Group, as an embedded link.

Details that provide rich context of the types of sources he drew from, how they fit in with his ideas

 Acknowledgements of who drew his attention to the articles

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