Monday, November 25, 2002

Blog Privacy

One Pot Meal asks whether professors worry about students reading their blogs. I wrote the following answer.

I do worry about student gossip. I don't feel it could endanger my job--I have tenure and a strong record and the support of my colleagues. But I feel it could reduce my effectiveness if the students are sniggering about me behind my back; they love any excuse to not respect the professor because then they don't feel obliged to learn. I remember in the early 1980s male colleagues laughing about how all the students paid attention to in the class of one tenured woman professor was her breasts. And I remember a student who said that he stopped reading a book I had assigned after 10 pages because he found one fact he knew was wrong so the book wasn't worth reading.

But I also figure students are usually lazy and the downside if students do start reading my blog isn't very severe. I have a web site on abuse issues which I keep very separate from my public identity. My blog I just keep a little bit separate. If you go to my blog it is easy to figure out who I am, but if you do a search on my name my blog doesn't come up.

Would my students be upset to read my writing about them in my blog? I don't know. I don't think I am disrespectful but it is always a bit of an uncomfortable feeling to be talked about.

I suppose it may be somewhat of a different issue next term, when I am going to call students' attention to blogs by requiring them to write one. I will write a separate one myself pertaining to the class as a model for them rather than giving them a link to this.

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