Two-weeks of face-to-face classes (residency) in my Graduate Diploma in Learning and Technology program at Royal Roads have ended. A year of online challenges begins. One of my challenges is reading scholarly research journal articles. The dry objectivity of academic writing seems to squeeze out any soul or human interest, yet reading megabytes of articles and eventually contributing significant soulless studies of my own is an inescapable element of this academic journey I have undertaken. I am learning to read abstracts and conclusions and scan the rest of the article to see if it answers any burning questions from the current assignment. Is it: holistic or reductionist; numbers, narratives, or both; talking to people or combing through text; fixing a problem or solving a puzzle; answering questions or creating questions? This literature encounter of the mind-numbing kind should become less tedious as I learn to engage with burning questions of my own.
One assigned reading made me slow down and read with interest. Heide Estes (2012) writes about the scholar’s voice finding a more natural tone in scholarly blogs, presenting arguments for the importance of narrative in scholarly literature in a blogging voice, while suggesting that the scholar’s own blog is the place for narrative and voice. Interesting juxtaposition. Estes’ quote from Scott Slovak resonates with me; “Storytelling, combined with clear exposition, produces the most engaging and trenchant scholarly discourse” (2008, as cited in Estes, 2012). She also refers to Natalia Cecire’s blog post about academia’s reluctance to show possible flaws in public, “we have a culture of making it look easy, and of concealing as much as possible ‘the raw material of poetry in all its rawness'” (2011). I know academic writing is a language I must acquire to study and communicate at this level, but these scholars offer blogs as a place for exactly the rawness and storytelling I miss. Here it’s safe to poke a pin into pompousness’s balloon.
Cecire, N. (2011). How Public Like a Frog: On Academic Blogging. Retrieved from http://arcade.stanford.edu/blogs/how-public-frog-academic-blogging
Estes, H. (2012). Blogging and Academic Identity. Literature Compass, 9(12), 974–982. http://doi.org/10.1111/lic3.12017
Slovic, S. (2008). Going away to think: Engagement, retreat, and ecocritical responsibility. In Placing the academy: Essays on landscape, work, and identity (pp. 217–232). Logan, Utah: University of Nevada Press. Retrieved from http://digitalcommons.usu.edu/cgi/viewcontent.cgi?article=1019&context=usupress_pubs#page=227