Blog Post

Using Vlogs in Composition

Hi all!  So excited to be a part of the HASTAC Scholars community this coming year. 

So I just finished my summer project, which was to write my First Year Exam, described as a "specialized paper examination" which really is a LONG paper based on a specific area of interest.  I started composing this paper in May, and I also decided that I wanted to experiment with vlogging along the way.  So each night after completing the day's work, I journaled on video about the process: I talked about my struggles, things that were going well, things that I was confused about, and I reported on what I'd completed.  (Check out some excerpts from my vlogging entries here). 

Vlogging my own writing process through the summer has made me think about the possibilties for using vlogs in the English Composition classroom.  The video journals became almost like a sounding board for me as I composed my paper.  I worked out problems, I summarized, I verbalized what I'd already done and what I had yet to do.  I wonder the extent to which the vlogging shaped the written portion of my work, and how the paper would be different if I hadn't vlogged along the way?   

I'm teaching English 225: Academic Argumentation this fall at U of M, and most of my students are sophomores and juniors in majors outside of English.  I want to ask them to vlog their composition process for at least one of their projects.  I've always done lots of reflective process activities with students in writing, but video seems to offer a much more personal, raw way to reflect--and I thought it was lots of fun!  I also felt like I was more honest with myself on video, like I was talking to someone who actually cared about what I was doing (which I guess that someone was ME!).  I think the vlog works in some ways because our generation is familiar with the genre.  TV shows use a variation, like the confessional in The Real World or any of the interview clips most reality shows use.

I'm curious--has anyone else used vlogs in an academic setting?  What do you all feel are the benefits and drawbacks of doing so? 

 

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2 comments

Crystal, 

Hello from a fellow U-M HASTAC Scholar.  I've not used vlogs in this way but I think they can be promising. I've heard at least two librarians and/or archivists (I can't remember specifically who they were so I don't want to invent what's missing from my memory) comment that the digital age has the potential to remove what we often consider an important component of a writer's personal papers: the rough drafts, discarded ideas, and whatever other writings didn't see the light of day.  If this is all being typed on a screen rather than put on to paper, hitting the Delete key may prevent the archivist from ever seeing it, or even knowing of its existence.  Vlogging during the writing process has some potential to record this stuff that we might otherwise never save as we produce digitally.  It may seem to be routine and not terribly interesting to record on a daily basis, but I think its value comes in the longer term as you can look back at where you've come in the writing process.

Best,

Jonathan

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I love the idea of digital personal papers!  I definitely have a lot more video footage of myself writing than I do process journals and paper copies of drafts. 

I also totally agree about the value of keeping track of where you've been and looking back on it.  The day to day taping is a little monotonous, but that's where a good "highlight reel" is useful. 

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