Blogs & Wikis @ Turku, Finland


I’m attending a seminar by University of Turku. The participants are mainly people from the academic community, I’m the few corporate scumbags around here. Interesting content was discussions about blogs and wikis and less interesting was direct product sales pitches from a few companies.

Jere Majava from the University of Joensuu is perhaps the only blog researcher in Finland. He is working on his thesis on blogs in the academia. Here are some of his points:

  • Blogs are not diaries, but the structure is similar
  • Blogs are not content management systems, although the structure is similar
  • Blogs are not only about publishing but rather about interaction and conversations
  • Blogs are also about creating a net presence as blogs are replacing traditional static home pages
  • Distributed conversations emerge out of cross-site communication between blogs
  • Starting up with a group blog is the wrong way to go, because it doesn’t create an impression different from typical web publishing. Also creating dialogical relationships between blogs is hard if the blog has no personal identity
  • Often good group blogs are created by experienced bloggers
  • Using the same blog during a longer time-period is important for following personal learning: re-using the same blog
  • Blogs are suitable for self-directed learning more than for formal learning
  • Blogs could be useful for conversations across domains of expertise
  • Blogs are useful for learning academic practices like referencing etc.
  • Well-maintained blog improves the status of an academic blogger within the community

Riitta Suominen explained wikis. Nothing new there, but a few good points:

  • Publishing is in itself a positive factor for motivation
  • In education we tend to have auctoritaric expert-centric approach to knowledge. Wiki fills the gap with learner created content

Overall, good introduction of wikis and blogs to people who are not yet that familiar with these emerging concepts.

People didn’t like the presentation slides that much, I heard comments about underestimating the audience with bullet-point rigged presentations. Maybe they need to improve their Lessigian presentation skills icon smile Blogs & Wikis @ Turku, Finland Juha-Matti Arola wrote also recently, that “has anyone the courage to free us from the slavery of Powerpoint slides?”

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  • http://www.valt.helsinki.fi/blogs/jjmajava/ Jere Majava (Helsinki)

    I also do like Lessing’s presentation style, but I don’t think it is suitable for every subject occasion. I’d dare to say some of his slide shows border propaganda. Sure they can be uplifting and inspiring, especially if the audience agrees with the message – and don’t get me wrong: I agree with him also. Never the less, give a presentation like that to critical and reserved university people (in Finland!) and they’ll dismiss you as a fool or a sales rep.

    Anyway as an after thought I definetily should have done what I preach (http://www.valt.helsinki.fi/piirtoheitin/ppt1.htm) and not use slides at all. Slavery really is a good metaphor for presentation slides. It’s *really* hard to break away from using them.

  • http://luppe.blogging.fi Christian Lupander

    As a teacher in upper secondary I feel that the use of Wikis would fill another useful role that Riitta did not mention. Using Wikis will supportour efforts to bring the kids in to a ‘text based society’ such as ours.

    And as the norm for Wikis seems to be good language, I’m sure that the language teachers would love Wikis also… ;-)

  • http://www.hazir-beton.com Info

    As a teacher in upper secondary I feel that the use of Wikis would fill another useful role that Riitta did not mention. Using Wikis will supportour efforts to bring the kids in to a ‘text based society’ such as ours.

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