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Sunday, January 01, 2006

What is being accomplished?

Nate wrote an entry entitled Happy New Year over at Cognitive Dissonance, where he takes stock of the past year and what he has accomplished with his blog. I thought the idea a good one and decided to do it on some of the blogs that I maintain as well.

This is probably a good time as well, following my statistics post from yesterday. Now that I am well over the 3000 hit mark and getting over 200 visitors a month - granted most of those are from Blogger's "Next Blog" feature, so they aren't actually coming to see my ideas, but there were three dozen returning visitors this past month. So, it begs the question, what purpose does this blog serve? Or more specifically, what am I accomplishing for myself by maintaining this blog?

This is a difficult question for me. When I first started the blog, I used to send out e-mails to people who were involved with or interested in virtual schooling to let them know that I had updated it and posted a new entry. My goal was to try and create a community of individuals who discussed issues surrounding virtual schooling, with the overall goal of improving the quality of virtual schooling - at least among those who were involved in the conversation.

I'm not sure that this has happened. The blog is and seems to remain largely me posting my ideas about various topics dealing with virtual schooling in largely a broadcast way. In the few instances where I have been able to generate some conversation, it has been isolated and usually between me and one other person (I know that this struggle has been the topic of many conversations that Nate and I have been involved in, the most recent one I can think of was from the August Blog-In).

And I can be honest and say the act of writing has helped me capture some of my own thoughts and such, but the reality is that there are probably more productive places for me (as a beginning or hopeful academic) could be writing instead of this blog. I have had some conversations that have helped me understand some issues, one that quickly comes to mind is my better understanding of homeschool students. But in the end, I'm sure that I could have found some article or more knowledgable other and figured it out without the 89 entries that come before this one (and I even have another seven that I have pre-written over the holidays for release in the coming weeks). So, again it begs the question, what am I accomplishing for myself by maintaining this blog?

I'm not sure that I have a good answer... Maybe it is the hope of an answer... The hope of that community that I was envisioning that would take place if the space were created... If you build it, they will come (and participate)...

In the meantime, maybe you can answer a question for me... What am I accomplishing for you by maintaining this blog?

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Blogger Nathan Lowell said...

You're contributing to the conversation.

My sense is that we haven't begun to scratch the surface yet.

5:11 PM  
Blogger MKB said...

I received this note in my e-mail box with regards to this entry. As I didn't get the individual's permission to post it, I have removed any identifying parts.


"I have just discovered your Virtual High School Meanderings blog and want to encourage you to continue it!

I read your recent posting where you question what you are accomplishing with the blog. While I can't speak directly to that question, I can assure you that virtual high school education is in such an early stage that the best is really yet to come!
I [work with XXX] and [XXX], as you undoubtedly know, is very effective yet almost [###] years later we are, in many ways, just getting started. Hang in there---your blog will be a major player in the not too distant future---you are contributing to and are part of somthing very important!!!"

4:02 PM  

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