I think on my most popular day on this blog I got about 14,000 hits on a post. Most posts get less than that, but getting 600-800 visitors over the first week is pretty usual, and the visitors are generally pretty knowledgeable people.
Yesterday I got a lot of hits on my post asking for examples of the best blog-based classes in higher education that people could look at, with a caveat that I’d love to get beyond the usual examples we use — I’m looking for variety over innovation in some ways. The result was crickets.
I just need a list that I can show faculty that describes the class, the methods used, and links to it. I want to share it with faculty. I’d like the list to be up-to-date. I’d like someone to have checked the links and make sure they are not linking to spam sites at this point. Maybe someone could also find the best example of a student post from the class and link to that. Maybe it could be ordered by discipline.
Does such a thing exist? I don’t know. Maybe. I sure as hell can’t find it, and I’ve been a part of this movement a decade now.
Do individual pages on these these sorts of experiences exist? Absolutely. I’ve read blog posts for the past ten years on this or that cool thing someone was doing. But as far as I can tell, no one has chosen to aggregate these things into a maintained or even semi-maintained list. We love to talk. Curate, share, and maintain? Eh.
This is the Tragedy of the Stream, folks. The conversations of yesterday, which contain so much useful information, are locked into those conversations, frozen in time. To extract the useful information from them becomes an unrewarding and at times impossible endeavor. Few people, if any, stop to refactor, rearrange the resources, gloss or introduce them to outsiders. We don’t go back to old pieces to add links on them to the things we have learned since, or rewrite them for clarity or timelessness.
And so it becomes little more than a record of a conversation, a resource to be mined by historians but not consulted by newbies. You want an answer to your question? Here’s eighteen hours of audio tape. If you play it from the beginning it makes sense. Have fun!
There are some things which survive better than others: Quora answers, Stack Exchange replies and the like.
But in our community at least I see a whole body of knowledge slowly rotting and sinking back into the sea. Perhaps it might be time to focus less on convincing and more on documenting our knowledge?