To suggest that this semester could be the last to use Live Journal is, to say the least, disappointing. To say the most, it would be the bare faced murder and desecration of one of the most successful, contemporary modes of assessment. This is my fifth semester of using Live Journal in ACU. I can see that my own writing and method of analysing literature has matured. I thank the use of Live Journal for this, as it is a continuous writing exercise. The nature of the assessment has me writing (at least) one article per week.
In my own journal, I was at first reluctant, even resistant, to experimentation on critical and creative levels. There were very few personal reflections. Indeed, some of the early articles and comments sounded cold and sterilised. Fast forward through the semesters and there is a great change, in my opinion. It is a positive, progressive and personal change. Granted, the creative experimentation in this fifth semester in Live Journal is partially in indebted to the commonplace book. Nevertheless, as I look at the degree and nature of my creative experimentation over the semesters, it is obvious that Live Journal has opened up so many avenues that would have been virtually impossible in another form. I also know that my own Live Journal is not an isolated case of developed creativity. My close friend and humble colleague has recently written a series of poems for the first time in Live Journal. I recall she told me some time ago that she “was not a creative person.” However, with the introduction of commonplace and being exposed to creativity and critique on other people’s Live Journals, she was inspired to experiment with her own creativity. Undeniably, this young lady’s now found creativity is quite exquisite. It is testimony to and product of her close engagement with the works of literature studied in class. In my opinion, this is more positive response than any sterilised, homogenised research essay.
One of the keys to the success of Live Journal is the ‘personal touch’ and ownership. The writer has the liberty to format his/her entry, insert photographs/images, videos, audio files and polls to enhance meaning. Live Journal is contemporary is as much as encouraging the reader to participate and actively respond to entries. This is opposed to simply reading an article. Some writers in the Live Journal space are highly skilled in creating ‘interactive entries.’ Such writers are ultimately the face of future literature and the fruits of their labour never cease to amaze me. We should unite and support this community instead of moving to repeal the entire assessment in a vain move of stale, ‘didactic’ bureaucracy. ‘Blogging’ is most successful in literature through Live Journal, as it encourages the writer to take ownership of their words. One learns, reflects and blogs. If the concept were to be shifted into the “Blackboard” site, it would not be any where as effective as Live Journal, as the space is not owned or passionately embraced by the writers/students. In the real world, few people are passionate about Blackboard. Therefore, the purpose of the ‘blogging’ would be bitterly defeated.
LJ provide the ideal forum for concept exploration, professional networking/interaction, and creative experimentation. All three of these things are not foreign to one another. In reflecting upon my own Live Journal experience, I cannot think of one without simultaneously thinking of the other. Future technologies will ultimately move literature into an electronic format. Future generations will grow up with this e-literature and take it for granted. Such students would therefore be able to creatively experiment and ‘blog’ in ways unimaginable to us in 2009. We cannot expect such progress, however, we can have faith that within a decade, we will see major technological advances in literature. Our using Live Journal is merely a cog in the mammoth wheel of literature’s technological progression. To sever this cog would be the bare faced murder or one of the most successful and promising modes of literature.
It is for this reason that we must keep Live Journal in the Literature units.