I’ve spent the past couple of hours trying to research on something to write my first post on. I know, how pathetic. However, I haven’t quite figured out what I’ll use this blog for exactly — I find myself with a million thoughts and interests, each one as fleeting as the next. It’s interesting, now that I think about it, I feel like my mind is operating a little à la Stephen Dedalus, though I hated Joyce’s narration style in high school (not that I actually read most of it) . Must put on my to-do list: actually read Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man.
Incidentally, my first post was going to be about education; specifically, what makes a good teacher/good teaching. Though I certainly have my own ideas, I wanted to make sure I was versed in the topic before attempting to discuss the topic. So, I spent hours looking up articles on JSTOR, hoping to find some review articles that would synthesize the debate. I didn’t actually read a single article. Rather, I was distracted by the sheer wonder of JSTOR and many other platforms that I came to find, where information is so readily available online and for free – sorta. So, instead I thought I would write about these scholarly databases and why I think they should be made readily available.
JSTOR is basically an online archive of thousands of scholarly journals from around the world, a jacked-up version of Google Scholar, if you will. You can search their database, or browse their long list of journals. I spent many hours doing both, searching things like “good teacher” and “good teaching,” and browsing through various educational journals. As I came across interesting articles, I would open the PDF so I could read it later. (Not very disciplined of me, I know. But then again, articles are often tens of pages long and I don’t got time for that right now.) The titles alone got my mind buzzing — “Being a Good Teacher of Black Students? White Teachers and Unintentional Racism,” “The Work of Multicultural Teacher Education: Reconceptualizing White Teacher Candidates as Learners,” etc. I can’t wait to read those later, lol.
But then, JSTOR ended up redirecting me to this other resource, Project Muse, where they have thousands of books online. Mind = blown. I’ve been searching for something like this ever since Wikipedia stopped quenching my thirst. They would always reference books, and I’d be so curious as to what those books actually had to say. I can’t afford to buy books like that, and the library was too inconvenient. I would lament the intellectual property laws that prohibit books from just being open source, and yearned for the day when every book ever written was on a digital library that I could just look up on some technological gadget.
I guess I just wasn’t looking hard enough, though even these resources require that you either buy membership access or be affiliated with various educational institutions and entities. But luckily for me, I’m still a student and could browse at my leisure. Of course, now my hope is that even this last barrier will be torn down eventually and anyone will be able to search and read on their own. It seems that’s the direction higher education is headed, anyways, with so many institutions now offering access to their courses through video-taped lectures. Hopefully, our education systems will heed the wind and integrate these media so that students can make use of them for their entire lives.