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U Waterloo has officially sanctioned blogging

on February 12th, 2005 | Filed under Optoblog

U. Waterloo, which has an optometry school, has an official blog for students. One of them is a pre-optometry student. The lame thing is that only a select group of students are allowed to blog on the official site. Lame really is an appropriate word here because they’re neglecting the leg of the animal which tells us the not so warm and fuzzy aspects of the school.
But let’s restart this discussion. Wouldn’t it be great if an undergrad could research which optometry school to choose by reading blogs of the current students?
Wouldn’t it be great if the current fourth year students could blog about the cool stuff they see and do during their rotations? “Oh flip! One more item of busy work to do,” I would have said three years ago. But knowing what I know now, I would have blogged and read others’ blogs to enhance my experience. I had one rotation where the first week, I saw an inferior, mac off retinal detachment, a macular hole, and something else cool that I can’t remember because I didn’t blog it. You can learn all you want from a textbook, but until you go through the process yourself, you don’t internalize it. What if the students could go through the process vicariously several times by reading their classmate’s blogs!
Also, the optometry student bloggers could give their opinion on how well their optometry school facilitates their becoming an optometric physician. But here in lies the danger for optometry schools to sponsor an official blog space. Universities have to worry about brand and image. Having a student blogger being overly or unfairly critical of the school could be a problem for the brand. On the other hand, aren’t campuses a bastion of free speech– the epitome of civil liberties in action? Maybe, but nothing says the school needs to provide via blog space the outlet for critical tirades. But hey, if an institution is that worried, they should read the 95 points of the cluetrain manifesto.
But, back on the other hand, optometry schools with nothing to hide should sanction blogs for their students, provide gentle guidance as to their terms of use, and let the students run with it. The students should remember the case of the Google employee who was fired over his blog posts. In fairness, many schools like Pacific University offer webspace to their students and one could easily use blogger.com to manage the content, but it would be more cool to see a designated blog space where most interns are information sharing.

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