The Handbook for Bloggers and Cyber-Dissidents, edited by Clothilde Le Coz, presents tips and techniques for would-be bloggers, particularly those seeking to operate within restrictive environments. The stated goal of the almost 80-page book is to support "free expression" of this new form of journalism and to protect these first-hand news sources. Articles in the handbook, ranging from the basics of getting started to learning how to avoid censorship through sophisticated means, are offered in a succinct style with a decidedly European viewpoint.
Type of Material:
The handbook would be valuable for students in media, communications, technology, political science, cultural studies or other related fields perhaps more as a statement of freedom of expression than an actual step-by-step guide to becoming a blogger.
Internet Access; PDF Reader
Identify Major Learning Goals:
Although the handbook does not contain specific learning goals, it does walk the new blogger through a chronological sequence necessary to begin blogging as well as providing tips for avoiding censorship.
Target Student Population:
Anyone interested in blogging.
Prerequisite Knowledge or Skills:
In addition to explaining how to begin blogging, tips for successful blogs, and how to avoid censorship, the experiences of several real-life bloggers are presented as examples of ways this form of journalism has been used.
The handbook was created in July, 2009, and last updated in September, 2011; due to the rate of technological change, the book could benefit from more recent information.
Potential Effectiveness as a Teaching Tool
The book points out several avenues bloggers can take to circumvent governmental restrictions, specifically by utilizing forms of encryption, tunneling, and proxy servers.
The handbook is clearly written; however, new bloggers without some form of technical support, may not be able to follow the suggestions for avoiding censorship. Due to the importance of this protection, particularly in extremely authoritarian countries (named in the book), it is of vital importance to execute such circumvention perfectly.
Ease of Use for Both Students and Faculty
The handbook is simple in design; uses minimal graphics, and follows a basic table of contents.
Other Issues and Comments:
The primary issue with the handbook is the lack of recent updates.
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