My Teaching Blogs

OK, not really mine, since we largely co-create learning blogs, but here are some examples:

(2001ish) I originally put together some scripts to blog in 1999, blithely unaware of what a blog was, to use in an undergraduate class. I wanted two things that discussion boards were not giving me: unstructured discussion and a clear public face. The students performed better when distributing their work publicly, and the students were very positive about the experience.

(2002ish)Started a Moveable Type blog server for graduate students in the program. This worked very well for students in the summer, but not so well the following year, with other instructors. (See, e.g., Lauren Andreacchi.)

(2003ish) The Media Law class was one with about 180 students commenting on blog postings. This was facilitated by using a reputation system, though this doesn’t show up in the archive. The karma system didn’t work, and there were as many students that disliked the blog as liked it. Many students complained that the “conversation” was too often “me too.”

(Now) Launched a new blogserver, based on WordPress. Only two classes are using it this semester, a small Com Theory grad course, with each student having an individual blog, and a mixed grad/undergrad class that looks at social software, with student groups of 3-5 each having a blog. The former has (sorry guys!) worked better than the latter this semester.

Some Grad Com Theory blogs:
* Sarah
* Theory.IstheReason

Some Media in the Information Age blogs:
* Best Blog
* Smurf’s Garden

I’ve used a course wiki only once, for a graduate seminar. There were some marginal successes there, but students largely contributed only when required to.

Over the next couple of days at the Social Software in the Academy Workshop we’ll be talking about how these new technologies might have to do with higher ed. If you have ideas, let me know.

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8 Comments

  1. Posted 10/23/2004 at 12:02 pm | Permalink

    Being as I have never heard of blogs before your class–I enjoyed being exposed to something so different. I have had peers tell me they wish their classes offered the same opportunity. There are those of us who have really tken the blog and made it our own, with more than just response papers, and that has been neat to watch. In such a “high tech” world why isn’t this concept of blogging for class more common? In the School of Informatics, it seems it should almost be required to develop a graduate blog than contains educational and thoughful material. Just my opinion though.

  2. j e n n i e
    Posted 10/25/2004 at 9:03 am | Permalink

    I’m actually interested in knowing how students learn to use the new technologies over the years (i.e., motivation & participation) and how the evaluations are done for the course.

  3. Posted 10/25/2004 at 9:25 am | Permalink

    Jennie: come chat with me as some point. I’m just now organizing some research around this, looking at motivations both in the case of students and of researchers.

  4. Posted 10/25/2004 at 12:17 pm | Permalink

    Alex and Jennie–that sounds interesting. I didn’t really think of that part. I have a theory that the 101 students don’t check UB learns as much as they should…I didn’t think blackboard was “new” and there’s certianly motivation (you need course info on there) so why aren’t they using it?

  5. Posted 10/25/2004 at 7:05 pm | Permalink

    I am also interested in the motivation and participation of students and teachers to use technology. My previous experience as a teaching assistant made me see something which is different from my previous expectation. For example, I tried to put full text files of the readings on the website because I think it is more convenient and cheaper for students to access those files. However, I found very few people go to the website to download the readings. They always only read those which are photo-copied. I am not sure it is because the design of technology itself, or some other reasons that make them do not want to use it.

  6. Posted 10/25/2004 at 7:39 pm | Permalink

    Working at the ETC, this is definitely a “ME TOO!”. Maybe a special interest group should be formed around this. It is very relevant to our times.

  7. Posted 11/18/2004 at 12:57 pm | Permalink

    Hi, Alex, I’m a student at the UW and my class has launched a website! I thought your content was very interesting, and I think you’ll find our content interesting as well. I thought you’d enjoy this article and it could be a good debate-starter about youths and voting. There are other stories on our site that definitely pertain to your Media in the Information Age section. Thanks!

  8. Racheal
    Posted 4/25/2006 at 12:19 pm | Permalink

    This is a unique approach to teaching. I am an educational technology minor and we are using this same approach to communicate and learn more about blogging. Great idea!

4 Trackbacks

  1. By Smurfs' Garden » Blogging Eval ? on 11/10/2004 at 3:44 pm

    […] ld be in a class of this size. Although Alex points out that the class blogs have not been universally successful, I feel that I, as a communications graduate student, have learned as much f […]

  2. By Smurfs' Garden » Blogging Eval ? on 11/10/2004 at 3:45 pm

    […] ld be in a class of this size. Although Alex points out that the class blogs have not been universally successful, I feel that I, as a communications graduate student, have learned as much f […]

  3. By Smurfs' Garden » Blogging Eval ? on 11/10/2004 at 3:45 pm

    […] ld be in a class of this size. Although Alex points out that the class blogs have not been universally successful, I feel that I, as a communications graduate student, have learned as much f […]

  4. By Smurfs' Garden » Blogging Eval ? on 11/10/2004 at 3:45 pm

    […] ld be in a class of this size. Although Alex points out that the class blogs have not been universally successful, I feel that I, as a communications graduate student, have learned as much f […]

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