Students being watched

I’ve just finished going through nearly 300 blogs, and my eyes feel like they are about to fall out of my head. (Thanks go to the inestimable help of Brenda, who took on 100 of these.) I’ll write a bit more about this later. First, I was crazy to ask a 400 person class to blog. If I ever teach another course this large, it’s multiple guess all the way.

Second, about half the students really seem to be getting it, and the posts seem to be measurably improving for these students. About half have completely dropped out of blogging–effectively dropped out of completing the class, it seems. That failure rate is unacceptable, but I’m not sure what to do about it. Part of it is that students are unaccustomed to having something due each week, especially in an online course. Part is that they are not comfortable writing, I fear. But a lot has to do with the strangeness of getting used to blogging.

WordPress.com has just added some stats, and a few students have been energized by the idea that their writing is finding an audience. Way2Much has this to say (and sorry for copying the full post here):

It is a beautiful day and I am inside playing on my computer – there is something very wrong with this.

I read AJ’s excitement that he has outside comments to his blog. I have had ONE and that has caused me some excitement as well. So I understand his enthusiasm!

I also noticed today that WordPress keeps track of your traffic. I am excited and disappointed at the same time. I only found this out today, checked it out, and was thrilled to see that I had a lot of traffic Mid-March. Unfortunately, I have very few in April, Personal goal: get that traffic flowing!

NO THIS HAS NOTHING TO DO WITH PORN – BUT IT HAS EVERYTHING TO DO WITH BLOGGING FOR CLASS! For those that have no idea what I am talking about, if you look at your dashboard, there is STATS right next to it on the right. Click on that and you have all that information right at your fingertips. I am also trying to change my categories from uncategorized to others such as obscenity, literature, etc to see if that attracts more attention to my posts. (Better late than never!)

Happy Blogging!

If you have a chance, cruise on over to the class aggregator and see if there is an interesting post to comment on.

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2 Comments

  1. Posted 4/13/2006 at 11:58 pm | Permalink

    What you need is some kind of content analysis program to grade blogs for you (j/k!).

    I keep thinking that blogging does give me the sensation of “living forever”. The emotional completeness one feels from seeing readers and comments left by them lets us know we’ve accomplished part of this goal. This ties back to our fascination of death, where blogs become the best form of virtual memorials one could really have.

    See Wired: Bloggers never die

  2. Posted 4/18/2006 at 7:34 pm | Permalink

    dude…you really didn’t need to go through that alone…Jessica & I are still able to help alievate some of the torture.

    – M

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