Students on blogging

I still have more to say about how blogging worked in a big class, but I figured I’d start by letting the students have a say. I asked students to reflect about what they had learned over the course of the semester, and though I didn’t ask about blogging specifically, many of them included comments about it. I have posted excerpts of most of the comments that mentioned blogging any way other than in passing.

As you can see, the majority of these are quite positive, though it reflects a few potential biases. First, final grades were not in, and so there may have been some buttering up in these self-reflections. Also, those who were more likely to comment were also more likely to be active bloggers during the semester. I’ll be interested to see how the comments here mesh with the anonymous student evals.

I’m considering putting together a survey to see if I can get at some of the non-bloggers and look at what some of the more effective ways are of getting folks up to speed quickly. Really, it took a long time for people to become comfortable with the technical aspects of blogging, and it wasn’t until the tail end of the course that most folks were really getting into it, I think. By then, a significant portion of the class had bailed. This might just be the case for any sort of online course that requires weekly participation–but without asking, I won’t know.

With a few exceptions (like the first one), these are excerpted from the original posting, which generally had less to do with blogging and more to do with the material of the course as a whole. Click through if you are interested in more context.

This is a long collection of comments; click on “more” to browse through them.

tinydancer

It seems like just yesterday I was writing my first blog and wondering what I would be able to talk about every week in multiple blogs. As the weeks went on blogging got easier and easier until I am able to articulate my thoughts in what I believe to be a very coherent manner. This was my first adventure into blogging, and I wasn’t sure how I would like it at first. I now enjoy it, and think of it as a valuable asset to the class in general. Not only am I able to put my opinions out there, but I enjoy reading what other students have to say on certain topics as well.

I prefer when we are given some guidance on what to blog about during that week, or at least having one required blog and one or two blogs that can be about whatever we want. I find it’s easier to organize my thoughts when I have a specific goal or direction that needs to be accomplished and followed. My favorite blogging topic is actually one of our recent ones. I really enjoyed looking up a blog from someone outside of the class and commenting on it. The new opinion was refreshing as well as interesting. I had never heard of Technorati, or knew that you could look up blogs like a regular internet search before this class. I think it is interesting that people blog about the topics we discuss in class for no particular reason. it is amazing to me what people chose to focus on in everyday life when they write a blog. I thought the author I chose for my comments was relatively smart. I read some of his other postings and thought he had some good points and interesting perspectives.

To me, the most enjoyable aspect of the class this year was the blogging. This also includes the various information that I was able to come across while researching for some of my blog topics. I think blogging would be a valuable asset to any class, and not just a communication one either

emf8

I felt completely at ease being able to blog about topics instead of having face-to-face discussions about them in class. Blogging, though not the most traditionally academic way to evaluate what a student has learned, has forced me to analyze material and consider my opinions rather than just take material in and spew it out for a test.

way2much

I enjoyed the class and blogging! So much so that I will keep up with developments, especially with Congress, and posting about things that come to mind (regarding anything – not just porn).

I am very happy that I met some interesting bloggers out there thanks to our assignment to find another post! I am looking forward to our continued interaction! They actually debate and have over 20 comments on each post! Something I was disappointed to find that didn’t really occur with this class. I do understand that most people had other classes to study for and other responsibilities to attend to. I never thought of this class as work though, that is how much I enjoyed it.

Jami Lynne

I just think I would have gotten more out of the lectures had they been in person, but that’s just me…. I learned a lot, I enjoyed it and would recommend this course to a friend. You did keep us on our toes and had a good way of delivering the information you needed to deliver in a non discriminatory way. Oh, and I learned how to blog!

Carrie

The question is what have I learned in our wonderful pornography class? First and foremost I learned how to blog! I remember feeling very overwhelmed by the course expectations in the syllabus. But in the end I am satisfied with the work and reward involved.

Kate

Personally, I am someone who likes to talk and state my opinions. Therefore, this was a suffiencient way for me to take this course because I was given many chances to express my thoughts. Cyber-Porn is a topic that I rarely discussed or new much about. So I enjoyed learning about it. I feel that I am confident in my kownledge on the topic. The blogging kept me interested in the course and wanting to learn more. The best part about this class was reading my classmates thoughts on everything. You rarely get to know what everyone else is thinking in your class. Reading others peoples blogs provided me with infomation I never thought of thinking about. I am very happy that I took this course.

AJ

Unlike other courses this class has caught my attention and open my mind to other peoples opinion, actually making me change my stance on a few issues after reading what other people thought. Another thing is I actually liked the blogging aspect once I got used to it as I have never blogged before. It let people say what they truly had to say without worries of being put down or anything like that in public. Being able to see everyone speak there own mind is truly what I think makes this class so great and genuine.

Sean

When I did my first blog way back in January I was totally confused of how this whole blogging thing worked. I didn’t know if what I was writing on here was actually going to make it to the course blogger, I had no idea. Now I’m blogging with ease and have learned some new computer skills that I will carry with me into the future.

baqtlikeme

When I read over the syllabus I was a bit frightened. A blog, what’s that? I’m not really sure if I actually liked writing blogs, but I can say that I probably would have preferred them over having tests the entire semester. I did find it difficult many of times actually writing. I am not a very creative writer. Not only am I not a creative writer, but I am not good in expressing how I feel. I think I did improve by the end of the semester, but the quantity of my blogs kind of sucked. I never thought that I would actually learn something in a class on porn, but to be completely honest, it is one of the only classes I took this semester that I actually did learn something in.

Nicole

My thoughts were that this would be a nice change of pace. Unfortunately, when I was thinking change of pace, I meant slower pace. I was wrong. But that’s OK – because in the end it turned out to be somewhat beneficial, and quite honestly, the amount of work in the course taught me a lot more than just about porn. I truly believe my writing has improved – I am more able to expand on my thoughts and provide better arguments for my opinions and viewpoints.

hnetinka

After watching the lectures and commenting on them in our blogs and then seeing other people’s responses it was amazing on how many perspectives there are in the world. It is also easier to write what you feel in the blog because it’s not like your raising your hand in front of a whole lecture hall of 400 people. People’s blogs that I read would either agree with my opinion or totally disagree. Some people’s blogs I found to be interesting and would compare them to see what they thought about the lectures. At first I didn’t think this class would entail so much involvement because of the online factor, but really it was probably my second most work load. I think that because of the interaction involved I learned a lot more than I would have if everything was optional.

CyberUB

Before this semester, I knew of a blog but wasn’t using one. When I first read the syllabus I immediately felt that this would be a class full of overwhelmingly amounts of work. With working a full time job, 45 to 52 hours a week, I jumped at the idea of taking an online class. So I did and with myself needing 3 COM classes to graduate, I decided to take this class section of Cyberporn and Society, better known as COM 497. This provided me with my own time schedule of when to “attend” class lectures. This was usually done on Wednesdays when I would spend anywhere from 2 to 3 hours just watching the lectures and taking notes. Then I’d spend another couple of hours writing up those infamous blog entries that Dr. Halavais is known to love. With the amount required to write, I thought I was getting myself into something that I shouldn’t but in the end it turned out great. I started off writing as a Virgin Blogger but felt I got better as the semester went on…

Our class wasn’t just all about viewing then commenting on the lectures. We also got to read each other’s blogs and comment. I found this entertaining as well as educational. We taking an online class sometimes you miss things or the whole idea presented completely. By reading other student’s blogs, I was able to grasp some topics that I misunderstood and helped me soak up what I needed to. I also, for the first time, started to use outside the class blogs as a way to expand upon what our class lectures were talking about. It’s good to get away from all the educational stuff and actually gain an interest in what you’re learning.

lilbloggerchick

I have not only learned many things from this class, but I have adjusted to new styles of learning. I was never really exposed to blogging, thanks to this class I am now interested in getting inlvolved with other blog sites. I found that now only listening to lectures, but reading my classmates thoughts and responses helped out a lot. I retain information much better if it comes from a source I can relate to (ex: other students).

Mike

I originally wasn’t a big fan of blogging but it grew on me and seems to be a more effective way of gauging learning than a test.

GEL

Blogging was also new to me and, at first, I felt intimidated because everyone seemed to know so much more than I did. Coming up with topics to blog about was one of the hardest parts of this course. I learned that the internet is an outstanding wealth of information and at the same time, I also learned that not everything on the Internet is true.

Shira

I also enjoyed how it left space for debate. Pornography is a pretty controversial issue and I liked how I was given the opportunity to express my opinions. I also felt that for the most part classmates were pretty respectful of others opinions.

slizified

As for the blogging: Initially, I was nervous about it because I did not want people to judge me based on my opinions. However, a few weeks into the course, I felt a lot more comfortable – more comfortable than I would stating my feelings in a classroom in front of people. I also enjoyed reading what other people had to write, hearing similar and differing opinions and being able to link to other blogs for discussions.

Porn4Life

The best part of this class was interacting with different classmates through blogging. You would read blogs each week and have a strong opinion for or against that person and you would feed off of that to make that point even stronger. I believe without this blogging in play during this class, I wouldn’t of learned nearly as much. Because in a class setting, this kind of interaction would never had taken place. Well, it was a good and interesting semester, and I’m glad I was apart of the experience. All for now

ddl4

Call me a suck up, but I really can look back on this course and feel good about it. I think that the journalistic nature of our blogging has made me a better writer and a more detail-oriented note taker. I took a look back at my first blog in this course and noticed a lot of typos (I also learned to write in Word first before posting), but I also noticed that everything I had hoped to learn from this course was adequately covered for the most part.

Nicole

The course blogs were a wonderful way to consider the issues. I cannot say that I was always able to keep up with reading the blogs, but I had a few favorites. Because this class garnered attention from so many different majors, if you searched long enough you could find every perspective imaginable covered in one of the blogs somewhere. A lot of us ended up using our various external knowledge received from our majors or our own personal interest. This diversity was something that I found incredibly helpful and unique.

I honestly enjoyed this class and found it to be a wonderful experience because it essentially became a forum style class. I encourage further teachings of this class in this manner. I would also encourage future students to present some of the issues either supplemented with personal observations or with knowledge from their own areas of expertise.

Ellie

I learned how to blog, and that is impressive considering the extensiveness of my computer illiteracy. I can’t say I want to take all online classes for the rest of my college career, but it was an experience, and isn’t that what college is about?

Heather

The blogging was fun; I just wish the class was a bit smaller, so there could have been more conversation between all of us.

Lauren

I was impressed by the ease of this class. I’m not saying this was an EASY class, but it was laid back. I find that when I feel comfortable in a class, I’m willing to put in more effort. It’s nice to be graded on blogs because there are endless things to write about. There is no right or wrong answer, and often times I feel that we as students get more from a useful class such as this, as opposed to a geography or geology class. As for Dr. Halavais:last semester at UB?? I hope you’re moving on to bigger and better things, and taking your blogging ideas with you…I think it’s genious. I also think it’s just a matter of time before more classes are run this way.

Let’s Talk

I found that the most difficult obstacle in this course was technology or [my knowledge] there lack of. Its hard when your grade is based merely based on technology, and then you have problems. [/end rant]

Case

In all honesty, I probably could have put more effort into my blogging. Not so much content, but just writing them earlier in the week. I probably could have written more than just the required amount if I had started earlier, but I didn’t and no sense in crying over spilt milk.

swmoore

When I did my first blog way back in January I was totally confused of how this whole blogging thing worked. I didn’t know if what I was writing on here was actually going to make it to the course blogger, I had no idea. Now I’m blogging with ease and have learned some new computer skills that I will carry with me into the future.

steez

Never have I blogged or taken an on-line class before…it worked…I learned about topics I had never considered, and was able to easily fit class work in to a busy schedule.

Reading blogs written by other students was interesting, and especially effective since I doubt everyone would have voiced their opinions on controversial topics so freely in a lecture hall (I just read a blog an older student wrote about his sex life!).

jmmurphy

This class also taught me a lot of the laws and standards pertaining to the porn industry; it was nice to be able to read other classmate’s blogs to see what they had to say about certain topics we discussed in lectures. I like that it was encouraged for us to look at other students blogs and write our opinions based on what they said, I like the encouragement to object or agree with others.

EBT

This class has done a great job in presenting the difficulty in making this transition but I feel that it was a little too one way. This being an on-line course made it all the more interesting because we now have the opportunity to discuss such issues in an anonymous way. I loved the idea but found out that it did not seem to work out in such a large class. With just under 400 students I feel that some very good points got lost in the crowd and failed to come under as a topic of discussion. Perhaps students just wanted to meet their quota or maybe the fact that it was online made the venue too impersonal to spark discussion.

The encouraging aspect of this class is that there are a lot of intelligent people who have some great perspectives. This class engaged me in thinking reasonably in both ways pro and con. For such a grey area of society it seems necessary that we are as informed as possible using many different points of view before we make a decision.

Overall I think that having and online discussion venue is great as long as it is paired with an in-class meeting of some nature.

acquard2

This course is unlike any that I have taken before and that’s not just because of the course context, it’s also different because it’s an online class and was intereting to learn about. In my other classes you sit there and try to take in all that is being said to you, which usually doesn’t happen no matter how hard you try. This class though you actually remember what you’re being taught and it’s in an interesting way.

This course has not onle met but has surpassed what I wanted to get out of it. I’ve learned all viewpoints and also that you’re allowed to think whatever you want. It’s interesting to hear the different viewpoints actually and see where each person is coming from.

tank

As I sit in front of my computer screen and type this blog I can not help but remember my first blog for this class, and indeed my first blog ever. My first blog, appropriate titled “fish out of water…” was only 5 sentences long and was simply a short description of myself. Eventually my blogging skills grew and I became more confident with this strange new technology. I now have blogged in numerous blogging sites about numerous topics and find it both interesting and fun. I even hope to continuing blogging to some of the people in this class that I have blogged to about their articles and responses.

mrdennis

But the blogging was different, in a good way. It isn’t just learned material for a test then forgotten. If you have to blog about the topics every week it forces you to think annalytically about the topics and then actually tell others what you think. I remeber so much more from this course than I do from all my others.

lala28

I learned how to blog, which is really cool because as I grow older I feel like I am more and more resistant to new technology and their trends- mostly because I do not take the initiative to learn how to use or implement them- but this forced me to learn and actually master blogging! That is really an accomplishment for myself because I remember the first week of class, reading the assignment: “start a blog in wordpress”, and having waves of panic and feelings of “what have I gotten myself into??!”

sugarbush

Last but not least, one of the most important skills I will take away from this course is the invaluable knowledge of knowing how to blog! It is through the use of blogging that I was able to share my thoughts and ideas with the class and I will continue to do so with the rest of the world!

blogging4class

As you can tell from my blog volume, I hated the blog. A writer I am not, I don’t come across as very politically correct. Although some were very good, I didn’t like having to read the blogs of others either. I think tests/quizzes would have been a better barometer, just my opinion :-)

PearlJam

One thing I learned and wish I did from the start was blogging less frequently but putting more thought into my blogs. This last grading session I found myself with very little time to work in all six of my classes. I decided to only blog a couple times, but put more thought into what I was discussing. This was very effective and helped me out a ton.

caliact

I can hardly believe that this semester has come to a close. Just three short months ago blogging was a completely foreign concept to me. Not only have I gained a greater insight to the world of pornography, but I have also gained a greater respect for the blogging community as well.

There are many things that I have gotten out of this course. I found that through citing my opinions and looking at the views of my fellow classmates, that my voice really can be heard. It was enjoyable to sit down and reflect on lectures and topics that you find relevant or interesting.

[…]

So to sum this semester all up….maybe I’ll start a blog of my own […]

phishman

[…] I want to thank the professor, TA’s and my fellow bloggers for making this class interesting […]

The blogging was a fun experience. I think i am going to continue with blogging for a long time. It is cool that i can post my thoughts in a realm that anyone can see. They will be there forever, even when im long gone. With blogging, message boards, instant messaging and myspace, the internet is truly evolving. That is something i see, thanks to this class.

jroche

I also liked the blogging part of the course because it allowed me to share my opinions on certain topics in this course, and also allowed me to read other peoples’ thoughts.

vincentvega

I never really knew about aggregators before this class, but putting all of your favorite blogs in one place is a pretty cool thing. After exploring the blogging community during this class, there are a few that I plan on checking from time to time.

cara jill

As the semester comes to end I cant help but think that, wow this is my last cyber porn blog. In the beginning I did not think I was going to get through blogging each week. As the weeks went on I found myself enjoying my writing time on wordpress. I have to say that this is one of the most, is the most interesting and unique classes I have yet to take.

leonwestbrook

Before this course I dismissed blogging as a fad. I made many feeble attempts to try to become a “professional” blogger like wonkette, daily kos and their ilk. But my life got in the way and I thought that blogging would be a waste of time since no one read your entries.

[…]

The content was engaging itself and also it was interesting to see the perspective of others. More importantly I think this class has made me want to blog again, abiet on a smaller scale.

I think no matter what the subject it is important to be able to present your opinions and views. Blogging gives me an outlet unlike no other to do so.

achristine

I really feel like I am taking so much with me from this class. I think the blogging section of the class really helped to convey thoughts as well as see how the other members of the class felt about certain topics.

scheibs

I also really enjoyed the way the course was set up. As a distance learning class I really loved being able to do things on my own time. It allowed me to learn better because I could do my work when I was comfortable and had time. In addition, blogging is an easier way to express oneself without being nervous about speaking in front of a large group in public. I felt I could be myself and say what I meant, and that I could communicate more honestly with strangers than I would in the normal classroom setting. I feel like I met more people and heard more honest and thoughtful opinions. Especially for a school like UB, I think that is a huge bonus.

The only thing I would say is that I did enjoy blogging more when there was a little bit more of a projec to do, like researching other blogs or making the timeline. I felt it difficult to find something fresh to say each and every week on more than one occasion, especially on topics that I didn’t really have a strong thought on. I understand these ‘assignments’ cannot be available all the time, but I did welcome them. They often helped me think about things that were more relevant to the material being offered.

jhood

Blog ME!!!! Before this class I had no idea what a blog was. At first i had no idea how to use it or how to write a post. Since then i have learned so much about blogging and I have started blogging on other websites about other topics. Blogging is very fun and I am glad that i have learned to use it.

shimmy

Well fellow bloggers, it’s time to say goodbye. What can I say? It’s been fun. Besides the actual factual stuff we learned this semester, I’ve learned a few things about myself and about others. For one, I learned how to be successful at taking online classes. Huge plus since I am taking three online classes next semester. My main goal in this class besides getting a good grade was to have an affect on people with my writing. The spectrum of views in this class was large. When we started in September, people definitely disagreed on everything. I tried to write intelligent blogs that would help others understand my views on the porn industry. I know I wouldn’t get everyone to agree that the porn industry was a good thing, but even if a few people moved a little towards the center of the spectrum I feel as though I accomplished something. I know people were reading what I said because I did get comments. That made me feel great! They weren’t always agreeing with me but isn’t that the point of the class? I know they did their job as well because I can understand now why some people take such offense to pornography. All and all, I got what I wanted from this class and then some. Thanks for the good laughs everyone.

milly

Well this is going to be my very last blog because I am definitely all blogged out. I HATE writing because I have a hard time expressing my views in writing (give me some math any day). Even though I hated the bloging it was an educational experience. I like the fact that we were able to get everyone else’s point of view on each subject and the chance to discuss topics not talked about in lecture It is not often that you can be in a class and everyone gets to state their opinions especially on of 400 students. I am that girl who sits in the back of class and takes notes and never says anything so this course definitely forced me out of my shell.

PourNoCoffee

In a way I feel that I have matured during the course of the class. The blogging forces me to think from multiple standpoints and be able to see where each party is coming from.

And it’s not easy to have ~400 people at one time, talking intelligently about porn for 14 weeks! So here’s a pat on the back for each and everyone!

durkdiggler

Honestly, sometimes I felt trying to blog three times a week was kind of a pain.

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3 Comments

  1. Posted 9/13/2006 at 8:33 pm | Permalink

    Perhaps your students will be interested in blogging about a teacher who made a difference in their lives. We all have that one great teacher who shaped us, guided us, inspired us. NoGreatTeachersLeftBehind is a good place to write and read about great teachers and the effects they have had on others.

  2. Posted 9/13/2006 at 8:33 pm | Permalink

    Perhaps your students will be interested in blogging about a teacher who made a difference in their lives. We all have that one great teacher who shaped us, guided us, inspired us. NoGreatTeachersLeftBehind (http://ngtlb.com) is a good place to write and read about great teachers and the effects they have had on others.

  3. Posted 10/25/2006 at 9:15 pm | Permalink

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One Trackback

  1. By XplanaZine on 5/5/2006 at 8:53 am

    Daily Edublogging Update — May 5, 2006…

    Here’s a summary of ideas and conversations from the edublogging community that have captured our attention in the past 48 hours….

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