not doing student blogging
I suspect that the blogging I used to have the students doing in previous iterations of this course probably saved a lot of student email. Students read each others blogs, asked questions and answered questions in them, and when they succeeded in a task they’d struggled with they blogged how they’d solved the problem.
The reason I haven’t had them blogging this year is that
a) Blogging was great with 30 students. I could track their blogs and I did a great job connecting the blogs and cross-linking and showing off good student posts and stuff. When the class grew to around 70 students I was overwhelmed – I don’t think it’s possible to keep track of such a large group. Even if you put a lot of extra time into genuinely following 70 blogs, I’m not sure you’d mentally be able to facilitate such a group in the way I think you need to do to get most students keen enough to put some effort into their blogs. Some students will get it instantly, of course. Others need more practice and experience to see what good it’ll do them. It’s helping them use their blogs to discuss and network that’s the challenge.
b) I’ve been very ambivalent to blogging in the last few months. I.e. blogging when you’re a slightly established academic rather than a grad student seems to be more about self-presentation than about communication. Maybe it always was in a way but it didn’t feel like it.
So maybe what I need to do is figure out a way of doing blogs – or something similar – in a large group. Perhaps there’d be a way of having students share the task of nurturing the network?