Karen is struggling a bit with her Web log use with her students, finding it more difficult to keep up the process when meeting with kids each day…
Quote: “I’m feeling almost like a edu-blog failure lately. I know that I’m not capitalizing as much as possible on my class blogs but find that using a blog with a face to face class is much different from using a blog with a class that meets electronically. My earlier intentions to write weekly reviews has fallen apart (at least three or four weeks ago) and what bothers me the most about this is that I’m missing an opportunity to make a visible, historical record of our experiences.” And later…”What I do mean to suggest is that communicating in person is fleeting, temporary, able to evaporate into the atmosphere with nothing more than a memory and if students don’t hear what I think I’m saying, or if I don’t say what I think I’m saying, or if I just don’t say it….there’s no record of what has passed between us. If, however, I say those things on the blog, students can revisit them for clarification, every student has access to the same information, and nobody has to rely upon their memories to conjure up what transpired between us.”
I too am finding that Web log use has varying degrees of effectiveness from class to class. I’ve been able to do it pretty well in Journalism , primarily because I teach it in a computer lab and I can teach WITH the site. And I can’t count how many times I have referred my students back to the Web log when they have questions about homework or handouts or whatever. While I don’t use it to save notes (although I have had the thought to have kids post daily summaries of class discussions as a record of what occurred…), it still serves as a teaching record. And the more interactive I can make it the better, obviously.
But I’ve aborted efforts to keep up a daily Web log in my media and literature classes which are taught in regular classrooms because it’s not as easy to interact with it. It seems like on a college level when you meet once or twice a week it would be a great way to keep communicating and thinking and teaching. When I see them every day, it’s a bit different. Still, I’m thinking of ways to use them as k-logs in Media (having groups keep Web logs to find and sort information on a particular topic) and as conversation extenders in my literature classes (reader response, etc.)
I’m not sure how much use my Journalism class homepage gets after class. (Actually, I just checked, and it got 50 hits since yesterday’s class…) Unless I conciously plan for students to use it outside of our time together, it pretty much just serves as a resource, which isn’t a bad thing…I guess I’m just wondering how to make that resource even more of a teaching tool…
Karen McComas says
Thanks for picking up on my posting, Will. Like you, I thought the blogs would be perfect for the college classroom. But it seems that by the time I get finished reading all that my students are writing (the computer class kids are again posting their stuff at antville and then my face to face classes are writing intensive and they are writing in class daily giving me lots to read), what the teachers I’m working with are writing, planning for my classes and workshops I’m giving, mentoring new faculty, advising students, running the Writing Across the Curriculum program on campus, trying to keep up with my own writing, and trying to keep some semblance of a family life….there’s just not enough time. As I write this I realize that the real problem has nothing to do with blogs but with the tremendous number of responsibilities I have…thus, leaving me without enough TIME….arrrrrgh!
But, I still think that a more efficient use of the class weblogs would have made my work easier if I had simply worked out a good system. The good news is that there is always next semester to try again!