Ken Smith posts about Indiana University’s conversations concerning Weblog hosting, and in the middle of it makes an interesting point when he says “weblogs should last longer than a semester, but it’s not currently the university’s job to host outside of a course.”
I think about that often, whether or not we at the high school level could ever entertain the idea of giving our students a general Weblog space that isn’t course related but can be used for whatever “appropriate” uses a student might have. (We’d have to rewrite our AUP, obviously.) The blog as e-portfolio thing has been turning in my brain for a long time, but wouldn’t it be cool to just say “yeah, this Weblog is for your portfolio, but it’s also for whatever else you want to use it for, and you’ve got it for as long as you are a student here.”
Even that last comment doesn’t go far enough. “you’ve got it for as long as you are a student here” implies that the individual’s blog gets deleted as soon as the hapless student moves on. Let’s make the hosting for life, or even longer.
Ken Smith says
Andy’s comment is interesting — we’re looking for ways to make active literacy and engaged citizenship the most normal thing in the world, and so it’s crazy to tear down the weblog or the portfolio once the student graduates.
(Some colleges now allow students to keep their [usually posh] email addresses for life, I believe — no doubt that makes it easier to locate potential donors later on. Can file space follow that model somehow?)
Will, thanks for picking up on my post — I thought of some of your earlier work as I was writing it.
Will R. says
Listen, I would love it if we could offer our students a space for life. Learning certainly doesn’t end when you graduate from high school or college. But that pig’s just not going to fly without a huge cultural shift (the “just wait ’til they graduate and start putting pornography on our server” sect.) I think on K-12, at least, it would be great to provide the learning potentials of blogs AND then be able to give them their sites when they leave in a form that would be easy to take to another host.
Tom Hoffman says
I don’t think you need to allow them to continue adding stuff after graduation, but storage keeps getting cheaper so it should be possible to keep the completed portfolios online indefinitely.
Alan Levine says
It just goes to show that despite pontification about being “leaner centered” or “student centered” most institutions, systems, and course management monstrosities are still stuck in the “course” being the basiic unit of organization, rather than the student. This is backwards, antiquated, and frankly, a dis-service. It is also time we start looking at the student as a whole, not just the portion of the student who spends some time at an institution. To flush work because of the tick of the clock is ridiculous.
University of Washington allows graduates to maintain their UW eportfolio (for a fee I believe). The Minnesota state-wide eportfolio initiative offers all resident citizens one for life (though last I heard, you get 3 Mb max) and i have heard them ponder the thought of keeping them after death as a “memorial”.
Ideally, the portfolio process becomes something more than a school activity, but a professional and personal growth one. Keep throwing stones at these old castles of 19th century school house mentalities.
Ken Smith says
If schools don’t change, then Will’s idea seems right on target — find a file format that students can easily take with them.